By Cpt Al Anthony Pueblas, 4ID
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: The 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division, Philippine Army is levelling up its preparation for the online classes making it sure that its equipment installed at the Mobile Computer Laboratory (MCL) van are all functional and ready to accommodate the Indigenous Peoples (IP) and Out-of-School Youths (OSY) in Caraga region.
During the Monday Command Conference, May 25 at the Alcoseba Hall, Headquarters, 4ID, Camp Evangelista, Patag, here, MGen Franco Nemesio M Gacal, 4ID chief, said while people particularly the youth are prohibited to roam everywhere due to the onset of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the 4ID continue its aim towards promoting online and computer literacy among the IP youths under the Project Gabay Aral sa Kabataang Lumad.
Project Gabay Aral sa Kabataang Lumad is a Mobile Computer Literacy Training (MCLT) officially launched January 23, 2018, by the 402nd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army during the stint of Gacal as the brigade commander. The 4ID partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd), Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), and the Local Government of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.
The project was implemented through the Philippine Army’s Mobile Computer Laboratory (MCL) that intends to deliver the most basic educational services and computer literacy to far-flung communities in Caraga and Northern Mindanao through the Community Support Program (CSP), benefiting the identified members of marginalized sectors especially the OSYs and IPs.
It can be recalled that after a month of training, MCLT graduates were already capable of doing the tasks such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Powerpoint operations.
The laboratory is a 40-footer fully-air-conditioned container van assembled with 21 high-technology computers, gadgets, and other equipment intended for Basic Computer Literacy learning.
Overwhelmed with how the project effectively works for the IP sector, Eddie “Datu Bawang” Ampiyawan, Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Agusan del Norte of the Mamanwa tribe said he was delighted to share the opportunity with his fellow Lumads and even to the non-IP graduates because he himself is a witness on the significant change on the life status of every graduates from the various trainings conducted by the Philippine Army in his area.
Datu Roldan Porogoy, IPMR of Santiago, Agusan del Norte also acknowledged the Philippine Army for their MCL training, as this training has provided opportunities to young IPs and OSYs to learn and appreciate the basic use of computers, as well as the social media, which have been of great benefit to the young people in their everyday lives.
Based on records, there were more than 600 IPs and more than 600 OSYs in the Caraga region that have already benefited from the project.
Gacal highlighted that despite the current crisis situation, PA continues to innovate with the advent of the new technology as a powerful means in communicating relevant information to the vulnerable IP sector.
“The 4ID always believe that the youths have a great role to play in society. This is why we continue to assist and guide them, so that they become fully aware of the things they need to learn as they grow. The Philippine Army would always see to it that their rights and welfare are protected,” said Gacal.
The 4ID chief further revealed that as soon as the situation gets better, the Mobile Computer Laboratory will again be running and more are expected to benefit from the said project.