DA goes full blast for special program for IPs
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that for the first time, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has establlished a desk in every regional office to handle programs specifically aimed at addressing the concerns of the Indigenous People (IP) communities in the country.
Designated as the National Coordinator for the IP programs is a full-blooded Manobo from Antipas town in North Cotabato, Camilo Andi Jr., who used to work as an information technology professor in a college in Kidapawan City before he was taken in by the DA.
“Today, every regional office of the DA has an IP Concerns Regional Coordinator who oversees programs for the tribal communities implemented through the Special Area for Agricultural Development,” Piñol said.
The banner program for the IP communities is the 4Ks or Kaunlaran at Kabuhayan ng Kababayang Katutubo which introduces Tree Farming, Planting of Coffee, Cacao and other High Value Crops and planting of cash crops in their ancestral domains.
They are also being trained on how to raise free-ranged native chicken, native pigs and goats.
Today, nurseries of Falcata have been established in several regions with sizable tribal population to launch the Tree Farming program by late 2018.
Under the scheme, the IP families will be given a cash incentive for every tree seedling which grows in his area deductible from his earnings expected to be generated from the sale of the trees to a veneer and plywood factory five years later.
“Years from now, when I have retired from government service, I would like to see the institutionalisation of these sustainable livelihood programs for the IP communities,” Piñol said. “I have always believed that the best way to address poverty, not only in the IP communities, is to help them become productive and not through dole-outs”.