FLORIDABLANCA, Pampanga, Aug.1 (PIA) -- Representatives from various government agencies brought their programs and services in barangay Mawacat during the launching of the program on Indigenous Community Enhancement.
The initiative is under the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood, and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the Pampanga Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC).
It is part of the government's effort to address the root causes of insurgency and armed conflict by harmonizing the delivery of basic services and social development in different Indigenous Peoples' (IP) Communities.
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Provincial Director Eric Ueda, who heads the PRLEC, said the main goal of the activity is to better off or enhance the Aeta community in Mawacat.
"One of the goals of PTF-ELCAC is to prevent the communist-terrorist groups (CTGs) from coming here to infiltrate you. If there are still CTGs here, tell them the government has so many programs that can help them. So there is no reason anymore to fight the government because the government is reaching out to you," Ueda told the community.
Part of the activity is the planting of fruit-bearing trees including rambutan, lanzones, mango, coffee, cacao, coconut, and guyabano; as well as vegetable seedlings including chili and eggplant, which were given by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.
The launching also includes the turnover of various aid like corn seeds and fertilizers from Department of Agriculture; shallow tube wells form the National Irrigation Administration; and portable solar lamps, gillnets, and fingerlings by Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
In addition, different livelihood and training assistances were given including the provision of livelihood kits on metalcraft and entrepreneurship training by Department of Trade and Industry; food/cash for work by Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office; cash for building livelihood assets by the Department of Social Welfare and Development; and interactive multimedia teaching aid and training on organic gardening by Department of Science and Technology.
In terms of road rehabilitation and infrastructure, the Philippine Air Force led the road improvement at sitio Tirya; Philippine Army took charge in cementing the shallow rivers in the area and Philippine National Police (PNP) constructed a covered stage at the Mawacat Elementary School.
Other package of services given include development communication support from the Philippine Information Agency; scholarship programs from the TESDA; certificate of compliance to Mt. Guinilan Agriculture Cooperative by the Cooperative Development Authority; medical mission from the PNP; and logistic support from the municipal government of Floridablanca.
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples also provided hygiene kits and trainings to ensure that the rights and welfare of the IPs are protected and safeguarded.
Board Member Rolando Balingit, who represented PTF-ELCAC Chair Governor Dennis Pineda, said the convergence effort is an important undertaking that was made possible in order to reach people, especially those in the upland areas, to let them feel that they are at the core of public service.
"I hope that our beneficiaries today will enrich what the different agencies have given them in order to help them develop their community and improve their livelihood. Rest assured that the provincial government, with Governor Dennis Pineda, will ensure the continuous implementation of its programs on health, education, and livelihood, to benefit our constituents," Balingit said.
In behalf of municipal government, Municipal Administrator Tito Mendiola thanked the agencies for giving attention to the condition of the IPs in the village and hopes that there will be more opportunities like this in the future.
For her part, Mawacat Punong Barangay Marilou Bacani thanked President Duterte and all the agencies who provided their assistance for reaching out to them despite the fact that they are in a remote area in the uplands.
"In turn, we commit that we will be your allies in the fight against insurgency and terrorism. We will not join the CTGs because all the help we need is already being provided by the government," Bacani said.
The convergence project is expected to benefit more than 80 Aeta families, who all rely on agriculture for a living. (CLJD/MJSC-PIA 3)