BUSCALAN, KALINGA – Apo Whang-od, the legendary tattoo artist of Barangay Butbut, Buscalan in Kalinga Province finally had her identity being a recipient of her Postal Identification Card as part of the Philippine Postal Service anniversary celebration.
Forty other Butbut tribe members received their postal identification cards in the area, painstakingly brought by the personnel of the Philippine Postal Service Office.
Norrell Decosto, brand officer of the Filmetrics Corporation, PHLPost Biometrics Data Service Facility, said that the importance of the identification card is that it is the most highly sought government Identification Card which is readily available upon application at any PHLPost branches nationwide.
However, with the distance of places in the rural areas such as in Butbut, Kalinga, where transportation does not reach the outskirt barangays, PHLPost personnel brought their Biometrics equipment to serve in giving identification to these community residents who have difficulty and accessibility to main roads.
She said it was an honor to bring the free identification cards to these fellow Filipinos who are located in far flung areas, especially to the elderly who have difficulty travelling for their ID applications.
“Finally it was an honor to meet her (Whang-od) and personally deliver her Postal ID, it’s the least that we could give to someone who had made her place a legendary indigenous tattoo artist hub,” said Decosto.
The Postal ID costs P504 inclusive of VAT and delivery fee, but the 41 recipients of Butbut did not shed any centavo as they were given free of charge including the delivery.
For Apo Whang-od, the last of Buscalan’s Mambabatok, now at approximate age of 100, she intends to use the Postal ID to receive additional benefits from the government, as per the Centenarian Act of 2016.
With the remoteness of the area, the recent mobile capturing event was the first for the residents of the Buscalan.
Tribe leader and elder Gaspar Laguinday said, “If we need to get an identification card, they would have to endure a long journey to Tabuk City, where the government offices are located.”
The travel to Butbut takes at least three hours of vehicular transportation and another 40 minute trek to the town proper.
Other recipients of the digitized Postal ID like Juanita Banao, said the ID will do more than prove her identity as a Filipino Citizen but also be used in other transactions, “Before, I had difficulties in transaction because I never had an identification card which was what is asked by our government agencies, but now this will be one of my cherished possessions.” LARRY P. FABIAN / ABN
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