DUBAI: Ultra-marathoner Romeo Tumayao Puncia, emergency medical technician (EMT), and his wife would regularly set aside a portion of their monthly salaries to buy supplies for the ethnic communities of Palawan.
They are also looking to expand their activities to include Davao.
“We are currently helping more than 10 tribal communities. We give them medical supplies which we always refill and provide them with basic life support trainings; we also helped some of them to have their own basketball court; we conduct feeding programs and medical treatment; donated projectors and sound system; provided them sports and training; and we regularly send them boxes of clothes, shoes, books, bags, and some basic needs, visiting them regularly,” Puncia said.
Puncia, whose tribal advocacies started in March 2005, said tribal communities they have been in partnerhip with are Tagnipa, Malabusog, Tagnaya, Timboan, and Nanabu in the north; , and Yayabu, Maringit, Mariwara, Aborlan, and some people from Palaw-an, Batak, Badjaos, Ethnos Training Center in the south are west coast.
Puncia started out through his “Race with a Purpose Campaign, where he joins triathlons in different parts of the world to help the tribal communities to have access to some of their basic needs.
“I just love these communities because they taught me a lot of positive things in life. Everytime I am with them I feel recharged, peaceful, and loved. You know, they need help, they need people like us who can also influence and give them hope. I thinks, I will continue serving them until my last breath,” Puncia said.