Ati communities in Guimaras get livelihood benefits

Published October 27, 2020, 10:49 AM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY—With their livelihoods affected by the pandemic, the indigenous people (IP) Ati in the island province of Guimaras became beneficiaries of a livelihood program from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-6).

Members of the indigenous Ati community in Guimaras province listen during an orientation for alternative livelihood project. (DOLE-6/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“We believe in the capabilities of the indigenous people, if given an opportunity they could improve their standard of living,” said DOLE-6 Regional Director Cyril Ticao.

Six Ati communities were granted with a P600,000-livelihood program by DOLE-6 for production of citronella mosquito oil repellant, which should serve as an alternative product that could be sold.

Prior to the pandemic, the Ati communities relied on local tourists, who visited their ancestral lands, and would buy souvenirs, while others went around selling broomsticks, amulets, and agricultural and native products.

Ticao also noted that the alternative livelihood program will help the Ati diversify their products and that could be provide added value to their marketability once domestic tourism normalizes.

The livelihood project was jointly implemented by the Guimaras Provincial Economic Development Office and Guimaras Provincial Public Employment Office (PEDO/PESO) with partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Guimaras Rep. Ma. Lucille Nava.

The livelihood project is part of the commemoration of the National Indigenous People’s Month.