ILOILO CITY -- The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has announced that some PHP39.8 million worth of projects intended for indigenous peoples (IPs) across the Visayas, which were affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, have been completed.
In an interview Tuesday, NCIP Engineer III Edgardo Labordo said the fund from the Yolanda Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project (YRRP) under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) was downloaded to their office in 2017.
Of the total fund, PHP39.3 million was spent for projects in IP communities in Western Visayas.
The rehabilitation and establishment of the abaca plantation project in Aklan was apportioned PHP6.309 million; PHP3.142 million for the rehabilitation and establishment of coffee and ginger production project in Antique; PHP9.96 million for the rehabilitation/establishment of coffee, abaca and banana plantation project in Capiz; PHP2.76 million for the rehabilitation of banana, coffee, cacao plantation intercrop with high value crops and vegetable in Negros Occidental.
The bulk of the fund for Western Visayas went to Iloilo for the establishment of a village-level coffee processing facility worth PHP13.125 million in Lambunao and the rehabilitation of coffee, abaca and banana plantation intercropped with high value crops in Lambunao and Calinog towns.
The village-level coffee processing facility was established at Barangay Bagongbong, Lambunao. The target recipients were also provided with planting materials for coffee, abaca, banana and ginger, agricultural inputs and implements.
The facilities for the coffee village processing were provided by the Department of Agriculture.
In Isabel, Leyte, the NCIP also completed a 38-unit shelter assistance project intended for Badjaos. Complete with amenities, the project amounted to PHP4.5 million.
The completed projects were recently turned over to their respective recipients as part of the NCIP’s month-long cultural activities, in line with the Indigenous Peoples Month celebration this October, Labordo said.
NCIP –Western Visayas Attorney IV Princess May A. Oral said the event is “like commemorating all the struggles of the IP community as well as the private sector and governments efforts to pass the law (Indigenous People’s Rights Act) 21 years ago.”
This year’s celebration anchors on the theme “Convergence for IP Empowerment Towards Comfortable Lives”.
“This theme embodies the objective of the government and the line agencies to converge our efforts in order for the IP to have comfortable lives,” she said.
NCIP has recorded more than 200,000 IPs in Western Visayas composed of the Bukidnon Indigenous Cultural Community, the Ati, and the migrant IP groups of Cuyonin from Cuyo, Palawan and the Badjaos.
She said that right now, they are in the process of updating their IP master plan to determine their needs so that these could be properly addressed.
However, as far as their major program is concerned, which is land security, they already have awarded ancestral domain titles.
These include titles in Boracay and Libacao in Aklan; Valderrama and Lauan in Antique; Calinog, Lambunao and Barotac Viejo in Iloilo.
She added that while there is convergence of various government agencies in the delivery of social services, the challenge remains because of their location.
“Our ancestral domains are located in remote areas that are considered as geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” she said.
On the other hand, the NCIP has been providing scholarship programs to qualified IPs to help them finish college.
Educational assistance program (EAP) and merit based program (MBP) focal person Vima Latoza said that they have 171 scholars from Western Visayas; 161 for EAP and 10 for MBP.
Scholars under EAP receive PHP10,000 per semester and have to maintain an average grade of 80 percent. For MBP, they receive PHP25,000 and have to maintain an average grade of 85 percent.
Moreover, they have a partnership with the Iloilo provincial government, in which, the 121 IP scholars receive PHP2,800 monthly, and a book and uniform allowance of PHP1,000 each. (PNA)