CALINOG, ILOILO – Ninety Indigenous Peoples affected by Iloilo’s biggest irrigation development project now have bigger opportunities for better lives. This as they recently completed skills training under the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Through the strengthened partnership of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and DSWD, SLP was extended to the disadvantaged families of Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II). Through this, sustainable livelihoods, employment and interventions for affected families of government infrastructure projects such as the JRMP II are secured and ensured.
Sixty IPs completed training in Masonry and 30 others in carpentry. These IPs came from the directly affected barangays of the project such as Cahigon, Masaroy, Agcalaga, andAlibunan. On top of these, IPs from Guinbunyogan, BinulosanPequeño, Toyungan and Garanganalso availed of the skills training.
“Dako guid ang akon pagpasalamat sa DSWD kag NIA bangod nakatapos ako sang training… wala guid ako nagalaom nga mataw an man ako sang amo dya nga oportunidad (I am thankful to DSWD and NIA because I have availed of the training… I did not expect that I would be given such opportunity),” expressed 44-year old Carlos Eugene Habania of Barangay Cahigon. He availed of the skills training in Carpentry. His house and farm lot will be submerged once the implementation of the dam is completed.
Habania currently provides for his family through slash and burn farming in Cahigon where he harvest a total of 50 sacks of palay annually. To further meet his family needs, he also works as carpenter’s assistant.
“Subong nga may training na ako kag may mga gamit, pwede na guid nga ako mismo mangin panday… kinahanglan ko nalang pasaron ang assessment (Now that I have a training and tools, I can now do carpentry works on my own… I only need to pass the assessment),” he added. “Handa na kami nga mag obra kun matigayon na ang dam (We are now ready to work once the dam is pursued).”
Under the SLP modality, the participants also received starter kits and allowances during their training. Furthermore, they will be assisted by the DSWD for a skills assessment under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Once they pass, the participants will earn a National Certificate 2 (NC 2) for their particular trade. This certificate is an eligibility requirement acknowledged locally and internationally.
On NIA’s part, the IP trainees will be hired by the contractor of the JRMP II dams and irrigation structures. The project’s Land Acquisition and Resettlement Action Plan (LARAP) provides that one member of every Project Affected Family (PAF) will be employed by the contractor during the project implementation. In addition to this, NIA will also ensure that the PAFs are ready and qualified for employment through skills training.
In October 2016, NIA and DSWD inked a memorandum of understanding for the generation of employment and livelihoods for the affected population of the JRMP II. Both agencies aim to maximize their resources and programs for poverty alleviation and protection of social, cultural and economic well-beings of project-affected communities.
Furthermore, DSWD is one of the national government agencies that comprise the 27-member Inter-Agency Convergence Mechanism for Iloilo’s biggest irrigation development project. These agencies will help address infrastructure, livelihood and social basic services requests of the affected communities of the project.
JRMP will be the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon. It will provide year-round irrigation to 31,840 hectares of farm land and increase rice production. Also, its 6.6 megawatts hydroelectric power and bulk water component will augment the province’s and city’s demand for power and water.During its construction, the project will generate thousands of employment opportunities for the PAFs and the Ilonggos.
Currently, NIA is just awaiting for the result of the International Competitive Bidding (ICB) that will determine the project’s constructor.# /Steve E. Cordero