08 February 2018

By: Nelson Osial Jr. & Salvador Literal III (Region V)

Bagamanoc, Catanduanes-Province of Catanduanes is located at the east part of the Philippines. The major sources of income and employment of the residents were agriculture, fishing, and tourism to support their daily lives. Several handicrafts also contribute to the province's economy. 

Frequently, Catanduanes is the gateway of strong typhoons hitting Bicol Region that made the province known as, “The Land of the Howling Winds”, the residents of Catanduanes got used to strong typhoons and other calamities, they still have positive disposition amidst of these trials in life.

Bagamanoc is a fifth class municipality in the province of Catanduanes. It has 18 barangays and known for its natural marine resources. One of the barangays in Bagamanoc is Brgy. Quigaray.

Brgy. Quigaray is known for its huge potentials on having livelihood for its vacant lots around, given the limited livelihood resources in the area, fishing has been the primary livelihoods of the residents in Brgy. Quigaray.


DSWD SLP comes

With the help of DSWD through Sustainable Livelihood Program and Local Government Unit, Koping SLP Association was organized to maximize the use of available resources that could create an additional source of income to the residents in the area.

The association is composed of 14 women Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program Participants. Through Community Core Group (CCG) with the assistance of PDO, they identified Cassava as one of the major resources that can be found in the barangay.

The participants undergone capacity buildings sessions before undergoing the Skills training on Cassava Processing on November 16-19, 2015. Before marketing their product, they studied the different aspects of the project and on January 2016 they started their operations. The great thing about the project is that the charcoal that they are using in Koping came from Pantawid Beneficiary in other municipality. Through continuous product development, KOPING has now different flavours such as Garlic, Chili, Shrimp, Cheese, Malunggay and Crab. It has been the OTOP of Bagamanoc.


Building Power

The association is composed of 14 women Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program Participants. Cassava Chips (Koping) Processing aims to promote livelihood and entrepreneurship in Bagamanoc Catanduanes.

It helps the residents to establish livelihood projects in Barangays which will eventually provide additional income and improve the quality of life of the people in the Municipality of Bagamanoc. Furthermore, the project develops entrepreneurs and strengthens existing ones that will stimulate economic growth. 

To meets market demand, a back-up project was proposed by the Field PDO. Registered farmers all over the Municipality of Bagamonoc will be given funds for Cassava Planting. The Mayor offered the use of his lot for the installation of dryer and possible processing center. Also with the support of DTI, DOST, BLGU, LGU, DOH and DSWD-SLP the project continuously grown beyond its expected result.


Changes begins

The project brought a greater impact to the members and other neighboring barangay.

Each of the members is earning 1,500-2000 weekly because of koping. It also meets their capacity to acquire assets such as household needs, educational needs of the children. It encourages community participation because family members are included in the production. At to this moment, there is no gambling happening in the barangay unlike before because the residents focused on planting and production of Koping.

One of the living proofs is Lilibeth Toledana, 41 years old, married with 4 children shows determination in overcoming challenges in chasing her dreams for her family.

Nanay Lilibeth has a simple life where fishing is their main source of income but it’s not enough to support the needs of her family. Her husband earned less than 100 pesos a day from fishing. Weather condition is also one of the challenges in fishing that really affects the livelihood of her husband and to have a food to eat her husband went to mountain embracing the risk just to provide for the family.

“Hirap na hirap talaga ang aming pamilya at kung aasa lang kami sa dagat wala kaming mapapala, magugutom kaming lahat” she says.

Every day they are worried to where they will get their food, allowance of their children and other expenses to support their needs.

But, in this kind of life they have Nanay Lilibeth engaged into gambling. She went into her neighbors’ house to fulfill her interest.

When she became a member of Koping SLP Association, an association for Cassava Chips Processing in their barangay for having an abundant source of Cassava and has a potential for business venture. 

She focused to the project even if before, when she heard the news about the possible business she was hesitant to join but as the time passed by she decided to finally join and see the positive result of this to her family.

Aside from being a member of SLP association, she is actively participating to other DSWD core programs in their community.

She is also grateful for the training opportunities given by DSWD through Sustainable Livelihood Program and Local Government Unit because her skills and knowledge are enhanced. She was able to use this to encourage other person and talk to them with confidence. “Kung dati nagsusugal ako pero ngayon hindi na at napagtanto ko po na kaya nating gumawa na kakaibang bagay na mas mag-aangat sa ating buhay pati na rin sa ating kapwa.”, she said.

“Kung dati nagsusugal ako pero ngayon hindi na at napagtanto ko po na kaya nating gumawa na kakaibang bagay na mas mag-aangat sa ating buhay pati na rin sa ating kapwa.”

Because of the demand of the product produced by the association in the locality Nanay Lilibeth earns 1, 500- 2,000 pesos per week enough to support her family except from the grants her family receives from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

“Sobrang masaya ako kasi nabibigay ko na ang pangangailangan ng mga anak ko at hindi ko na kailangng mangutang pa at may savings pa “she proudly said.

On the other hand, Nanay Lilibeth and her family are very thankful to changes brought by DSWD programs to their lives. It serves as an eye opener and made them realized the importance of money and how to use it properly to alleviate her family from poverty.

She is very determined to prove the changes happened to her life and share to other people her inspiring story, from a person who was involved to gambling to a person who joined the association without knowing if she will win or loss like gambling.

 “Para sa akin iyong dati naming buhay na kapos sa lahat ng bagay, ngayon po ay nalagpasan na rin namin ang kahirapan, Nanalo ako!. “she ended.


To Sustainability

The project responds to the demands of stable market. Aside from having a huge market, the chips are very nutritious and affordable. It is lesser cost since main ingredients are produced locally. Furthermore, supply of Cassava will not be a major problem since vacant lots were now used as cassava producers, low maintenance since Palapa (COCONUT STEM) and rice hull are being used as firewood for cooking and steaming the cassava.

Aside from the income of the members, the enterprise demonstrates effective and efficient use of assets and available resources. Cassava is now producing abundantly in the locality. Through an ordinance as OTOP, all barangays are encouraged to produce CASSAVA in all barangays.

Not only Nanay Lilibeth benefited changes brought by the Koping but also the other members of the association. Because of the seen improvement on the life of the residents in Brgy. Quigaray, other barangays are now replicating the project.



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