COLUMBIO, Sultan Kudarat, June 29 (PIA) -- Secretary Isidro Lapena announced in a recent visit in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will establish a technical vocational school in the municipality to cater to the training needs of the residents in the area, including the indigenous peoples who are the primary beneficiaries of the newly launched Project I-PEACE.
On June 24, Sec. Lapena, along with officials of TESDA and other national government agencies in SOCCKSARGEN Region went to Barangay Datal-blao to kick off the Project I-PEACE or Project Indigenous Peoples Empowered as Agripreneurs Toward Collective End, which aims to transform the pilot areas - all IP populated barangays -- as food production sites and sustainable communities.
In his message to the residents of Datal-blao at the launching ceremony, Sec. Lapena disclosed that he and Mayor Edwin Bermudez have agreed to put up an extension school in Columbio.
"I told your mayor that we will put up an extention training center in Columbio so that those who will need training won't be required to travel to Lambayong," Sec. Lapena said.
Lambayong is where the TESDA provincial training center is located; thus, residents of Columbio who would like to train at the provincial facility will have to spend for travel and other expenses. The expenses could triple for residents in the hinterlands of Columbio such as Datal-blao, which is situated close to the borders of Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur provinces.
Lapena added that the extension training center in Columbio may also feature a farm field school which could lead to additional provisions such as machineries for modernized farm production.
"This is in accordance with the mandate of President Duterte to bring the services of the government to remotest villages," he said.
Trainings for TESDA are free of charge and trainees receive allowances as government scholars.
Barangay Datal-blao in Colombio has been selected as pilot site for the Project I-PEACE, a flagship project of the Joint Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (JRTF-ELCAC).
As a pilot site of a project that promotes food security, the community is a recipient of convergent efforts of national government agencies, local government units, and other partners including upgrading the skills of the target beneficiaries is in farm production and establishment of food hubs and terminals where farmers can market their produce without the interventions of middlemen.
A demo farm is being established in Datal-blao which shall also serve as a training site for local farmers.
Besides Datal-blao, Project I-PEACE was also launched in Barangay Alegria in Alabel, Sarangani; Barangay San Jose in General Santos City; and Barangay Manobo in Magpet, Cotabato Province. (DED-PIA XII)