Press Release/25 November 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) – CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) yesterday conducted a community health risk assessment for Covid-19 and medical consultations to Dumagat Tribe, one of the tribal communities in the region located in the mountainous province of Rizal.

A community health risk assessment provides information on the community's current health status, needs, and issues that will help in developing a community health improvement plan by validating how and where resources should be allocated to best meet the community’s needs.

The Dumagat Tribe is one of the few communities that have yet to be infected with Covid-19. They are a tribal community located in Sitio Mangahan, Barangay Laiban, Tanay, Rizal just a few kilometers from the boundary of Nakar, Quezon.

“Kailangang nating bigyan ng proteksiyon and kalusugan ng lahat ng komunidad sa ating rehiyon, kasama na rito ang mga tribo na nakatira sa mga bundok upang sila ay maging ligtas hindi lamang sa Covid-19 kundi pati na sa ibang sakit na maaari dumapo sa kanilang lugar,” stated by Christine Elaine P. Alvarez, head of Health Accessibility Innovation and Development Unit (HAIDU) who led the risk assessment team. 

“We also need to identify the unmet health and healthcare needs of the community and provide solutions in order to meet these necessities. Kailangang lahat ay maproteksyonan ang kanilang kalusugan at walang maiiwanan,” she emphasized. 

Tribal communities are led by a chief who is responsible for the overall health and wellness of their community. They have been increasingly involved in public health activities, regulation, and service delivery. 

According to Dumagat Chief Uefemia T. Encisco, since the start of the Covid pandemic, they have strictly implemented health protocols in the community such as wearing of face mask and regular washing of hands with soap and water. 

She said that due to the strict protocols by barangay officials and the military, no one from outside of the tribe is allowed to enter their community that is why up to now it is still Covid-free. 

“Para sa pagpapalakas ng resistensya at katawan ay kumakain kami ng mga sariwang gulay, prutas at iba pang mga pananim gaya ng sambong at lagundi na pinakukuluan naming at iniinom na parang kape sa umaga,” she added. 

The regional office also distributed face masks, face shields, medicines and bags of groceries during the event.
The activity was made possible through the collaboration of the 89th Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army, Rizal province led by LTC. Rimrad Ferrer.
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Dr. Voltaire Guadalupe (leftt) , Medical Officer V and Dr. Dan Oliver Pasion (right), Medical Officer III of DOH-CALABARZON conducts medical consultations to members of Dumagat Tribe in Sitio Mangahan, Barangay Laiban in Tanay, Rizal during the health risk assessment activity for Covid-19 held on November 14, 2020
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Ms. Christine Elaine Peralta (left) leads the distribution of medicines, face mask, face shield and medicines to members of Dumagat Tribe during the risk assessment for Covid-19 activity held on November 24, 2020
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Ms. Divine Grace Tindoc, Information Office of the Health Education and Promotion unit of DOH-CALABARZON teaches children of Dumagat Tribe how to avoid the Covid-19 virus through proper hygiene.
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DOH-CALABARZON regional staff together with the 80th Infantry Batallion of Rizal Province poses for posterity after the risk assessment and medical consultation for Covid-19 activity for the Dumagat Tribe in Tanay, Rizal on November 24, 2020