Mindanao tribal communities get P100-million support

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines —  President Rodrigo Duterte will release P100 million to tribal communities in Mindanao for livelihood program and agricultural development.

Speaking before the leaders of tribal communities in Davao City on Thursday, February 1, President Duterte vowed to facilitate the entry of investors and government assistance to tribal areas for them to develop and secure sustainable livelihood.

Duterte said the tribal communities need government’s support to earn a living, for their economic empowerment for them not to be influenced by the communist insurgents.

“Mag-release ako ng 100 million, temporary, pangtawid ninyo sa normalcy. ‘Yun ang gamitin ninyo,” he said.

“You have to learn something, a skill to help your family,” he added.

He also underscored the importance of education to lift Lumad communities from dire poverty promising to provide free education to bright and talented young indigenous people.

The President also expressed his government’s willingness to fund the education of brilliant young tribe members by sending them to top universities in the country.

“I will send your children to any good school, or if you’re in Manila and you want to send them to San Beda, Ateneo, La Salle, you may enroll them there and the government will pay for the tuition fee,” he said in the vernacular.

To fend off the influence of communist insurgents in Lumad areas, Duterte announced that his government would recruit qualified tribe people to become members of the Armed Forces.

Tribe members could also opt to join government militia to fight communist rebels, he said.

President Duterte added that he would personally protect the ancestral domains in the country under his administration and choose investors to develop the areas.

President Duterte addressed around 1,100 indigenous peoples (IP) leaders during the summit held in Panacan, Davao City.

The IP Leaders’ Summit is a two-day event which aims to provide the IPs with an avenue to air their concerns with the national government agencies. It has drawn IP and Lumad leaders from Eastern Mindanao.-PND

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