COTABATO CITY – A total of 160 members of indigenous peoples (IPs) across the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are set to benefit from free skills training on modern agriculture techniques.
This, after the BARMM’s Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education – Technical Education Skills Development (MBHTE-TESD) and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs (MIPA) agreed to provide free skills training for IPs in the region.
“This intends to help the IPs chosen for the programs impart what they have learned from the training on modern farming techniques to their communities,” MBHTE-TESD Maguindanao Provincial Director Salehk Mangelen told reporters here Tuesday.
On Monday, Mangelen and MIPA Minister Melanio Ulama signed the memorandum of agreement to highlight the opening ceremony of the IP Month celebration in the region.
The agreement provides that MIPA will identify and screen 160 qualified applicants for the scholarship program.
The offered trainings include Agriculture Crops Production (ACP), Organic Agriculture Production (OAP), Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Plants Crops Leading to ACP, Procedure Organic Concoctions and Extracts Leading to OAP, and Procedure Organic Fertilizer leading to OAP.
MBHTE-TESD will also provide the scholars with transportation allowances. Upon passing the competency assessment, the scholars will be granted a National Certificate II.
“This is a joint program under the TESD initiative, especially that the IPs will now have the chance to study and enhance their skills in agriculture for free,” Ulama, for his part, said in a separate interview.
Last year, Mangelen said they had helped IP farmers in the mountain towns of South Upi and North Upi in Maguindanao as pilot beneficiaries of the program.
Those in attendance during the IP month’s opening program in BARMM were IP mandatory representatives and community leaders from Cotabato City, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi, and from BARMM’s 63 barangays in North Cotabato.
This year’s IP month celebration in the region carries the theme: “Kulturang Katutubo Kilalanin, Pahalagahan, Pagyamanin, at Ipagmalaki sa Bangsamoro.”
According to Presidential Proclamation No. 1906 signed in 2009, October of every year is “declared in the context of Philippines Indigenous Peoples’ Rights as the month of people’s participation in the celebration and preservation of Indigenous Cultural Communities as part of the Life of the Nation.” (PNA)