Itogon School, Baguio:
Itogon municipality is in the province of Benguet, Philippines. The population as of 2000 census is about 45000 people in over 8 thousand households so, an average of 5 people per family. Itogon’s main source of livelihood is mining. Families survive through the open pit crude mining method earning an average of 200-300 pesos ($4-6) per day. This is not enough even to provide food for a family of five. Hence, it is usual to see the wife/mother together with the children in the mining open pit while the father works as a laborer in another city. Many children are not able to complete formal education.
Secondary livelihood is farming. Families who have their own farms till the land again, in most cases, with their children in tow. Families who do not have their own farms work as farm laborers.
Itogon had its share of the devastation caused by the three successive super typhoons in October last 2009. Until this date, Philippines has not yet totally recovered from the effects of Typhoon Ondoy (International name: Ketsana), when in October, a few days after Ondoy exited the country, typhoon Pepeng whipped Northern part of Luzon, making three landfalls over the same area. It caused severe flooding, landslides and mudflows. During this period about 720 casualties were reported.
Due to mining activity, parts of Itogon were devastated. Houses were wrecked due to massive land sinking. The underground reportedly used to be a worksite of a mining company that closed. Some people are still homeless. Many of the villagers still suffer from trauma. Children are still haunted by the stories of those who died in Itogon at the height of typhoon Pepeng. For a while, Itogon was isolated and could only be traversed by hiking through hazardous ravines and mudflow.
ABC Children’s Aid Philippines is happy to reach out to this community and become involved in providing an opportunity for these deserving children to receive education.