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DOLE-13 releases P5.4M to abaca associations in Surigao Sur town

SAN MIGUEL, Surigao del Sur (PIA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Caraga recently released a livelihood grant amounting to P5.4 million to 12 abaca farmer associations in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.

The livelihood grant includes farm machinery and business capital, among others, under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP), which benefited mostly indigenous farmers of the abaca associations.

DOLE - Surigao del Sur, headed by Provincial Director Genebelle Bal, said, “The grant aims to assist the farmers in enhancing their livelihood by improving and hastening the abaca fiber production in the town that will increase their yield and create better market opportunities for the local product.”

Bal appreciated the local government of San Miguel as DOLE’s accredited partner, including the Philippine Army and other stakeholders who played a vital role in the implementation of the program.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Caraga distributed farm machinery to the 12 abaca associations in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. The associations are mostly members of the indigenous people who nurtured abaca as their primary source of livelihood. Photo courtesy of DOLE-SDS. 

Bonito Bocales, the Tribal Abaca Farmers Association chairperson and also a tribal chieftain, expressed immense gratitude to the government for the program implementation, as they are more productive and efficient now compared to manual abaca production.

“Kami mapasalamaton sa amung nadawat na stripping machines gikan sa DOLE, inubanan sa LGU ug sa 75th ug 36th Infantry Battalion maoy nag-assist pod sa amo nga wala gyud kami pasagdi, labi na sa pagpreparar sa mga dokumento. Dako kaayo kini na tabang sa amo nga mga Abaca farmers tungod kay kini maoy kasulbaran sa amung kalisod,” Bocales said as he  reflected the collective sentiment of the associations.

(We appreciate the stripping machines provided by DOLE, with assistance from the LGU and the 75th and 36th Infantry Battalions. They were reliable partners, especially in document preparation. These machines greatly aid us abaca farmers, offering solutions to our challenges.)

Prior to the machinery distribution, each member underwent comprehensive training on financial literacy, health education, workers' basic rights, and an overview of the DILP program.

The beneficiaries also underwent specialized training on the efficient operation of the machinery as a requisite skill to maximize the equipment’s utility and longevity.

With the mechanical equipment, production of abaca in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, will be more efficient and productive. This will give more income to the abaca farmers in the area and boost industry production. Photo courtesy of DOLE-SDS.

The 12 abaca farmer associations are the following: Acnitan Abaca Farmers Association, Balungkanadan Manobo Association, Carromata Abaca Farmers Association, Catabadan Busog Badbadan Abaca Farmers Association, Inadan Tribal Organic Farmers Association, Nalindog Farmers Association, Organisasyong Mag-uuma sa Tubod, Purok 7 Unified Abaca Farmers Association, Sangay Upland Farmers Association, Tambonon Lowland and Upland Farmers Association, Tribal Abaca Farmers Association, and Balungkanadan Abaca Farmers Association. 

According to the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), the Philippines is the largest producer of abaca fibers, supplying about 87 percent of the world’s requirement for the production of cordage, specialty papers (for currency note, stencil paper, teabag, coffee filter/cup, capacitor, insulation paper, etc.), textiles, furniture and fixtures, handicrafts, novelty items, meat casing, cosmetics and skin care products, grocery bags, composites for automotive and construction, and other industrial applications.

In 2022, Caraga ranked third among the top abaca-producing regions in the country, with an estimated 10,000 metric tons of fiber production. In addition, Surigao del Sur has reported a total of 24 abaca farmers and traders who contributed to this promising industry.  (NGPB/PIA-Surigao del Sur with a report from DOLE-SDS)

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Nida Grace P. Barcena



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