581 IPs Complete TESDA Skill Training in AgNor

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – The 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB), working hand-in-hand with the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) and the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) in Agusan del Norte, helped facilitate the mass graduation of five hundred eighty-one (581) Indigenous Peoples (IPs) from the different sets of training conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) last April 13, 2021, at Sitio Minbahandi, Barangay Camagong, Nasipit town.

The five hundred eighty-one (581) IPs who successfully completed the different sets of training conducted by TESDA in Agusan del Norte belong to the Higaonon tribe from Sitio Hinandayan Minbahandi, Brgy Camagong and Sitio Salaysayon Brgy Jaguimitan of Nasipit Agusan del Norte. Out of the five hundred eighty-one (581) graduates, ninety-five (95) were able to complete the Land Preparation Training, ninety-one (91) on the Preparation of Organic Concoction, sixty-three (63) on Tilapia Culture in Pond, eighty-seven (87) on Fish Nursery, eighty-two (82) on Food Processing, sixty-seven (67) on Small Engine Repair and Maintenance, sixty-seven (67) on Preparation of Bakery Products, and twenty-nine (29) on Basic Solar Power Installation.

The five hundred eighty-one (581) graduates received their respective training certificates from TESDA during the activity. The TESDA Commitments for NTF 70 Priority Barangays were also awarded during the activity, including the signing of the Pledge of Commitments.

The said activity was graced by Sec. Isidro S. Lapeña of TESDA as the Guest of Honor and Speaker, Agusan del Norte Gov. Dale B. Corvera, 402nd Infantry Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, 23IB Commander Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, and Nasipit Mayor Enrico R. Corvera, other members of PTF-ELCAC, NTF-ELCAC, PRLEC, the different agencies of the government, and other stakeholders in the province of Agusan del Norte

Among those who completed the training and were given the certificate of completion was Alias Derek, a former member of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the different towns of Agusan del Norte. After his surrender, Derek is now reintegrated into his community and family. He also received his benefits from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government.

In an issued statement during the activity, Derek said: “Dako kaayo ang natabang sa gobyerno sa pag bag-o sa akong kinabuhi. Isip usa ka kanhing myembro sa NPA, lisod kaayo magsugod sa sinugdanan apan gitabangan ko sa 23IB. Ila kong gi enroll sa ECLIP ug samtang nagpaabot ko sa mga benepisyo nga akong dawatonon, gipa eskwela ko nila pinaagi sa ALS ug TESDA. Gihatagan kog livelihood sa gobyerno nga maoy gigamit nako sa pagpalit sa panginabuhian ug ingon man alang sa kaugalingong panimalay nga libreng gihatag kanako. Sa naa pako sulod sa kalihukan, abi nakog tabangan ko sa NPA sa pag kab-ot sa kasulbaran sa akong problema sa kinabuhi, apan wala gyod silay naikatabang sa ako. Busa akong gihangyo ang tanan nga ayaw kamo pag too sa mga propaganda sa walhong grupo, ayaw mo palingla sa mga NPAs kay puro bakak ra ilang gipang saad sa inyo. Sa mga ginikanan usab, bantaye ang inyong mga anak ug badlunga kung mabantayan ninyo nga lahi na ang gipang buhat kay basin sukwahi nana sa dalan ug basin makadaot nana sa atong gobyerno. Dili sulbad ang pagsulod sa grupong NPA sa inyong mga probema. Ang hustong sulbad mao ang pagsalig lamang sa gobyerno.”

TESDA-ADN Provincial Director Rey Cueva expressed his thank to Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte, LGU of Nasipit and the 23IB for the continuous support to the livelihood training of TESDA gives to the IP Community.

“The convergence effort of different agencies has proven the enduring resolve of the government to end the local communist armed conflicts here in Agusan del Norte. Our unified efforts bring hope to IP community who were once lost when they were subjugated by the destructive and injurious ideology of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs)”. Cueva said

Rest assured that TESDA-ADN will expand its programs and services to reach out and serve new partners and clients to transform and improve the lives of residents in IP community to include the former supporters of the CNT. Cueva ended

Gov. Corvera thanked TESDA for providing skills training to the IPs that will help them realize sustainable lives.

“I am so thankful to the TESDA-ADN headed by Dir. Rey M. Cueva for reaching out to the hinter sitios to impart knowledge on how to have a sustainable livelihood. They conducted different training and programs and even provided tool kits to the participants. May the graduates give importance to what the TESDA has taught them in order for them to stand for themselves using the skills they’ve acquired from TESDA,” Gov. Corvera said.

Sec Lapeña also congratulated the graduates with the hope that the skills they acquired will help them change their lives.

“Our government, under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte is sincere in helping the people and will implement lots of programs and projects to improve the lives of every Filipino. But we want to emphasize that this is not a one-way ticket situation. You also need to exert efforts and cooperate with the government’s programs. The government will give ways to give you a good life but you also need to learn and apply what was taught to you in order for you to have a bright future. We intend to provide training because it will never be lost nor stolen away from you, and you can use it anywhere you go. Unlike if we give you money, if you do not know how to handle and manage it, it will be gone in just a blink of an eye. Hence, you can also use the Busilak Enterprise Village. You can stock your products there and wait for the buyers to come, no need for you to go down to town. May you help the government in implementing programs and projects that can change your lives progressively,” Sec. Lapeña said.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Licudine thanked the different government agencies for taking part in the overall efforts to end the insurgency in Agusan del Norte.

“We are thankful to the PRLEC and all the agencies behind the launching of the Busilak Enterprise Village. We are giving our personal commitment that we will pursue the projects that will be implemented here and I assure you that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will use its available resources to support the government to fulfill the realization of Busilak Enterprise Village. This Sitio is one of our target areas which we will prioritize in the implementation of different projects because this was once exploited by the CNTs (Communist NPA Terrorists). We are glad that the people and the tribal leaders are now helping us prevent the presence of the CNTs from entering here. I have seen gradual changes in the situation of this sitio. Let us help one another in maintaining peace and order and end insurgency,” Brig. Gen. Licudine said.

Lt. Col. Paulo also expressed gratitude to the government agencies, other stakeholders, the tribal leaders and the residents of Sitio Minbahandi for their cooperation as active partners in achieving peace and development in the area.

“Sitio Hinandayan, Sitio Minbahandi and Sitio Salaysayon was once a guerilla base where the CNTs wrapped the lives of the residents with uncertainties and fear through manipulations, exploitations, and control. The families here suffered while the farmers lost their interest in farming because part of the produce of their farms was forcibly taken by the CNTs as part of the practice of communism being forced to be swallowed by the residents. Even the business sector and private companies were afraid to start businesses here because they are aware of the extortion activities of the NPA,” Paulo said.

He added that the CNTs have pulled down the economic status of Sitio Minbahandi as they hamper development programs and projects.

Eventually, as the CNTs obstructed the different initiatives, the people also felt being neglected by the government. The CNTs had once succeeded in manipulating the residents here, by making it appear that the government had done nothing,” Paulo said.

He emphasized that with the concerted efforts of government agencies and the support of the local residents, the CNTs were eventually defeated in Sitio Minbahandi.

“I am so glad now that the people here are already accepting the programs and projects of the government because they wanted to live peacefully and progressively,” Paulo said.

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