MANILA -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will be focusing its Strike Team Program for Indigenous Peoples (IPs) on lumads this year, Undersecretary for Regional Operations Group Zenaida Maglaya said.

Maglaya said DTI will strengthen and expand the reach of Strike Team Program for IPs, now targeting the 20 poorest provinces in the country and focusing this year on Lumad -- the country’s largest indigenous group.

Under the Strike Team Program for IPs, the department brings its services to 30 poorest provinces in the country giving them entrepreneurial trainings and linking them to financial institutions, among others.

“We will sustain momentum for 10 provinces and we are working with 10 more IP communities,” said Maglaya.

“Now, we’re looking at how we can address the needs of lumads. Our regional offices, will identify communities where we can help in terms of product development and trainings as well,” she added.

As of December 2017, the program conducted 87 entrepreneurial trainings, assisted 5,664 IPs beneficiaries, and linked 52 IP micro, small, and medium enterprises to financial institutions.

In the 2015 Full Year Official Poverty Statistics of the Philippines, the 30 poorest provinces in the country in terms of percentage of poverty incidence among families include Apayao, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Occidental Mindoro, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate, Romblon, and Sorsogon in Luzon.

In the islands of Visayas, included in the poorest provinces in the country were Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Western Samar, and Southern Leyte.

In Mindanao, the poorest provinces include Zamboanga del Norte, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, North Cotabato, Saranggani, Sultan Kudarat, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Basilan. (PNA)