ROSARIO, Agusan del Sur - Some 15,000 Manobo highland people are "slowly but surely" improving their lives due to the sustainable livelihood assistance extended to them by a private company whose objective is to uplift their living condition in their respective communities in the municipalities of Rosario and Bunawan, in the province of Agusan del Sur.
It was learned that in the rubber plantation project alone, the Manobo tribesmen have almost completed planting some 48,000 budded rubber trees under their certificate of ancestral domain title or CADT given to them by the government to cultivate.
In the aspect of intercropping, these highland people planted 10,000 seedlings of "lakatan," and 8,000 seedlings of "cardava," that are expected for harvesting this year.
Next year, the Manobo tribesmen of Cabantao, Maligaya, Marfil, Pamintigan, Caulisihan, Masabong, and Maputi or the CAMPACAMM are also set to plant some 200,000 budded rubber trees, and germinated rubber seeds in their targeted 480-hectare ancestral domain claims.
Aside from the already two existing wide rubber tree nurseries, the Mindanao PhilSaga Foundation, Inc., social arm of the PhilSage Mining Corporation (PSMC) under its president, Dr. Victor P. Salvado, is also developing an estimated eight-hectare rubber tree nursery in Bayugan 3, this town.
Aside from the rubber plantation, the Manobo tribe of the CAMPACAMM under "Datu Mabantao" also has a 100-hectare of land planted with palay under the "Palay Program."
It was also learned that all the sustainable livelihood programs are being extended by the PSMC under the leadership and close supervision of its president, retired Army Colonel Samuel G. Afdal.
Funding, technical, and agricultural materials and equipment are being supported by the PSMC under its "plant and pay later" program.
Under its social development and management program for this year, the company has allocated some P20,461,278.42 for the education, health, livelihood, infrastructure (including farm-to-market roads), and other programs for the Manobo tribesmen.