AT LEAST 14,752 indigenous peoples (IPs) and their households benefited from small community projects in their respective hometowns all over the Philippines.

Officials from the Philippine-Australia Community Assistance Program (Pacap) announced that for the lumads in Mindanao alone, around 234 livelihood projects had been established to different tribes such as the Mamanwas, T’boli, B’laan, Badjao, Teduray’s, Samal, Tausug, Matigsalug, Dibabawon, Subanon, Maranaw, Yakan and Iranun, including the Muslims and Christians.

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David Swete Kelley, Australian program director, said Pacap had extended millions of pesos to the less privileged, especially in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (Armm), Bukidnon, and Agusan del Norte, among others.

Of the 234 projects provided for the last five years, Kelley said 43 were centered on peace and development in the communities.

In a press conference, Kelley recognized efforts from the local government units and some civic groups in funding the implementation of Pacap’s projects.

Among these projects include reforestry, water and sanitation facilities, functional literacy activities, livelihood projects, health and nutrition projects employment generation, which were focused more on the marginalized groups.

Mariz Limpo, Pacap area manager for responsive assistance scheme (RAS), said the projects should start in the communities to address the common concerns on addressing peace and development, “and for the community to act.”

James P. Honculada, Pacap provincial project officer for Agusan del Sur, said there are eight existing projects in his area that are now sustainable and can augment the basic needs of the indigents, including potable water and other livelihood projects.

He cited floating clinics, mobile clinics, ambulances in Bonawan, La Paz, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur as among these projects. (Loui S. Maliza)