Gov’t assures livelihood assistance for Tboli community in South Cotabato

The Tboli indigenous people (IP) community of far-flung Sitio Blit in Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu are set to receive government livelihood assistance, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region XII director said.

Personnel of the DOLE South Cotabato Field Office led by Arlene Bisnon set up a makeshift office at Sitio Blit for the profiling of residents for possible livelihood assistance. (PIA photo)

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Raymundo Agravante, regional director of DOLE XII, in a recent visit to Sitio Blit told the Tboli community that as a contribution to the government convergence intervention for underserved areas, DOLE will provide livelihood opportunities to target beneficiaries.

“Through DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP), we provide livelihood to workers in the informal sectors such as women, persons with disability, and smallscale farmers,” Agravante said.

The IP community may gain from livelihood starter kits worth up to P20,000 each person to jumpstart income-generating enterprises, Agaravante said.

“DOLE can also give common facilities for community-based projects,” Agaravante said citing for example weaving machines if the women in Sitio Blit will decide to establish Tnalak-weaving business.

Agravante also told the residents of Sitio Blit that DOLE will collaborate with TESDA XII for possible financial assistance and provision of starter kits relevant to the skills training that the Tboli community will complete.

“I hope that the next time we’ll come, we’ll already be awarding livelihood projects,” Agaravante said.

During the official launching of Project IPEACE (Indigenous Peoples Empowered Towards Collective End) and Project TALA (TESDA Alay ay Liwanag at Asenso) in Sitio Blit on July 12, 2020, DOLE XII personnel, led by DOLE-South Cotabato Field Office head Arlene Bisnon, conducted the profiling of the residents, which shall be made as a basis for possible assistance.

Sitio Blit, is one of the 52 sub-villages and among the most remote places of the 48,000 hectare Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu municipality.

Ned, including Sitio Blit, is a focus area for the convergence initiative of national government agencies, local government units, and partners in the efforts to fight the local communist armed conflict in accordance with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70.

With Blit as a pilot site of Project IPEACE, government entities pool resources and services to develop the area and neighboring places as sustainable food production.

Among the services that the IP community has recently received include a road improvement and training on mushroom production and organic hog and chicken production.

Philippine Coconut Authority has also set the distribution of seed nuts that could initially establish at 300 hectares of coconut plantation in Blit and other sitios before the end of 2020.

TESDA has scheduled a photovoltaic system installation NC II training which will result in the energization of the initial 50 houses in the area.

Other agencies, depending on their mandates and programs, projects, and activities, are expected to pour in interventions for the benefit of the IP community.

Blit is located inside the ancestral domain of the Tboli people in South Cotabato. (Danilo Doguiles, PIA XII)

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