CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY–For over five decades, Xavier Science Foundation, Inc. (XSF) has been championing sustainable development in Mindanao; instrumental in connecting communities to various stakeholders in addressing pressing issues over ancestral domain, poverty, primary healthcare, environmental protection, to name a few.
XSF has also been at the forefront in reaching and helping distressed communities during crises like Typhoons Sendong, Pablo, and Vinta and during the Marawi Siege. Thus, as the country continues to grapple with COVID-19, XSF launched a fundraising campaign dubbed as “Tulay” (Cebuano word for “Bridge”).
Pursuing its thrust of “bridging science and communities” despite the setback brought by the ongoing global pandemic, XSF aims to bridge hope and compassion by integrating humanitarian (cash and food relief) assistance to vulnerable communities, support local government units, and community-driven solutions, as well as to initiate recovery through rural agricultural innovations.
On April 25 and 26, XSF conducted its first leg of distribution of food relief assistance to its partner-communities within the city. They were able to distribute 151 packs in Barangay Dansolihon and 122 relief packs in El Gaucho, Upper Puerto; reaching a total of 173 households.
As the quarantine measures have been relaxed in several parts of Mindanao, XSF’s Tulay is gearing towards reaching upland communities in Mount Kalatungan Range, particularly the indigenous (lumad) people., and thus, XSF is calling all Kagay-anons to donate.
Working as the focal person for XSF’s Payment-For-Ecosystem (PES), Xyla Mercedita “Tat” Gualberto stressed that the indigenous communities in the hinterlands of Bukidnon play a crucial role in protecting its forests that impacts the Cagayan River Basin and protect the communities downstream from flash floods.
“With our geographical setting, what they do upstream really affects us here down,” she said. “Apart from that, they are also our source for food; producing valuable crops and vegetables that are being brought and sold here in the City.”
On the other hand, Tat stressed out that these upland communities do not just have to grapple with the economic implication of the ongoing pandemic but also with the recent natural phenomena.
“They are affected since their income has been lessened due to the pandemic with the impact of COVID-19 on their livelihood and with the heat waves (hulaw) last summer. Though recently it started to rain in their areas, they still need our help to make ends meet during these times.”
Tat is inviting all Kagay-anons to extend their help to the vulnerable communities in the upland areas.
“In behalf of Xavier Science Foundation Inc., I call upon our community to donate to #XSFtulay to help our lumad brothers and sisters whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19. Your donations will help us reach vulnerable communities around Mt. Kalatungan Range,” Tat said. “In these trying times, let’s make sure no one gets left behind.” (CDO COVID-19 Response/PIA10)