By Vincent Philip S. Bautista
BUTIG LANAO DEL SUR, May 21–Twenty Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and their community hosts graduated in “Basic Cookery and Catering Services Training” in Barangay Sandab, Butig as part of Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits’ (ECOWEBs) and Plan International’s capacity-building initiative under the Marawi Response Project.
“Funded by the USAID [ United States Agency for International Development] , meron kasi kaming livelihood micro-grant. Ito ‘yung tulong para sa IDPs and host communities para makarecover at magkaroon sila ng immediate na kabuhayan,” said Plan International-Marawi Response Project Technical Advisor Larry Agpalo.
(Funded by the USAID, we have a livelihood micro-grant. This is our assistance to IDPs and their host communities for them to recover and give them immediate means of income)
Agpalo said the five-day training, provided by their TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority)-accredited technical and vocational learning partner, serves to complement and ensure maximum utilization of other previous assistance initiatives by providing the beneficiaries the necessary capacity-building opportunity.
“Kaya itong training na ito ay binigay namin kase mahirap na meron silang mga gamit at equipment tapos masasayang lang,” he stated.
(We have this training because it would be difficult if we provide them with the equipment and such would only go to waste)
Upon the recommendation of the Social Ministry of Social Service and Development citing Brgy Sandab as having the highest numbers of IDPs in their area of responsibility, Plan International and ECOWEB was able to organize 30 community solidarity groups since the start of the Marawi Response Project in 2018 wherein 17 have already received their livelihood project training.
As part of Plan International’s gender-inclusion initiative, Agpalo said they always make sure to provide meaningful participation from women in their programs and bring equality to the forefront.
“In all our activities, we ensure that fifty percent are women,” he said.
On the culmination of the five-day training, Sittie Faisah Bangcola, one of the IDP beneficiaries of the program, shared her view from her newly learned skill, “I am planning na magpatayo ng restaurant doon sa may bahay namin (to open up a restaurant by our house), so with this training po, I can apply my learned knowledge para mapatayo yung restaurant na pinangrap ko (so I can finally make my goal of having a restaurant a reality).”
As a rejoinder, Rakina Bandera, another IDP beneficiary, shared her plans of using her new skills in opening a business to fill a gap in their barangay, “Yung iba dito na magpass by na walang mabibili na pagkain, especially dito sa gitna ng bundok kasi walang restaurant, [ngayon] kung sino gusto magluto pwede na nila dalhin doon para mabenta.”
(There are passerby here who have nowhere to buy food, especially in the middle on the mountains, but now, those who would want to cook can already bring the food from here and sell it to their community)
Aside from “Basic Cookery and Catering Services Training,” ECOWEB Livelihood and Economic Specialist Anuar Mustapha also disclosed their plans of adding more trainings such as project management and bookkeeping to complement their current programs for IDPs and their host communities.
In support of this year’s Marawi Week of Peace, Agapalo emphasized the importance of cooperation and social development from all stakeholders to attain long lasting peace.
“I think it is very important ang cooperation sa matag usa, even part sa beneficiaries, ang commitment nila to implement and siguraduhon nga ma-implement ni properly. I think naa’y peace kung naa’y development, kinahanglan naa’y pagakaon mabutang sa lamesa sa matag pamilya. Kung mahimo ni nato, I think dako jud ni nga tabang sa pag-abot sa kalinaw,” he said.
(I think it very important to have cooperation from everyone, even from the beneficiaries, their commitment to implement and assurance to implement it properly. I think we can have peace when there’s development, there should be food on the table of every household. If we can do this, I think this is would be a huge help in truly attaining peace). Philippine Information Agency