DAVAO CITY, Philippines - Sitio Kahusayan, Brgy. Guianga, Tugbok District is a place situated near the much known Mount Apo. It’s a peaceful place to live in overlooking the whole area of Davao City. It became the community of the Lumads, particularly the K’lata Bagobo tribe. Life at Kahusayan is almost perfect… until April 29, 2008. Armed men indiscriminately fired a community leader’s house causing the death of the remarkable Datu Dominador Diarog.
The family was left with nothing but the memories of the beloved Datu Doming. His wife, Emily, is still grieving as seen in her eyes the moment she talks about the incident.
They really cannot forget the unpleasant incident they had experienced inside their own house. But their coping mechanism is in action. It’s as if slowly they are getting better each day. What happened with their father Datu Doming will serve as an inspiration for them and the people in the community as they continue combating for their ancestral land.
A smile in the faces of the Diarog Kids as well as on the other children of the neighborhood can hardly be seen especially during the few months after what happened. Just after the serious incident they experienced, April of last year. The facilitators find it hard to gather the children to participate in psychosocial activities like this. Most of them were afraid of what might happen the moment they step out of their shell.
During the psychosocial activity conducted by the KABIBA Alliance for Children’s Concern on April 29 this year, it was found out that one of the family members dreams about her father’s death. Their vulnerability can be observed every time they saw armed men around their community. Seeing members of the army will bring them fear that they can hardly fathom.
At their very young age, they already experienced the other side of life… the reality that life is not only full of happiness but sorrows as well. Their faces were painted not of smiles but the worried gaze they offer every stranger in the community.
“Nakigbisog ko sa kamatayon sa akong amahan nga si Datu Diarog”, says Benjamin, 14. He is the 5th child of Datu Doming. By reading between the lines, you’ll see that for the children, life without Datu Diarog is difficult. But remembering what he did for them and the community gives them the strength to continue what the Datu had started. “Ako nagpabilin isip sumusunod sa akong amahan”, Benjamin added.
But time can really heal wounds. After a year, the children and the community are getting better little by little especially the direct victims. Their coping mechanism is improving as seen in the way they deal with people in different situations.
Datu Dominador Diarog. A father, a leader, and a hero. His death gave the community an inspiration and the legacy. And that is, to pursue their quest against the people responsible for Datu Doming’s death and to continue defending their homeland, Sitio Kahusayan. “Ang kalumaran nakigbisog alang sa yutang kabilin.” (KABIBA Alliance for Children’s Concerns, Inc.)