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NCIP helps boost Dumagat’s economic welfare in Cam Norte

By Rosalita Manlangit


DAET, Camarines Norte --- The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has been working on several projects to promote economic sustainability for the Dumagat tribe on Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte province.


On top of the most successful NCIP projects has been providing an alternative livelihood for the tribe through hat, basket and mat making and planting of “kalagimay” (raw material) by women weavers.


They can sell these products to earn a living, and this project has proved to be a significant help to the tribe.


Jocelyn Salen, one of the 50 direct beneficiaries of the NCIP project, shared her thoughts about the initiative.


“Napakalaking tulong ang ibinigay na proyekto ng gobyerno sa amin na magiging alternatibong hanapbuhay ang paggawa ng basket at banig na pwede naming ibenta” Salen said.


“Sana din po ay mapalago at maparami rin namin ang aming itinanim na kalagimay upang magkaroon kami ng mapagkukunan ng materyales sa aming hanapbuhay,” she said.


“Kalagimay” is the raw material used to produce hats, baskets and mat handicrafts.


Ariel Garote, a Dumagat who works as NCIP tribal assistant, said his tribe received a handicraft-making project that could provide an additional source of income to his relatives in Sitio Cutaba and Sitio Sampitan.


Garote has been working as a tribal assistant since 2019.


Farming and fishing are their tribe’s main sources of income. Garote, who started fishing when he was seven years old, now only does fishing every weekend since he started working at the NCIP.


According to NCIP Provincial Development Officer Agnes Salvino, the project given to the Dumagat community is part of the economic support under RA 8371, which recognizes, protects, and promotes the rights of IPs.


Salivio emphasized that one of the rights of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) is to have access to a livelihood program that ensures their economic sustainability.


“The project aims to support their economic sustainability, assist them in marketing, and provide them with seed capital for their cooperative.


In return, the IPs are expected to value the project and work towards its sustainability, she said.


The NCIP funded the project with P250,000, which provided the Dumagat community with tools and materials, along with seed capital of P37,500 for the organization of their cooperative.


The project also aims to organize 50 women as a cooperative, with the assistance of the Cooperative Development Authority from May 7-9.


Salvino said that the project will indirectly benefit 474 Dumagat IPs.


Recently, the NCIP team provided the Dumagat with kalagimay for the production of handicrafts and also gave them 500 seedlings to plant in the area.


The kalagimay and seedlings were purchased from the Manide tribe of Osmeña, Jose Panganiban town.


Salvino has reported that out of the 12 towns in Camarines Norte, eight have IPs residing in them. The Manides are in seven towns, while the Dumagat tribe can only be found in Barangay Pinagtigasan, Vinzons.


Last March, the IP community underwent training and capacity building on hat, basket, and mat-making, conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).


The training was attended by 50 participants, 33 of whom were women and 17 were men.


NCIP tribal assistant Ariel Garote mentors Dumagat tribe members before the planting of “kalagimay” seedlings, a raw material of the tribe. (Contributed photo/NCIP Camarines Norte)


Basket-making is an essential skill passed down from generation to generation in many IP communities, including the Dumagat tribe.


DTI Provincial Director Christie Rivera said the Dumagat tribe’s existing knowledge and interests were tapped during the training.


Furthermore, the DTI will also support the marketing of Dumagat tribe products, she added. (RBM-PIA5/Camarines Norte)

THE Dumagat tribe weavers during the training on hat, basket and mat making. (Contributed photo/NCIP Camarines Norte).

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