BUTUAN CITY—The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently conducted an entrepreneurship forum for the indigenous peoples (IPs) to help increase their income from their enterprise operations.
Some 200 IPs belonging to various tribes attended the forum hosted by the DAR’s Project Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (ConVERGE), a flagship project of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
DAR Regional Director Felix Aguhob, who is also the project’s Regional Manager explained that ConVERGE aims to promote sustainable livelihood activities of farmers and IPs based on key commodities of Mindanao regions, such as rice, rubber, coffee and cassava among others.
“The forum expects to integrate the IPs in the entrepreneurial activities of ConVERGE. We are targeting not only the IPs but also the women and the youth to benefit from the project,” said Aguhob.
Aguhob said under the project 30 percent increase in income is expected to include at least 15 percent of the indigenous peoples in areas where it is possible.
IP communities are among the priorities for the implementation of development programs and services under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) last year, President Duterte recognized the issuances of Ancestral Certificates Domain Titles (ACDTs) to various IP groups in the country that served as legal tools to improve financially, economically and socially their respective communities.
During the forum, five IP entrepreneurs shared their business practices in their existing enterprise operations. They are Daniel Viscaya of Trento, Agusan Sur; Heidy Ilaga of Santiago, Agusan Norte; Rosilito Rosell of Libona, Bukidnon, and Rosalinda Camarador and Rolando Penuela of Zamboanga del Sur.
Rosell, Production Manager of the Kapehan Multi-Purpose Cooperative shared that IPs are involved in entrepreneurial activities. “We are starting and we are seeing where we are going. From our initial capital, we have blown to some assets,” he added.
IFAD Management Consultant for Project ConVERGE Gomer Tumbali shared the existing profile of IP entrepreneurs in regions 9, 10 and Caraga. He furthered on how the sector can be of help, and how they can benefit from the project.
ConVERGE National Project Director Faisar Mambuay, said that the IP Forum was only the initial stage of the many sectoral consultations for the project. “We will also conduct a forum for the youth and the women, to ensure that they will be benefitted by the project.”
Attendees were from IP groups namely the Subanon of Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga del Norte; the Higaonons, Tala-andig and Camiguin IPs of Region 10. In Caraga region, the IP groups whon attended were the Mamanwa’s, Manobos, Tubano, Tausog, and Mandaya.
Project ConVERGE is a joint partnership of DAR and IFAD. The two-day IP forum was held in this city last Nov. 7-8, 2017. (Joie Ceballos/DAR-CARAGA)
Photo 1: DAR Regional Director Felix Aguhob, who is also the project’s Regional Manager welcomed the participants and guests to the forum.
Photo 2: Indigenous peoples of Mindanao sharing their business practices in their existing enterprise operations.
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