DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/22 August) — Having to travel 80 kilometers from Paquibato district to reach downtown Davao City, Floramea D. Manyawron, 22, a member of the Ata tribe and this year’s Hiyas ng Kadayawan, says the best development tool the government could give her community is a better road network.
Manyawron, also adjudged the most photogenic, said this in response to the question, “What development will best benefit your community and why?” during the coronation nigh at the Davao City Recreation Center on Friday.
“The best and the most beneficial development tool would be farm-to-market road. If there’s accessibility… education and health services that can be provided,” she said.
She said unpaved roads have been a struggle for many Indigenous Peoples (IPs or Lumads) who travel to the downtown area to buy some merchandise.
“For some.. (it) would even take two days before they can return home , so farm-to-market roads would be my advocacy,” she added.
Manyawron said she would also promote meaningful traditional practices not only to her own tribe but also to others.
Manyawron, who succeeded last year’s Hiyas ng Kadayawan, Susan Batawan, also of the Ata tribe, said she was proud to keep the victory for her tribe, who she said has been mislabeled as “less in communication.”
“Through me, I can encourage them that there’s nothing to be ashamed of our tribe. We are simple and peace-loving,” she said.
Manyawron said she would also advocate for education as a means to empower the Ata tribe members to strive for knowledge, to be aware of their rights.
This year’s Hiyas ng Kadayawan is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Education major in Values Education at the General Baptist Bible College in Puan, Davao City.
She is also working for the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 11’s Modified Cash Transfer for Indigenous Peoples.
Aj Ruth H. Sumandang, of the Obo Manobo tribe is the 1st runner up of the Hiyas sa Panaghiusa while Michelle G. Ansal of the Bagobo K’lata tribe won as 2nd runner up.
Other contenders were: Haida Dawn J. Ainin (Sama), Wenallie Ivy G. Atan (Bagobo Tagabawa), Rechel B. Dumalag (Matigsalug), Almaida Casanguan Agasor (Iranun), Haifa Rica B. Bansilan (Maguindanaon), Sitti Sara Sakkam (Tausug), Fatma Jaheema Malutas (Maranao), and Myra D. Calihim (Kagan).
Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre said he hopes all the Hiyas contenders will be role models to their respective tribes.
“They must show that they themselves love their culture and that there’s nothing to be ashamed about it. Even though we are in the modern age already, I hope the younger generation would continue who they are and be not ashamed of their identity. I am proud of our Hiyas sa Kadayawan,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)