An Indigenous Peoples (IP) community from the Higaonon Tribe in Sitio Kamansi, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental, has begun to benefit from the Department of Science and Technology’s Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program.
The IP community of 45 families, classified as a Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) recently received health and nutrition packages from DOST-X, which contain vitamin C, rice, personal protective equipment (PPE), CEST promotional products, kitchen utensils, and water containers.
The initiative is being implemented by DOST-X, in partnership with the local government unit (LGU) of Lagonglong and the 58th Infantry Battalion (58th IB), and private sectors such as the First Community Cooperative (FICCO) and Mindanao Energy Systems, Inc. (MINERGY).
DOST-X said that the community’s major problem is the lack of basic needs such as food and clean water. The families, including the children, usually eat only twice a day and depend mostly on root crops as the staple diet.
“Malnutrition is thus prevalent in the community. Hence, under the CEST project, DOST-X will be conducting a 120-day feeding program starting January 2021 using the complementary food products of the Xavier University-Food Technology Center (XU-FTC), a partner of DOST-X and a recipient of the comfood production technology of DOST,” DOST said.
“Moreover, as part of this joint undertaking, a potable groundwater system will be provided to the community. For its part, DOST-X will support a livelihood project for the said indigenous community,” it added.
CEST is a program that aims to empower the poorest and most depressed communities in the country, via S&T interventions in health and nutrition, water and sanitation, basic education and literacy, livelihood/economic enterprise development, and disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.