Save Tinoto – Sarangani’s Sama Barangay – Pt. 1 Graduates

A week ago, we were proud to see a post by Coolturang Sarangan on Facebook praising Ms. Sitti Zhaira K. Sabinula of Tinoto, Maasim, Sarangani for placing in the top 10 nationwide for the LET, the Philippines Teacher’s Licensure Exam.   We too congratulate you Ma’am Sitti Zhaira.  You bring honor to the Sama people as a whole.  The post mentioned that Ms. Sabinula is a Sama from Tinoto.  It did not mention, and we have yet to see a social media post stating the planned demolition and relocation of this community.  In past local elections, residents out of concern that their homes over the ocean would be demolished and the entire Sarangani Bay would be declared a sanctuary, have voted for the candidates that they thought would protect their community.  After the most recent elections at the municipal level, residents of the shoreline where called for a meeting and told that they will be losing their homes in the near future.  The demolition of Tinoto is unjust.  It robs a 60+ year old community of its shoreline existence and the Sama of the community of their livelihood activities in the area which certainly predate even the establishment of the community.   This is an unjust action and would be an unfortunate loss not just to the Tinoto community, but to the whole Sama people.  We will be writing several posts over the next couple of weeks explaining why and encouraging those with the influence to do so, especially the Filipino people, to protect model Sama communities like that of Barangay Tinoto.

Please sign a petition to save the community here: http://chng.it/gd2hcqpBnM

              Since the news of Ms. Zhaira’s achievement remains current, we thought putting a spotlight on the educational achievements of community members, a noteworthy starting defense for this shoreline community.  Many Sama do not have the opportunity to achieve a college education.  The cost of education from kindergarten through college is often one that prohibits parents from sending their children to school. Education for many Sama communities is also not a cultural value.  Even the economically well off among the Sama will encourage their children to pursue economic success and not educational attainment.  It is possible that Tinoto would also be this way without the establishment of Datu Abdulbali Elementary School by Sir Malanji Gulam. Sir Gulam came from a community (Sisangat) where education was not a cultural value either.  Through the encouragement of others and participation in sports, Sir Gulam went to college, became a teacher and eventually principal of the school in Tinoto.  He became a model for the children of Tinoto.  The work of Sir Gulam, the help of Notre Dame de Dadangias, and the striving of many teachers that have furthered the mission of Datu Abdulbali Elementary School since, has engrained education as a cultural value of the Tinoto community.  This has become a great environment to produce top-ten passers of board examinations such as Ms. Zhaira.  Many Tinoto children have now graduated from elementary school and then from high school and now from college.

Today, education for the Sama in the Tinoto community has become well established.  A handful of the school’s teachers are Sama from the community.  This allowed the Department of Education to start a pilot program for MTB-MLE in Tinoto prior to the implementation of MTB-MLE nationwide.  All of these teachers will lose their homes if the community is demolished.  Others from the community are serving as our country’s police officers.  In some of the Philippines most tumultuous times, this community has remained loyal to the government and the school has continued its mission of teaching the community’s children.  Several of those children have chosen to serve in one of the most self-sacrificing professions, as police.  Student athletes have become a trademark of this shoreline community as well.  MSU GenSan, Notre Dame de Dadiangas and Holy Trinity are three schools that can testify to the athletic achievements of Tinoto’s students.  Even De La Salle in Metro Manila has recruited from this small community in Sarangani.

The community of Tinoto, Maasim, Sarangani is a model Sama community for many reasons.  Tinoto is a model Sama community in the area of education.  We hope that the forces pushing for the demolition of this community will take this into consideration and end their campaign to claim the Tinoto shoreline from its rightful residents.

Please sign a petition to save the community here: http://chng.it/gd2hcqpBnM

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