The PRLEC is a cluster under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) which aims to build self-reliant, productive, resilient, and sustainable communities through harmonized and culturally-responsive development programs. It converges designated government agencies into a singular force to carry out such aforementioned mandate as per Executive Order No. 70, s. 2018, otherwise known as “Institutionalizing the Whole-of-nation Approach in Attaining Inclusive and Sustainable Peace, Creating a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and Directing the Adoption of a National Peace Framework.”
Chaired by TESDA-Siquijor, PRLEC-Siquijor convened last 7 of March 2022 at Mama Rose Dream Farm, Cantugbas, Maria, Siquijor to initiate plans to realize its Barangay Development Project in the province. Even as early as 2020, DOST, a member of the cluster, already made some contribution in the implementation of said project particularly in Cantugbas as identified priority recipient barangay.
As a backgrounder, Cantugbas is a small village of about 500 individuals under 106 households. It registers two associations namely the Overseas Filipino Worker’s Association of Maria and the Catugbas Women’s Association which has 40 members. The CWA was organized in 2017 and was registered with the Department of Labor and Employment in 2018, and from which, CWA eventually received a livelihood grant on chicken layer egg production worth P413,900.00.
The CWA has kept its DOLE project into a gaining venture as the association has become a steady supplier of eggs to customers within the municipality of Maria which include retail store owners and those engaged in cakes and pastry production.
DOST came in as a catch basin to hold the chicken layers still under utility even after they became non-productive after 6-7 months of laying. Aside from selling the culled chickens, CWA opted to process their meat into other food products like chorizo, longganisa, and chicken chicharon. Thus, this proposal from CWA was received by DOST for equipment-based assistance. In the third quarter of 2021, the chicken meat processing equipment was awarded by DOST to CWA.
Engr. Mario E. de la Peńa said: “I have found this proposal of CWA to be relevant and in time. This a concrete answer of DOST to provide a technology innovation to sustain food production and agri-entrepreneurial livelihood which is anent to one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s socio-economic agenda to ‘promote rural value chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and tourism.’” After a time, DOST also engaged the members of CWA for training on microbial soap making, and treated them as recipients of enhanced nutribuns in lieu of typhoon Odette.
PRLEC’s plan for the implementation of its Barangay Development Project is on its way to realization. DOST Siquijor PSTC, under the leadership of Engr. Mario E. de la Peńa, has already shelled out its share. In a matter of time, DOST will then again take a slice of intervention to CWA as a measure of its long-term advocacy to build a sustained community through science and technology. (by: Jose Aldous Rubi Arbon II)