BACOLOD CITY – Some 116 indigenous peoples (IPs) from the Ituman Bukidnon and Magahat tribes in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, are benefiting from the rice and corn mill project funded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Data on Friday showed the project, turned over last week of August, is part of the various livelihood projects totaling PHP4 million proposed by the city government to the DOLE-Western Visayas (Region 6) intended for 223 beneficiaries.
“We approved the implementation of the livelihood project as we recognize its impact to the IPs,” DOLE-6 Regional Director Sixto Rodriguez Jr. said in a statement.
Situated in the remote Barangay Buenavista, with farming as a major livelihood, members of the Ituman Bukidnon and Magahat tribes still had to cross the border to mill their harvest in Tanjay City in Negros Oriental.
According to DOLE-6, the process was challenging and costly, with a minimum return on investment.
The rice and corn mill project now provides accessible milling services not only for the tribe members but also for farmers in adjacent villages, and the beneficiaries also earn more income from its lease.
“Its accessibility and proximity will lessen the cost of transportation and processing time of their harvest,” it added.
For years, communities in Barangay Buenavista have been sites for mass organization activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA).
In the past year, a series of clashes between government troops and communist rebels have displaced hundreds of families in the village. (PNA)