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Aiming to uplift ties of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) Women to the community, the Department of Agriculture (DA) 11 under the Gender and Development (GAD) Program launched the IP Women Organic Village in Sitio Pegdalahan, Barangay Pandaitan, Paquibato District recently.

The land donated to the IP community was planted with cacao seeds that are being provided by the Department of agriculture.

Spearheading the planting ceremony is Undersecretary for Special Concerns and National GAD chairperson USec. Bernadette R. Puyat together with DA 11 Director Remelyn Recoter, 2nd District Congresswoman Mylene Garcia-Albano, Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang and Eastmincom commander Maj. Gen. Rainier Cruz.

The IP Women Organic Village Project is a typical rural development initiative spearheaded by the DA-XI Gender and Development Focal System to help raise the capacities of women in agriculture especially in far flung areas.

In this project, women are taking the lead by allowing them to partake in the entire process of human and community development which include cacao production.

The project also promoted an ecologically sound and balance bio-diversified and integrated farming system with preference on organic cacao production, vegetable natural farming production, livestock production and in-land fish farming.

In her speech, Puyat bared that in the DA has allotted a total of P3.2 billion for the programs and projects in support to women.

“As a wife and a mother, I understand the needs of the women. At least five percent of the total budget of DA is allocated to women,” Puyat explained, adding that, this project is not only for Paquibato’s development but it would also contribute a lot to the economy of the country as well.

According to the undersecretary, the Ata Manobo Community has sacred lands that were treasured and well taken care of.

“Now we have started in organic cacao production, soon we will also be having vegetable natural farming production, livestock and in-land fish farming production. The community will directly benefit in this initiative,” Puyat stressed.

Puyat thanked the local government units, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and private sectors who showed support in the initiative. 

“This is just the start of the Department of Agriculture’s assistance to the IP women, expect that there will be more livelihood projects to follow,” she added.

Meanwhile, GAD focal person Richard Año II said that the project is also intended to assist women and local communities through education, good governance, health and wellness, good agricultural practices, security partnership and information-sharing strategized and extended.

“This project would remain a dream if we will not cooperate and support this initiative. Peace and development would be possible if we will work hand in hand for this,” Año added.(Aggie Media Service)