DOLE Caraga Regional Director Chona M. Mantilla released on March 14, 2018 the DOLE livelihood grant amounting to Php 804,944.38 to LGU Tubod, Surigao del Norte thru Mayor Richelle B. Romarate as the Accredited Co-Partner for the project. The said amount is for the Swine Production and Fattening Project of the Bangon Mamomou Association (BAMA), an organization consisting of displaced workers of the mining company Greenstone Resources Corporation (GRC).

GRC issued closure advice to its workers and its six contractors during the second semester of 2017 affecting 1,329 workers. DOLE Surigao del Norte headed by OIC Provincial Head May C. Velonta immediately coordinated with the office of Mayor Romarate on July 25, 2017 to plan out possible assistance that the Department can provide to the affected workers.

“This is the fastest assistance (so far) that I experienced when it comes to the services provided from the national agencies”, says Mayor Romarate in her opening message during the turn-over release held at the LGU conference room.

It was on December 2017 when the DOLE-SDN and the LGU Tubod together with the members of BAMA conducted series of meetings and site evaluation for the proposed swine production and fattening business plan for the displaced workers.

The said project was in line with the priority of the LGU considering that they are into eco-tourism activities, and not to merely rely on the mining industry, according to Mayor Romarate. They expect that in the future, restaurants, carenderias and other kind of eatery business will soon be emerging in Tubod since they will be opening their Panaad sa Tubod (Heavenly Steps Station of the Cross) in Barangay Mahucdam on March 30, 2018, one of the eco-tourism destinations of the municipality. “These hog fattening will really have a sure market, and we will be assigning a slot for you in the mini-market for you to sustain your project”, says Mayor Romarate.

Regional Director Mantilla in her message informed the audience that DILP has three components, the Kabuhayan Formation for the start-up capital of the business, second is the Kabuhayan Enhancement to provide additional working capital to existing livelihood projects and finally the Kabuhayan Restoration for the re-establishment of lost or damaged livelihoods due to natural disasters or calamities.

“We really need the commitment of the beneficiaries specially the President Mr. Vernie Larase to really work together with the members to sustain the project since DOLE will also provide for enhancement”, says RD Mantilla to the beneficiaries. She reminded everyone with a special quote saying “Let us not be weary in doing well, at the proper time we will reap a harvest, is we do not give up.”

In his message, Mr. Vernie Larase, the President of BAMA, expressed his thanks to DOLE for the prompt assistance given to them and to the officials of LGU Tubod for all the support in realizing the project.

Not all of the displaced workers were residents of Tubod. Others were from Mainit and Alegria, the neighbouring towns of Tubod. Each of them will receive two piglets for fattening and for hog raising, while the boar will be raised by the association which will be used for the reproduction of hogs.

Romelyn B. Bactol