The provincial government is targeting to provide livelihood opportunities in livestock production to an estimated 62,000 indigenous peoples (IP) in the south as beneficiaries of its “Poorest-of-the-Poor” program this year.
Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta Jr. said Tuesday, February 8, that the program is part of Governor Jose Alvarez’ aim to bring down Palawan’s 2017 poverty rate of 53 percent to be closer if not equal to the national average of 25 percent by 2022.
“Yong average [sa national] is 25 percent, so dapat by 2022 ang plan ay lumapit-lapit tayo sa national average kaya nga pinuntahan talaga natin sila para ma-identify kung sino ang dapat na mabenepisyuhan,” he said.
According to the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), the poverty rate in Palawan had declined from 67 percent in 2010 to 53 percent in 2017.
Acosta said they are prioritizing the IP families since they have been identified as the main contributor to the province’s poverty rate.
He said the PPPO data related that each IP family only earns a meager P30 a day, which is the lowest in Southeast Asia.
“In Southeast Asia the barometer of income is two dollars a day pero itong mga kababayan natin 30 pesos ang kanilang kinikita base doon sa ating data, so anong mabibili sa 30 pesos? Kaya dapat talaga sila ang unahin,” Acosta said.
Currently, the provincial government is in the process of forming people’s organizations as basis for a Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) loan to get on with the livestock production project, specifically goat and hog raising.
He added that livestock production is also targeted to make Palawan the “protein capital of the country” in the next 10 years.
“Yong livelihood kasi dapat ready, ang dami ng dumaan na mga livelihood (projects) na hindi mag-click kasi hindi ready ‘yong beneficiary. For the sake na may livelihood project sige go na. Ngayon hindi na ganyan, unahin natin ‘yong goat raising at kapag maayos ay tuloy-tuloy na in compliance sa ating kagustuhan na maging tourism and protein capital,” he explained.
The provincial government, he explained, will purchase the livestock and will also pay the loan to the LBP.
“Si province ang bibili ng product nila then tayo na ang magbabayad kay LBP. Si beneficiary naman kambing din ang ibabayad kay province tapos tayo ibibigay ulit sa ibang beneficiaries,” he said.
Livestock production for IPs, he further said, can take advantage of the roll-on, roll-off trade route in Buliluyan, Bataraza, to reach the Malaysian market as the country’s population are dominantly Muslims.