NAVAL, Biliran-It’s like exploring an old world by bringing along with new method of farming to the only group of indigenous people in the province of Biliran – the Mamanwa.
The Mamanwa first settled in Sitio Palayan in 2004, an upland community found at the foot of Mount Panamao in Barangay Caucab in Almeria town, a place abundant with abaca and palay.
“Ang gihatag nga training sa TESDA, dako kaayo ug ikatabang sa among komunidad sa Mamanwa” (the training provided by TESDA is a big help in our Mamanwa community), the Cebuano speaking JR Calinawan, a Mamanwa leader, said in an interview during the launching of the training.
In almost six decades, the Mamanwa never thought that government, with its battle cry of not leaving behind anybody in the mainstream of development, will set foot at their place with the people from the provincial office of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Biliran province, taking the initiative to introduce a life changing skills-organic farming.
Priority sector
“The indigenous people (IP) is a priority sector of TESDA under the leadership of Director-General Guiling Mamondiong,” Elizabeth P. Garcia, provincial director of TESDA-Biliran, said during the launching of the free 8-day training on Produce Organic Vegetables and another 8-day training on Produce Organic Concoction and Extract (Leading to Organic Agriculture Production NCII) at the Palayan Elementary School on June 27.
The 43 members of the Mamanwa tribe will receive P100 each within the duration of the training plus a toolkit each after the completion of the training, Garcia added to ensure sustainability of the free training program.
The 16-day training is facilitated by the Espinazo brothers, Jeffrey, the farm manager and Sandro, instructor of Canaan Hill Farms of Caibiran, Biliran.
Canaan Hill Farm is the first accredited farm school of TESDA in Eastern Visayas and the only farm school of TESDA in Biliran province.
Prior to the training on organic farming, TESDA-Cabucgayan National School of Arts and Trades (CNSAT), a TESDA accredited vocational-technical training school in Biliran province, also provided the Mamanwa with a month training on cook hot meals.
Garcia assured the Mamanwas that there will be a portion of lot near their community where they can use for organic farming after the completion of their training on organic farming.
“You will have an organic produce of your own where you can sold to establishments and people who utilized organic farm produce,” Garcia told the Mamanwas who just depend on crude farming as primary means of livelihood.
Likewise, Hazel Torrefiel, administrative officer V of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP)-Visayas Cluster who was present during the launching of the training program, vowed to bestow to the Mamanwa community the community based-forest management (CBFM) with the DENR provincial office so they can have a permanent land of their own to cultivate and develop in their agriculture farming
Good Samaritans are also helping the members of the Mamanwa community who are undergoing the organic farming training as the local government unit of Almeria through Mayor Richard Jaguros and the town council notably Councilor Lloyd Labagala, who chairs the committee on agriculture and tourism, provided three sacks of rice and one box sardines to the family of the Mamanwa trainees.
Biliran Governor Gerardo J. Espina Jr. also gave five sacks of rice and one box of biscuits. Rep. Rogelio J. Espina will send his help to the Mamanwa community who are undergoing training before the organic farming training will end on July 20.