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Dumagat tribe forms coop to support fisherfolk

By Rosalita Manlangit

DAET, Camarines Norte --- The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has assisted a Dumagat tribe here in establishing a cooperative to help them earn even during severe weather conditions.

The tribe primarily depends on fishing for their livelihood, and one of their main challenges is the inability to fish during storms.

To establish the cooperative, the NCIP enlisted the help of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) to conduct a pre-registration seminar and organize the cooperative.

Over 50 Dumagat individuals joined the cooperative by registering their names during the pre-registration process.

The newly formed cooperative has been named Dumagat Tribe Agricultural Cooperative. The CDA will assist the tribe with the online application for cooperative registration.

As a cooperative, the Dumagat tribe can engage in other economic and social activities, according to Toni Galvan, a cooperative development specialist of the CDA.

Galvan said the cooperative can market its products and establish financial viability.

“Registering as a cooperative will make the Dumagat tribe’s transactions legal and will provide them with a recognized group identity,” she said.

Galvan said the Dumagat can even utilize their ancestral domain as a tourist spot and explore various economic opportunities.

The tribe is located in Barangay Pinagtigasan, Calaguas Island in Vinzons town, which requires a boat ride of more than two and a half hours to reach the area from the town proper.

Wenalyn Pascual, the tribe chieftain, noticed the eagerness of their tribe to learn and cooperate. She believes that forming the tribe into a cooperative will be beneficial.

“Kagaya ko na walang trabaho, makakatulong ang kooperatiba na magkaroon ng extra income, lalong lalo na kapag hindi nakakapalaot ang aking asawa dahil sa masama ang panahon, she said.

(For those who doesn’t have a job like me, I can have extra income through the cooperative especially when my husband can’t catch fish due to bad weather.)

Pascual is one of the directors of the newly formed cooperative and is the chieftain of the Dumagat tribe.

The chieftain mentioned that learning to make handicrafts, especially creating a basket handle, was quite challenging but she is eager to learn.

Recently, the NCIP worked with the Department of Trade and Industry to provide training on hat, basket, and mat making.

(If the cooperative becomes successful, it will greatly benefit our tribe because we are working together.)

Bricero is a widow with two granddaughters who are currently in college and has faced hardships due to relying on consignment sales for income. She also earns a daily rent of P300 for her banca.

(The cooperative will be a great help, especially during bad weather when I have no income from my banca.)

She mentioned that the tribe currently uses “pandan,” as a substitute raw material in weaving handicrafts while waiting for their “kalagimay” harvest.

Additionally, the NCIP provided them with kalagimay propagules, which they have planted in their land. (PIA5/Camarines Norte)


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