RTF-ELCAC cluster continues to aid indigenous communities in Central Luzon

Various government agencies continue to pour their resources to aid indigenous communities in the region. 

The initiative, under the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood, and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC), is part of the government’s effort to provide sustainable development in different Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) Communities to prevent them from supporting communist-terrorist groups (CTGs). 

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Regional Director and PRLEC Chairperson Balmyrson Valdez said that there is only one assigned barangay in Central Luzon under PRLEC’s barangay development program. 

“In 2021, we only have Barangay San Mateo in Norzagaray, Bulacan as our beneficiary in the region. However, that does not prevent TESDA to conduct PRLEC activities in all provinces of the region,” he said. 

The director shared that TESDA and other government agencies focused on giving interventions in three sitios in Barangay San Mateo including Sitio Sapang Munti with 116 families, Sitio Ipo Dam with 70 families, and Sitio Pakong Santol with 75 families. 

Their first intervention in the area, he said, is training them how to repair solar power irrigation system  and solar nights. 

“With this intervention, we were also able to help provide water source to their households and also provide electrification of street lights by training them on solar light assembly and installation. Aside from that, they now also have a solar charging station for their mobile phones in their common area,” Valdez said. 

Aside from that, the TESDA official said they have also trained the IPs in the area on agriculture, driving, heavy equipment operation, welding, and entrepreneurship. 

He said that as a result of these trainings, 20 Dumagats who graduated from driving courses were hired by a construction company in Bulacan for local employment, and are now being assisted for possible job placement abroad. 

“We also facilitated two agri-fishery market day for our beneficiaries in San Mateo where they earn around P120,000 from selling their produce,” the director said. 

Meanwhile, Valdez said they also conduct profiling and assessment in other provinces. 

He reported that in Aurora province, TESDA was able to train IPs and farmers on basic farming and organic agriculture. 

In Bataan, around P1 million worth of trainings were given to IPs since they belong to the TESDA’s priority sectors; while around P500,000 worth of training was given in Tarlac, and P3 million in Zambales. 

Aside from IPs, TESDA was also able to train former rebels and CTG supporters based on their preferred courses. 

TESDA also catered to 350 wounded in action soldiers and police officers, and their beneficiaries in 2021. 

“Aside from giving aid to our uniformed personnel, training them is also one of the initiatives to increase the trainers of TESDA so that we can expand our area of coverage,” Valdez said. (CLJD/MJSC-PIA 3)