CITY OF ILAGAN – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Isabela Field Office, in partnership with the city government of Ilagan and the Armed Forces (AFP), has given former rebels and small-scale sugar cane planters a significant boost by giving them P.7 million worth of equipment and raw materials for their Sugar Cane Processing Project.
The program aims to improve the financial situation of the members, enhanced existing livelihood project and increase their capacity for sugar cane processing. It also supports the peace-building efforts of the government and integration of ex-rebels into the mainstream of society. The Sitio Lagis Farmers and Fisherfolks Association is a local community organization engaged in various agricultural activities in the challenging context of an area influenced by the presence of former rebels and classified as a New People’s Army (NPA) infested zone.
This association has demonstrated resilience and adaptability by engaging in diverse livelihood activities to sustain its members and contribute to the local economy.
Evelyn U. Yango, Chief of DOLE Isabela, stated that the project’s goal is to improve the association’s standard of living by providing them with resources. The success of the project in the long run would be determined by how well the association members are able to grow economically and achieve independence through their efforts to process sugar cane, she said.
“𝘚𝘶𝘨𝘢𝘳 𝘊𝘢𝘯𝘦 𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵’𝘴 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘭𝘺 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘥, 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘢𝘭𝘶𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘦𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴’ 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘵 𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘨𝘦. 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘦𝘧𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘹𝘢𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘢𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘣𝘺 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘮𝘰𝘥𝘦𝘭 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵,”Yango added.
Meanwhile, the DOLE, in cooperation with the association, the 502nd Infantry Battalion, and the City Government of Ilagan, organized the two-day entrepreneurship development program for the Sugar Cane Processing Livelihood Project.
35 members participated in the entrepreneurship development workshop provided by Mr. Pedro M. Lugo, City Cooperative Officer from the City Government of Ilagan, which gave them the fundamental know-how and abilities needed to manage a successful sugar cane processing operation.
Among the topics discussed were, Introduction to Entrepreneurship; Business Planning; Marketing and Sales; Financial Management; Understanding basic accounting principles, budgeting, and Cash Flow management for sustainable business operations; Legal and Regulatory Compliance; and Product Quality and Process Improvement ensuring product quality, safety standards, and continuous improvement in sugar cane processing techniques.
After the training, a ceremony was conducted to hand out the goods needed for the sugar cane processing livelihood initiative. The association members received a sugar cane crusher, filtering equipment, packing materials, a vat, and stainless tables. A total of 100 bottles of cane vinegar, 2 gallons of sugar cane juice, and 5 kg of brown sugar were processed by the training participants. In order to meet the demands of the community, the group hopes to produce more.