My Iligan


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

the tale of two villages

Life in Libi

Rancho and Kolambog are villages at the eastern hilly sides of barangay Libi, and the B’laan tribes settled in them since the 1930s, about 30 families scattered in some 869 hectares.

There are no clinic and school, before the clearing for the road in 2003, the villages and their children had to walk over five kilometers to reach the health center, and for the children to attend elementary. But horses are also available for easier visits.

Potable water was also lacking and the villagers fetch in the springs far from their houses. Corn is largely planted in the villages, and rice is grown for eating, and cassava, sweet potato and banana are other staples.

In essence, life in Libi is simple and unsecured…the people are praying for land to farm to improve their lives.

‘Win some, loss more’

These upland villages in Libi are in Malapatan, a town in the province of Sarangani. The UDP came sometime in 2004, and provided consultants to assess their existing and potential local enterprises to be managed by them. The same consultants were again contracted to assist KRANFO, an upland barangay association from the two villages, in preparing the business plan and manual. Also, they are there to provide coaching and training in operating the enterprise and install some systems.

To date, KRANFO has their business plan but their proposed enterprises are not yet started. The organization is composed of 62 members, 30 of whom come from Rancho and 32 from Kolambog.

The UDP’s partners in the projects in Libi include the town of Malapatan that allocates counterpart funds, and maintains a project team headed by their agriculturist, and assigns personnel to provide technical assistance. There is also the Rural Bank of Sarangani to loans to farmers using the model packages by the UDP.

During the business planning with the consultants, the farmers have identified the trading of banana and peanuts, and a store to be managed separately by each of the villages. However, the villages in Libi still struggle with the changes. Their pitfalls usually mean missteps for the association. It was realized that so much is left undone that every step forward somehow lead them away from their goals. Notwithstanding the fact, the farmers are still willing to stake at progress because they have shared with the UDP’s vision of development.

Guinang Fucal, a pastor and one of the chairmen in Libi in their dialect said, ‘Before, we are always short of cash. Until UDP came, we only had corn and coconut, but they taught us to plant all types: from long-term like coconut, mango and coffee; and medium-term like banana; and short-term crops like mongo beans and peanuts.’

Here, we will somehow see that people are people, their issues, small gains and heavy set backs are part of the process.


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