Nuing is a barangay in the municipality of Jose Abad Santos (JAS) in the newly created province of Davao Occidental. According to the NSO figures of 2010, this barangay’s population was 2,912. It could easily be more than 4,000 today.
The barangay’s name comes from the name of the river that traverses its landscape. When asked why the river was named Nuing, no one in the village today could answer the question for they know not the origin of the name. It has always been known as Nuing.
But the name Nuing has shifted into another meaning in this part of Davao. It refers to the Nuing Mission Station (NMS) of the Diocese of Digos. This mission station is part of the parish of what was known before as Caburan (this name now refers to the poblacion, people of JAS). There are 11 barangays covered by the NMS including those in the uplands reaching the Saddle Peak (also known as Mt. Golo) to the west and Mt. Balocol to the east. These barangays are at the boundary between Davao Occidental and Sarangani Province. Most of the names remain Lumad including Kitayo, Balangonan, Bukid, Camalian, Butulan, Kitumbod (renamed San Isidro), Nuing, Kiapo, Sugal, Molmol and Patulang.
Why the need to know more about Nuing
The lack of road between Caburan poblation and the barangays to JAS’ southwest made the Local Church decide to carve out a mission station covering 11 barangays in the southwest part of JAS with Nuing as its center. Which is why there is today the NMS. This mission station was meant primarily to serve the Lumad communities in this part of JAS. Data from government sources are inadequate in terms of identifying what percentage of the population are Lumad. As a way of approximating the percentage, I checked the data of the student population of Ignacia Guillermo Memorial Elementary School in Nuing. Of the total pupil population of 759 for this school-year, 652 are Lumad and 107 are children of migrant-settlers. Thus, 85% of the student population are Lumad (primarily Sarangani Manobo with a few B’laan and Sangil).
The Canadian PME Fathers were the ones who set up the NMS in the late 1970s. Since then a few diocesan clergy and the OFM Capuchin have administered the NMS. Since October 2014, the Davao Redemptorist Mission Community has taken over NMS’ administration. In the last eight years, there has been a program funded by a church agency in Europe to assist in the development needs of the people especially in the areas of agriculture, fishing, health and community organizing.
By Karl M. Gaspar CSsR
(the complete text on the web)