To address the flood that time and again comes to Cotabato City , the regional offices of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE XII) and Technical Education and Skills Authority (TESDA XII) unified its resources to transform water hyacinth, one of the causes of the flooding, from a “menace” into an environment- friendly commodity.
This is a continuing initiative that TESDA XII set off when it conducted a five (5) day resource-based skills and livelihood training at TESDA Cotabato City District Office, last June 30 to July 04, 2011. Engr. Richard Amparo of TESDA XII reported that the first training aims to teach the selected thirty- five (35) participants to process the water hyacinth and transform it into bags, slippers, tissue holders, and other household or office items. Ms. Shirley Zaide from TESDA NCR –PAMAMARISAN served as the resource person of the said training.
DOLE XII Regional Director Ma. Gloria A. Tango saw the viability of the project and in consultation with her senior officers committed to support the project. It is income-generating, employment-generating as well as environment-friendly for Cotabato City. Thus, water hyacinth handicraft project was identified as a core enterprise of the Community Enterprise Development Program (CEDP) for the area. DOLE Cotabato City Field Office facilitated the organization of the trainees into Pusaw Handicraft Association.
To further enhance the skills of the members, a second training was conducted last October 10 to 15 2011, at Sardonyx Plaza Hotel, Cotabato City. A TESDA trainor from Manila shared additional technical skills on water hyacinth handicraft while Mr. Willie Concepcion from DOLE XII Technical Support Services Division (TSSD) provided inputs to develop the entrepreneurial skills of the beneficiaries.
During the opening ceremony of the second training, RD Tango inspired the attendees by emphasizing the importance of enhancing the skills of each one as tool for their development. In this case, the enrichment of the skills of the members of Pusaw Handicraft Association in making handicrafts from the water hyacinth is essential in their community development.
Likewise, TESDA Provincial Director Leonora A. Guiloreza, CEO VI, pledged the support of her agency by providing the necessary skills and training to continuously improve the quality of the water hyacinth handicraft that the association will produce.
As a highlight during the opening program of the said training, RD Tango awarded the check amounting Php 243,060.00 for the materials and equipments that the association needed to start their business.
At the end of the training, the Cotabato City CEDP was launched. It was led by DOLE XII Assistant Regional Director Joel Gonzales, together with representatives from identified partners. He inspired the participants by highlighting the proper attitude in handling a business enterprise. In his speech he gave them hints about productivity that would enable them to become successful entrepreneurs in the near future.
The Community Enterprise Development Program or CEDP aims to enhance and transform existing livelihood projects in the barangays into community enterprises and or set up community enterprises to be managed by community groups. As of this time, the CEDP of Cotabato City is the fourth that has been launched in Region XII. Launched earlier during the year were the CEDP of Lambayong ( Kakanin Products) in Sultan Kudarat; Barangay Libas, Tantangan, South Cotabato (charcoal briquetting); and in Barangay Bula, General Santos City (deep-sea fishing and mini-motor shop).