Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro - The municipal government of Sablayan has inaugurated a dormitory dedicated to Mangyan students, honoring the indigenous people who were the first settlers of the province. The facility, aimed at supporting Mangyan youths pursuing higher education, was officially opened on Tuesday during the province's 73rd foundation anniversary.
According to Philippines News Agency, Mayor Walter Marquez, in an email to the Philippine News Agency, stated that the dormitory is a tribute to the Tao Buid and Alangan Mangyans and is designed to be a residence and learning hub for their children. The inauguration aligns with the celebration of National Indigenous Peoples' Month in October when several Mangyan youths briefly served in parallel roles to local government officials. The dormitory will provide housing for Mangyan students, who otherwise face a challenging journey from their mountain villages to schools in the town.
Norman Novio, the municipal administrator, highlighted that the dormitory is part of ongoing efforts to support Mangyan students' education. The local government currently funds 98 Mangyan college students. Novio noted that this isn't the first initiative to provide housing for Mangyan students; last year, the Sorok Uni Foundation Inc. inaugurated another dormitory in partnership with various organizations to house students from remote Mangyan settlements. He emphasized that these efforts represent a continued commitment to the educational advancement of indigenous peoples in the region. Sablayan, known for its vast land area, is a key location for such initiatives, playing a crucial role in the development and integration of indigenous communities.