THE WAY I SEE IT | Susan Amoroso
Community pantries in the cities are sprouting everywhere. The hungry and the impoverished can come and get what they need for free in these charity pantries. Donors from both public and private sectors are giving whatever they can afford. This is a good thing. However, there are some far off places inhabited by indigenous people that need help and donors too.
Within the fringes of Palawan famous for its subterranean river and five-star resorts, indigenous people or IPs live in extreme poverty. They earn only P30 a day or P900 a month. A Palaweno needs at least P1,954 a month to meet his daily food allowance. A family of five needs at least P9,770 a month for their non-food needs like housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and other non-food items. This is based on the 2018 poverty index of the Palawan Statistics Authority (PSA).
Since the IPs earn less than ten percent of the minimum basic allowance needed to live in Palawan, tribal Christian churches have banded together to help their tribal communities in Palawan.
Through the ministry of the New Tribes Missions of the Philippines (NTMP) in Palawan, more than 150 tribal churches were planted in the town of Quezon. It has a population of 70,000. The objective is to help the IP Christian leaders and members to fulfill their mission in reaching out to their co-indigenous people both spiritually and financially.
The IP tribal churches’ pilot project is to utilize the IP ancestral domain in Barangay Maasin. The barangay is home to 100 hectares which could be planted to mangroves, nipa palm trees and other agricultural products. Maasin is bounded by the town of Aborlan on the northeast; Narra on the east; Rizal on the southwest; and Espanola on the southeast.
The mission leaders after careful deliberations have come up with doable projects to raise funds in rehabilitating the mangrove and nipa palm plantation. From April 1 to May 30, and from June to December 2021, the IPs need to raise P260,000 to start up their operations.
Phase Two is the continuation of the project. To successfully rehabilitate the mangroves and plant more nipa palms, the amount to be raised is P400,000. The phase two is from January 2022 to December 2023. This phase entails massive and intense work.
Phase three is to scout investors who want to infuse investment to put up manufacturing facilities to produce sugar from the nipa palm fruits. Sugar produced from the nipa palm fruits has a low glycemic index, the best alternative to sugar from sugar cane. The amount to be raised is P3 million with the intent to start operation in August 2023.
The church ministry created for the plantation and manufacturing project will start training of the IP church leaders every Saturday for three hours from June 5, 2021 up to May 28, 2022.
Engineer Joseph Lee is in charge of the project and you may contact him at his mobile number 63-998-990-2343 or email him at leojoseph.d.@gmail.com.
The IP Christian churches need all the help and donations from good spirited individuals and corporations both here and abroad.