Planting in one province and crossing another for milling is no joke for a farmer with insufficient income. This practice has been existing in the far-flung areas of Negros Occidental for years until DOLE provided intervention through its livelihood project to change the way of life of the underserved and hard-to-reach indigenous peoples.
Farming is one of the major livelihood of the Ituman Bukidnon and Magahat Tribes in the far-flung area of Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental. However, due to its location, the beneficiaries used to travel and cross the boundary of the municipality of Tanjay in Negros Oriental for milling of their harvest. The processing of their harvests was both challenging and costly and the tribe members get minimum return of investments.
This difficult situation prompted the Local Government Unit of Himamaylan City and the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples to proposed to the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office 6 a Rice and Corn Mill Livelihood Project for the benefit of 116 tribe members.
The project is seen to provide accessible milling services not only for the tribe members but also for farmers living in adjacent villages. Apart from providing convenience, the rice and corn mill will also boost the income of the beneficiaries from its lease, and its accessibility and proximity will lessen the cost of transportation and processing time of their harvest.
Recognizing its impact to the indigenous peoples, Regional Director Atty. Sixto T. Rodriguez, Jr. approved the implementation of the livelihood project. On August 23, 2023, DOLE RO 6 through its Negros Occidental Field Office turned over the rice and corn mill along with basic commodities to the members of Ituman Bukidnon and Magahat Tribes in a ceremony held in Himamaylan City.
The Rice and Corn Mill is part of the “Various Livelihood Projects” proposed by the Local Government Unit of Himamaylan City amounting to Php 4 Million that will benefit 223 beneficiaries. Along with the Indigenous Peoples, the Sara-et Small Fishermen Association was also provided with motor engines, fishing nets, other fishing necessities, and basic commodities for its Fishing Gears and Commodity Store Project while the Himamaylan City Hog Raisers Association was granted with meat processing equipment and meat processing raw materials for its Meat Processing Project.