Dream of a Brighter Tomorrow


Sanny Sebio and the remote area of Sitio Maringen, Barangay Datalpandan in Guindulungan, Maguindanao

Though decades of armed conflict had long passed, it was still difficult for Sanny Sebio to get rid of memories of those difficult times

“I remember when we had to run away from one place to another,” he recalled narrating how they went from Sitio Maringen in Barangay Datalpandan to the mountains of Mount Piris, all the way to South Upi and then back to Sitio Maringen. “All of our properties were left behind because what little we could carry were only those that were light and handy.”

The adjustment was very hard for Sanny’s family. On top of rebuilding their home and regaining their livelihood, they had to find ways to sustain their growing family, especially when their children started going to school. “Life was really tough in rural and hard-to-reach areas like ours. My heart bleeds every time my son shares how he finds it difficult to study without light,” he said. “So I work hard to provide for my children’s needs. I even sold my horse,” he added.

Sanny is a 36-year-old farmer who lives in the remote area of Sitio Maringen, Barangay Datalpandan in Guindulungan, Maguindanao, a two to three-hour uphill walk from the center of the community. He is married to Mileta and they have six children.

With Sanny’s persistence, he managed to buy a mini solar panel. Although it was able to illuminate their humble abode for a few months, it didn’t last long. Fortunately, as in a famous adage that says, “after every dark night, there is a brighter tomorrow,” a solution to their energy problem came at last.

Solar panel installed in a house in Barangay Datalpandan, Guindulungan, Maguindanao
Solar panel installed on a house in Barangay Datalpandan, Guindulungan, Maguindanao

Due to his diligence and active participation in the Community, Sanny eventually assumed the position as President of the Indigenous People’s Organization of Barangay Datalpandan. The Indigenous People’s households of the barangay were granted Solar Panels from the Mindanao Trust Fund- Reconstruction and Development Project Phase II (MTF-RDP/2). The solar panels were formally turned-over to the community on February 11, 2019 and Sanny’s family was among the beneficiaries.

“No more silent and gloomy nights for my family and for our fellow IPs,” Sanny said. Immediately after the solar panel was installed on their house, he purchased a television set for the first time in his life. “I watch news programs every night with my children, while my wife cooks dinner. I am now updated with current events in our country,” he joyfully narrates.

Adapted from Community and Family Services International (27 Feb. 2019). Stories From the Field: Brighter Days.  URL: https://cfsi.ph/stories-from-the-field-brighter-days/ (accessed on 05 June 2021)