Thu, 20 Jan 2022

PRLEC holds dialogue with far-flung village residents in Ilocos Sur

Philippine Information Agency
03 Apr 2021, 16:38 GMT+10

CERVANTES, Ilocos Sur, Apr. 3 (PIA) - As part of the whole-of-nation-approach of the government in addressing issues to reduce poverty, the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) conducted a dialogue with the residents of Sitio Biwak, Barangay Malaya here, to know and eventually address their needs amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Situated three kilometers away from the Bessang Pass Natural Monument in Barangay Malaya, Sitio Biwak is the highest village a vehicle can reach out of the 17 villages of said barangay, according to Cervantes Mayor Benjamin Maggay II.

When taken by foot, it requires up to one and a half hours of walk.

It usually takes the locals more or less than an hour to reach the city proper by vehicle as the road to the sitio is narrow and steep with some concrete tire paths.

However, this didn't hinder the personnel of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the Ilocos, as the lead agency of the PRLEC, to explain various programs and services that member-agencies of PRLEC can provide to them.

With the help of the local government unit (LGU) of Cervantes and the Philippine Army (PA) through the 69th Infantry (COUGAR) Battalion, 702nd Infantry (DEFENDER) Brigade, 7th Infantry (KAUGNAY) Division, PA, the community dialogue was held Monday, March 29 led by PRLEC Regional Cluster lead and TESDA Ilocos Regional Director Vincent Cifra and TESDA-Ilocos Sur Provincial Director Socorro Galanto.

Said dialogue has been successful as it was participated in by 20 residents/family heads including ABC President and Barangay Chairman Rolando Acyangan, and teacher Gerlie Caoili of the Biwak Primary School.

"Nandito po ang gobyerno para alamin kung ano ang mga plano ninyo para paunlarin ang inyong sitio, at nais namin sa PRLEC na matulungan kayo sa plano ninyo sa pamamagitan ng training at iba pang interventions na pasok sa mandato ng iba't ibang member-agencies ng PRLEC. Pag-aralan po natin kung saan tayo pwede magtulungan para mapaunlad ang inyong sitio," Cifra told the residents.

Various concerns were raised including their acquisition of land titles, scholarship for the youth, value adding for food products as they have wide farm lands producing crops such as potato, carrot, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, and chayote exported to La Trinidad, Benguet and/or in Candon City and Tagudin, both in Ilocos Sur.

With regards to the acquisition of land title, Mario Alladog, who has been staying at the village for over 30 years, expressed his gratitude to the PRLEC for given the opportunity to discuss this matter with the LGU and its member-agencies concerned such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agrarian Reform, and/or the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, as most of the villagers are members of the Kankanaey tribe.

"Isa sa mga concerns naman ay itong pagkakaroon namin ng titulo sa mga lupang tinatamnan namin lalo na ang mga tinayuan ng aming mga tahanan dahil matagal naman na kami rito at nais din sana naming tumulong sa gobyerno na magbayad ng buwis, gayundin na sana may maipamana man lamang kami sa aming mga anak at kapamilya sa mga susunod pang mga taon," he said.

Ending the dialogue, Cifra added, "Sinadya po talaga namin na maabot kayo rito sa inyong lugar kahit gaano pa kalayo at kataas. Mataas po talaga dahil hindi na kinaya ng isa naming sasakyan na umakyat. Nasira na ata ang clutch. At 2 p.m. pa lang ay natatakpan na tayo ng ulap. Sinadya po namin kayo rito bilang pagpapakita po ng taos-pusong pakikiisa sa inyong komunidad. Mabuhay po kayo!"

Alladog also expressed his gratitude not just to the PRLEC but also to the Community Support Program team of the 69 Infantry Battalion deployed in their community who has been providing basic services to them since their deployment in November 2020.

"Malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa inyo dahil kahit na mahirap abutin ang aming lugar ay binisita niyo kami at ipinakilala ang iba't ibang programa ng gobyerno na makatutulong sa lahat ng sektor dito sa aming komunidad, lalo na sa kasundaluhan na tumutulong sa amin dito, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!" he added. (JCR/AMB/JMCQ/PIA Ilocos Sur)

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