Leyte tribe members complete agri training

By Roel Amazona

May 21, 2018, 1:49 pm

BURAUEN, Leyte -- At least 50 Mamanwa tribe members living in the upland Kagbana village here received a certificate from the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for finishing organic farming training.

The trainees, composed of 31 women and 19 men, finished the 10-day training on producing the organic vegetable leading to organic agriculture – National Certificate II under Alex Aborita, village chief of Villaconzoilo, Jaro, Leyte.

“Training them was challenging, but they were receptive and willing to adapt farming technologies and techniques that we taught them,” Aborita said, adding that 15 of the trainees are former communist rebels.

Among the rebel returnees are Marvin Managbanag and Delsa Managbanag Mutya. Managbanag surrendered to the government last year while Mutya returned to the folds of law in 2011.

“My fellow tribe members are grateful for the assistance that the government had given us. Finally, we are being recognized. For how many years, we have been living in Kagbana, this is the first time that the government extended help to us by teaching us farming techniques,” said Mutya during the awarding rites in nearby Mahagnao village on Saturday.

The indigenous Mamanwa tribe settled in Kagbana in 1950s, choosing to live in the farthest village of the town covered with thick forest.

“We should treasure and use the training that we had because this is very helpful for us, the indigenous people,” Managbanag said.

“We all know how to plant, but we all have different ways and techniques. The training is our key for development and for more assistance from the government to reach us. Let us use this to improve our lives,” Managbanag added.

After the training, tribe members also received agricultural tool kits, seeds and cash assistance worth PHP5,000 as start-up capital for the organization of a cooperative.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, who graced the graduation rites, said the provincial government will continue assisting Kagbana villagers.

A PHP15 million road construction project from San Vicente village in Mcarthur town to Kagbana is now ongoing. It will be followed with the construction of a hanging bridge within this year.

“We know how hard your life is, because I have visited most of the far-flung areas in Leyte to talk with the residents and asked them what kind of help they need. The government is here to help you. The province will implement project to improve your condition like what we did in Villaconzoilo,” Petilla said.

From producing high-value vegetables with a start-up capital of PHP1,800 from members’ contributions, Villaconzoilo village evolved into a top farm-tourism destination in the province.

The organization managed to raise PHP20 million in assets with more than PHP4 million cash in the bank, and cultivates a 20-hectare farmland. (PNA)