The Indigenous Peoples of Occidental Mindoro with the National IP Coordinator Mr. Camilo Andi, Jr.(2nd row, center), Provincial Agriculturist SofronioBaranda (2nd row, 3rd from R), Hazel Delmo (3rd row, 5th from L), Mr. Laurence Real (last row, 3rd from L), and members of Patriotikong Mindoreños led by Ms. Sigrid Dickerson (3rd row, 2nd from L).
The Indigenous Peoples (IPs) are among the groups that need further assistance and attention from the government aside from the poor lowlander residents.
As such, the Department of Agriculture (DA) launched this year its first ever program for the IPs which is the 4K Program that stands for Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran ng Kababayang Katutubo.
This was personally designed by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol that is anchored with R.A 8371 or The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.
On October 9, 2018, it has reached Occidental Mindoro, home of different Mangyan Tribes, through Patriotikong Mindoreños (PatMin) (a volunteer group for President Rodrigo R. Duterte during the 2016 election). The group organized the IP-Kapihan sa Oksi, Sulong Masaganang Agri-Turismo in collaboration with Sablayan Oplan Malasakit and the Provincial Local Government Unit to introduce the said program.
The activity was attended by different Mangyan Tribes with their leaders such as the Iraya, Alangan, Habanan-Buhid, and HaGuRa which is composed of Hanunuo, Gubatnon and Ratagnon.
DA National IP Coordinator, Mr. Camilo Andi Jr., while presenting the 4K program and explaining the rights of the IPs
Mr. Camilo Andi Jr.,a full-blooded Manobo-Bagobo from North Cotabato, designated by the Secretary as the DA National Coordinator for IPs introduced the 4k Program as well as the rights of the IPs in their ancestral domains.
This anti-poverty program will help the IPs in developing their ancestral domains thru livelihood and agricultural productivity program. According to Andi, the projects that they can easily adapt to generate income is tree farming in the unprotected areas. This project will be implemented through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) with a no-interest, no-collateral and pay-upon-harvest loan program amounting to Php 300,000.00 for 5 hectares with 500-tree population per hectare.
Other projects are coconut farming and high- value crops farming like cacao, coffee, abaca and black pepper as intercrops. He also encouraged them to raise free ranged chicken and native pigs which is traditionally used in their rituals. Dairy farming using dairy goats was also introduced to be used in milk-feeding programs for the children of IPs.
Andi also encouraged them to venture into root crop production specifically organic camote and ube (purple yam) for it has already a buyer which is the Oh So Healthy Company in Bulacan. The company produces healthy products exported to different countries such as United States, Germany and Korea.
In addition, he explained the importance of having a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) to protect their areas from the intruders or trespassers and to preserve their cultures, traditions, lands, and institutions.
This activity also aimed to identify what interventions will be granted to them, to be consolidated for approval and budgeting of Department of Budget and Management for the year 2020-2023.
Bokal Juanito Lumawi, a native from Iraya Tribe, expresses his gratitude for the assistance they will receive from the government.
Bokal Juanito Lumawig, from Iraya Tribe, expressed his gratitude for the assistance from the government. “Itong pagkakataon na tayo ay sanayin sa mga pamamaraan [sa pagsasaka] ay napakalaking bagay sa atin bilang mga katutubo. Ang pamahalaan ay nagsisikap talaga na mapalapit ang lahat ng serbisyo sa atin…kaya tayo rin ay may obligasyon, kung ano ang ating natutunan ay maisabuhay pagdating sa ating pamayanan at maipakita sa kanila [pamahalaan] na may pagsisikap,” he said.
Occidental Mindoro Vice Governor, Peter J. Alfaro, gives his warmest welcome and gratitude to Department of Agriculture for the continuous support given to their province.
Vice Governor Peter J. Alfaro was also present to give support to the program. He gave his warmest appreciation to DA for the continuous support they extended to the province especially during Typhoon Josie and for giving attention to the needs of the IPs who are, according to him, belong to the marginalized sector of the society.
The 4K program has already started its pilot testing in tribal communities in Mindanao with Php 2.8-million budget from Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD). It also has livestock training in Batangas City to assess their capability in sustaining the project.
Ms. Hazel Delmo from DA Regional Office also presented the interventions including trainings conducted and machineries distributed to different IP communities in the Mindoro Island, Palawan, and Romblon and how to avail the interventions.
While Mr. Laurence Real from Agricultural Program Coordinating Office (APCO) discussed how they can assist the IPs thru organic agriculture program.
4K Program is a collaborative efforts of the Office of the President, DA, National Commission on the Indigenous People, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Trade and Industry.
This activity was organized thru the leadership of Ms. Sigrid Dickerson, PatMin member, who always support the President and the government through their advocacy and mission in uplifting the IPs from poverty. She also helps Igorot Tribes who migrated in 1950s in municipalities of Sablayan, Magsaysay & Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro.