TESDA chief visits Ata-Manobo livelihood projects in DavNor
DAVAO DEL NORTE, 12 JUNE (PIA) – Traveling from Davao City at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday (June 11), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director-General Sec. Isidro Lapeña pushed his way to the Municipality of Talaingod to visit two Ata-Manobo villages where he eyed livelihood projects he wanted to serve as models.
He traveled 105 kilometers and made his first stop in Brgy Sto. Nino particularly at the 56th Infantry Battalion Headquarters where he huddled with agency heads of the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Economic Cluster (PRLEC) of Regional Task Force ELCAC (Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict) together with Provincial Governor Edwin I. Jubahib and 56th IB commander Lt. Col Norman Valdez.
With Governor Jubahib and regional heads of PRLEC, he then proceeded about 40 kilometers further, traversing a rugged single track road towards Sitio Kaylawan (meaning forest) still in Brgy Sto Nino, to visit the Organic Vegetable and Organic Chicken-Raising Farm that was launched on May 25.
The training for this Organic Vegetable-raising benefits 30 male Sitio Kaylawan residents who are members of Sitio Kaylawan Farmers’ Association People’s Organization while some 30 female resident-members of Sitio Kaylawan Women’s Association People’s Organization are into oganic chicken-raising.
TESDA is providing the training through virtual smart concept of actually meeting the beneficiaries only once a week for 12 weeks while delivering instructions and other training modules through showing of videos.
The Provincial Government of Davao del Norte, the Municipal Government of Talaingod, the 56th IB and Leadtech Philippines are backing up the TESDA training as well as beefing up resources in running the organic farming and chicken-raising.
Lapeña and his entourage of national, provincial, regional and municipal visitors were welcomed by the village residents who, during that moment, saw for the first time such huge number of visitors representing the national and local governments.
“Nagpasalamat kami kay karon lang nga panahona nga natabangan mi diri, sa niaging panahon walay nagtabang sa amoa diri. (We are greatful that we are now receiving assistance which has not been given us before), Sitio Kaylawan tribal leader Datu Macky Dada told the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in an interview.
Lt Col Valdez of 56th IB revealed Kaylawan as an area of influence for the New People’s Army (NPA) which recruited some of the village folks who are now withdrawing allegiance from the armed rebels when the military pushes its community support program (CSP) to the area together with the local governments and national line agencies.
Commitment to Help
“Sa pag-abot aning programaha gitudluan kami sa pag-atiman sa among yuta ug ang mga batan-on kabalo na motrabaho, sa kaniadto dili ingon niana. (When this program is introduced here, we are taught how to till our lands and the youths are learning to work which was not the way before),” he added.
Secretary Lapeña cited the presence of local officials and heads of national line agency as a manifestation of a unified government commitment to help.
“Yong presence namin dito ito ay affirmation o patunay ng commitment ng national government na tumulong dito sa pangunguna na ating Gobernador at saka na ating Mayor. Kaya ako nandirito para patunayan na ang mga sinasabi ng gobyerno ay gagawin natin. (Our presence is an affirmation of the commitment of the national government to help led by the Governor and the Mayor. I am here to prove that we will do as what the government says),” he said during his speech to which the locales applauded.
While giving thanks for the TESDA livelihood projects delivered at this far-flung Ata Manobo village of Kaylawan, both Governor Jubahib and Talaingod Mayor Jonnie Libayao reminded the residents to cooperate and make the most of the training, leading them to know how to productively use their ancestral lands.
After checking the contoured organic vegetable garden and the caged organic chicken, Secretary Lapena went with Jubahib to Sitio Salawao, Brgy Sto Nino to see the agri-poultry multiplier farm of the Provincial Government of Davao del Norte. (It is a featured project of the Provincial Government serving as nursery of farm plants and chicken.)
He then proceeded to Sitio Igang in Brgy Palma Gil to know more about the Cardava Banana Farming and Marketing using the Virtual Farming System blended approach of face-to-face and virtual training of beneficiaries .
Still accompanied by Governor Jubahib, Mayor Libayao and heads of regional line agencies, Lapeña was joined in Sitio Igang by Hijo Resources Chief Executive Officer Rosanna Tuason-Fores who revealed having been the direct buyer, since early May this year, of cardava bananas which she gets from the Ata-Manobo farmers of Igang, at a much higher price.
Lapeña and Fores turned over sickles and shovel to 15 Ata Manobo beneficiaries of the Sitio Igang cardava farming and marketing which also has gained support of LeadTech Philippines for training and marketing aspects.
After listening to the series of testimonies of beneficiaries who all were grateful of the government livelihood and economic interventions, Lapeña headed at about 2:00 p.m. to Brgy Madaum in Tagum City particularly towards Hijo Resources compound where he was briefed by Fores of the Hijo Resources Hydroponics Farm and the Hijo Resources Harvest.
Not only does Hijo Resources intend to grow vegetables but it also ventures into buying the agri-farm produce of indigenous peoples (IP) communities of Davao del Norte and nearby provinces at much higher prices than what middle-marketers are pegging.
As he went back Davao City late in the afternoon, Lapeña visited the Panabo City Market Master training site and market place established by ACES Polytechnic College, Inc president, Dr. Francisco dela Pena, chairperson of the Regional Technical Education and Skills Development Council (RTESDC) XI.
Lapeña was met by Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Alan Dujali, Dr. Dela Pena and Panabo City Mayor Jose Relampagos and he was toured around the ACES Market Place soon to be opened to the public, and at the same time, serving as training site of students vying for TESDA competency standard accreditation. (PIA XI/ Jeanevive Duron Abangan)