Some 20 indigenous people (IP) families have received P22,009-worth of farm inputs as a support of the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) to the banana and coconut livelihood projects in Sitio Bato-Bato, Barangay Culandanum, Bataraza.
Community development organizer Vannesa Apilan said that the assistance extended by the mining firm to the community came from the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) budget in 2020.
“Meron talaga silang market, pumunta doon para kunin yong kanilang mga saging. Kailangan nila ‘yong farm inputs para hindi na sila magdamo-damo, imbes kailangan nila ng pang-labor, humingi na lang sila ng farm maintenance nila,” she said.
Apilan said that the IP community of Sitio Bato-Bato also delivers its agricultural products in Puerto Princesa.
In 2019, the RTNMC has started to extend assistance to the plantation of the IP farmers. The earnings from their agricultural products also helped other community members to build a small retail store or sari-sari stores.
“Based sa nakausap ko, kinukuha ng truck, maramihan na rin meron mga iba-ibang saging. Iyong binigay natin ay pang-spray ng damo para hindi na tumubo imbes na araw-araw sila magdadamo,” she said.
Success of banana and coconut livelihood project
Out of the earnings from the livelihood project, Analiza Kirao Batik-Batik has established her sari-sari store by selling agricultural products produced from their community plantation.
She used her savings to start a business with P50,000 capital came from her determination to sell agricultural products. She also works as a barangay health worker while his husband sells fish and at the same time works as barangay tanod.
“Hindi talaga ako makapaniwala na mayroon na akong tindahan ngayon. Parang biglaan lang at wala sa plano,” she said.
Her family is also dependent with banana plantation and plans to widen their sources of income to support the needs of their children.