Issue of August 6, 2017
Mt. Province

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Bantay Gubat members take up skills training
by Alaska J, Turaray and Vanessa Isabel De Vera

Bantay gubat or forest guards of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera became beneficiaries of livelihood skills training under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program (Pamana), the national peace and development framework for areas challenged by an armed conflict.

The DENR-Cordillera, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry initiated a bamboo furniture making training-workshop to provide alternative livelihood to the Pamana beneficiaries.

The event was held at the Social Development Center from July 10 to 28 in Galicia Farm in Pidigan, Abra. Bamboo is the province’s major industry.

The participants, clustered into three groups that assured a more guided hands-on skills training, engaged in activities on the basics of bamboo furniture making, focusing on jointing and binding techniques and use of appropriate set of tools.

The would-be entrepreneurs were given special sessions on raw material preparation that involved pole selection, bamboo harvesting techniques, hauling techniques, and proper measuring and cutting.

Other essential skills in the trade were also developed as they were engrossed in mastering bamboo scrapping techniques, treatment, drying, splitting, holing, assembly, grinding, shaving, polishing and finishing.

The DENR-Cordillera encourages the employment of local bamboo for furniture as its abundance in the region stimulates the local economy. It also reduces the community’s dependence on the natural forest’s timber resources.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process oversees the Pamana program.  By virtue of DENR-Opapp Memorandum Circular 2013-02, the DENR-Cordillera has accommodated former rebel combatants from the disbanded Cordillera People’s Liberation Army.

The rebel returnees are contracted by the DENR-CAR as bantay gubat to be reintegrated and become productive members of the community.

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