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“Ako yung boses nila dito sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan,” said Board Member Danilo Salonga, the IP Mandatory Representative at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Mr. Salonga, together with his wife and seven children, resides at Sitio Kinaragan, Brgy. Duale, Limay, Bataan. He mentioned that two of his children already have jobs, one at the Sangguniang Bayan in Limay as IPMR, and the other at a factory in Mariveles. His wife Marissa is a full-time housewife who takes care of their children. Their youngest child is seven years old.
As the voice of the IPs, he said he felt the kind heart of Gov. Abet Garcia because he attends to their needs in their land, education, health, and other projects that are needed by the IPs.
“Napakabait ng ating mahal na gobernador,” Mr. Salonga said. And that is because of the following reasons: first, for accepting him as IPMR and second, for acknowledging the “Indigenous People’s Rights Act” which provides that there should be a representative from them in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Speaking of responsibilities, he said he has a big role to play in their 18 communities. He mentioned four aspects that he should focus on, namely: land, education, health, and livelihood. He said he dwells on that because he knows that by making improvements in those aspects, the lives of the IPs will surely change for the better.
“Bilang IP, proud ako,” he emphasized. He said that he is proud because the IPs have a lot of benefits today.
He likewise enumerates the platforms that were already carried out and the projects that are to be implemented, some of which are: the IPs having the opportunity to be given education through Iskolar ng Bataan, the IPs receiving health assistance and hospital needs, and the IPs having the sufficient funds for their lands.
Mr. Salonga envisions that every member of the Indigenous People reaches a higher level of education because, he himself didn’t have the chance to finish his studies. “Pangarap ko, pagdating ng panahon, yung mga kapatid na katutubo ay makatapos ng pag-aaral,” he added.
Being a Board Member really made a drastic change in his life because he serves as the voice of his family and the IPs; and being the voice, he vows to support the projects of the government all the way.