Friday, June 26, 2020

Gov’t convergence project eyes molding IPs as agripreneurs

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 26, 2020): Gov’t convergence project eyes molding IPs as agripreneurs (By Danilo E. Doguiles)

After the launching of Project I-PEACE at Barangay Datal-blao, Columbio, Secretary Isidro Lapena and other officials visit the demo farm which will also serve as training ground for farmers in the area.

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, June 26 (PIA) – National government agencies and local government units in SOCCSKSARGEN Region led by TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña launched this week a convergence initiative that shall capacitate indigenous people communities as entrepreneur farmers.

Sec. Lapeña, cabinet officer for regional development and security (CORDS) for SOCCSKSARGEN, along with heads and representatives of government line agencies and LGUs, visited several remote villages in Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato Provinces for the launching of Project I-PEACE (Indigenous People Empowered as Agripreneurs Toward a Collective End).

Project I-PEACE is piloted in Barangay Alegria in Alabel, Sarangani and Barangay San Jose in General Santos City on June 23 and in Barangay Datal-blao in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, and Barangay Manobo in Magpet, Cotabato Province on June 24.

Alegria, San Jose, and Datal-blao are populated by Blaan tribe. About 99% of the residents of Barangay Manobo are members of the Manobo tribe.

“I would like to inform you that the government is intent in delivering services especially in hardest-to-reach villages and communities in dire conditions,” Sec. Lapeña said.

Sec. Lapeña addressing the people of Barangay Manobo in Magpet Cotabato Province.
Project I-PEACE, he emphasized is a convergence project with all the national government agencies, local government units and other partners work together for sustained development of underserved communities, particularly those that had formerly been influenced by the communist terrrorist group.

Under a whole-of-nation approach, government agencies -depending on their respective mandates -as well as LGUs and other partners will collaborate through Project I-PEACE “to transform IP communities into integrated food production sites; develop self-reliant, resilient, and sustainable IP communities; attain food security for a balanced and equitable resource distribution and dynamic economic livelihood and income opportunities to produce sustainable communities; and end insurgency.”

Among the initial activities of the Project I-PEACE include training IP communities in sustainable agricultural production. For this purpose, a demo farm will be established in each pilot barangay which shall also serve as training site.

Food hubs and food terminals will also be established in strategic locations to serve as “bagsakan” of the farmers’ produce. These hubs will be managed by the farmer organizations.

“The food hubs will ensure that farmers have a place where they can directly sell their farm products, and because farmers will no longer be dependent on middlemen they can command better prices for their products,” Sec. Lapeña said.

Perspective of the food terminal to be constructed at Barangay San Jose in General Santos City in support for the Project I-PEACE.

At the launching in Barangay Manobo, Cotabato Province Governor Nancy Catamco said the Project i-PEACE is proof that the government is now giving much attention to the indigenous communities.

“Now that the approach is whole-of-the-nation, all agencies of the government are here to give solution to the insurgency problem. This really helps our tribal communities because they are witnessing a government that cares for them and recognized their rights as indigenous peoples,” Gov. Catamco said.

Meanwhile, Guvina Faki, chairman of Purok 1 Pait United Farmers Association in Sitio Pait, Barangay Alegria, told Philippine Information Agency in an interview that they are grateful that finally their community has experienced regular presence and benefits from the government.

Faki said that as far as he can remember, Secretary Lapeña is only the second cabinet secretary who has set foot in Sitio Pait.

Recently, TESDA conducted a massage training for a number of their residents who are already earning income from the skills they gained.

“We’ll be thankful if through this project if the government can provide us with livestock such as goats that we can raise,” Faki said when asked about his expectation from the Project I-PEACE.

Project i-PEACE will also be implemented in Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.

Initially, I-PEACE was crafted as a project of the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employement Cluster. It has been adopted as a flagship project of the Joint Regional Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (JRTF-ELCAC) XII. (DED-PIA XII)

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