The provincial government recently disclosed plans to step up its livestock dispersal program, targeting in particular the province’s indigenous communities which it estimated based on its own studies to be around 119,000 individuals.

Governor Jose Alvarez told local reporters recently that their ongoing livelihood program involves the distribution of goats, cattle, swine and poultry to indigenous beneficiaries using funds loaned from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

He explained that under their scheme, the beneficiaries will pay back with agricultural products that will be used to support the food needs of the growing local tourism industry.

“Kapag sila ay naging productive, sila ang magsu-supply ng pagkain sa ating tourism industry that will be rising from 1.5 million to 3 million tourists a year. 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,” Governor Alvarez said.

He explained that the provincial government’s key target is to reduce poverty incidence in the province, placed by official statistics at 68 percent, by concentrating on the poorest sector of the province which are the indigenous communities.

He said that based on their research, there are 62,000 indigenous families in southern Palawan and 57,000 in north that were not registered with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS).

“Majority of these people have not yet registered in CBMS, DSWD and PSA. But we have located them doon sa taas ng bundok, ito na rin ang gagamitin na guide ng PSA.