ELCAC livelihood programs gain ground in Negros Oriental

Posted by watchmen
May 23, 2024
Posted in News


Photo courtesy of PIA Negros Oriental
Photo courtesy of PIA Negros Oriental

The government’s livelihood programs under the Negros Oriental Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NOTF ELCAC) have gained ground in the province.

This was highlighted by officials from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Provincial Agriculturist Office (PAO) in a Kapihan sa PIA forum held on May 15.

The said agencies are part of the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Economic Cluster (PRLEC) of NOTF ELCAC, which aims to empower communities that are affected by insurgency through livelihood and skills training programs.

TESDA Negros Oriental public information officer designate Beth Aimee Tubog said 80 percent of the 800 beneficiaries of their scholarship under the Special Training for Employment Program with livelihood tool kits in 28 ELCAC priority barangays became self-employed after completing their training.

She cited the TESDA scholars in Barangay Trinidad, an ELCAC priority village in Guihulngan City, who became practicing “hilots” or reflexologists in their community after completing the wellness training.

Other skills training programs offered by TESDA in ELCAC priority barangays are beauty services, cookery, bread and pastry production, bookkeeping, and agro-entrepreneurship.

TESDA also rolled out free assessment for their scholars in ELCAC priority villages so that they can obtain National Certificates (NCs) to validate their competency and enhance their employability when pursuing a career.

Tubog added that TESDA also facilitates the upskilling of their scholars by engaging them in trainings in higher areas of competencies as part of their continuing livelihood intervention to their scholars, including former rebels.

“We have one area where we have trainees for welding, and we conduct training for upskilling for them. We enhanced their skills, like for shielded metal arc welding NC I, we provided NC II training, then we also engaged them in carpentry and masonry,” Tubog said.

Tilapia farming, vegetable growing

Former rebels who are settling in a government-sponsored housing project in Barangay San Miguel, Tanjay City attended a training on tilapia farming and vegetable growing conducted by the Provincial Agriculturist Office.

Provincial agriculturist Emmanuel Caduyac said these former rebels are reaping the benefits of the livelihood intervention.

“They have two big ponds, and they are already producing tilapia grown out of ponds. They are very thankful that we have given those projects to them. Recently, they have harvested 200 kilos of tilapia sold at P160 per kilo. Two weeks ago, we were able to deliver two sets of tilapia fries,” Caduyac said.

The residents of the housing project are the 60 former members of the Partidong Manggagawa-Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP/RPA/ABB) and their families.

Now known as “Kapatiran,” RPMP/RPA/ABB is a breakaway group of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

It currently has a standing peace agreement with the government.

Caduyac said their office also implemented similar programs in 29 other barangays identified as ELCAC priority areas.

PAO also introduced value — adding techniques such as processing tilapia into lamayo, fish chips, and tilapia sardines so they can earn additional income.

He added that the improvement in the socio-economic status of the former rebels may not be seen immediately, but through the interventions extended by PAO, there is a gradual uplifting in their situation.

DOLE also turned over livelihood grants to more than 20 associations in ELCAC priority areas in the province.

DOLE Livelihood Program focal person Engineer Rubie Cempron said the livelihood grants were in the form of farm implements, fertilizers and livestock.

“In some ELCAC areas, particularly in Zamboanguita and Guihulngan City, the beneficiaries are happy with the projects implemented by the government, particularly in the provision of fertilizers and livestock, because that is what they need for farming,” Cempron said.

Some of the livelihood projects implemented by the beneficiaries include chicken egg-laying production, cattle fattening, carabao and cow dispersal, swine fattening, and rice, corn, and sugarcane production.

Cempron shared that, based on their monitoring, these interventions have augmented the income of the association members.

Instead of spending money on fares, buying fertilizers, and other raw materials in the town or city proper, they were able to save it because these farm implements are directly lodged in their association, he said.

As of last year, there are 81 barangays identified as ELCAC priority areas in Negros Oriental, located in Guihulngan City, Canlaon City, Valencia, Zamboanguita, Siaton, Sta. Catalina, and Mabinay. (PIA-7 Negros Oriental)


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