Community Organizing among Indigenous Peoples: Landan People’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LPMPC)
MFI started to develop its partnership with barangay Landan in September 1993 under the foundation’s Adopted Barangays Program. The CO activities resulted in the formal organization of LPMPC on June 22, 1994. Organizational development activities were undertaken. LPMPC started with only 33 members (comprised of 80% IPs belonging to the B’laan tribe, 15% Visayan migrants, and 5% Muslims), meeting under the shade of trees mostly. At times, pre-membership seminars were held in public school classrooms. A borrowed stage, courtesy of the Barangay Council, was a consistent fixture in the co-op’s assemblies. Initial livelihood projects in the area were the Cow Ownership (COW) Project in 1995 and the Crop-Livestock Assistance Project (CLAP) in 1996, funded by the Manos Unidas Campaña Contra El Hambre of Spain.
In the latter part of 1996, LPMPC, together with MFI, conducted a community consultation with its barangay residents. This activity was instrumental in the conceptualization of the Landan Farmers Assistance Program (LFAP) proposal, which was approved by AusAID-Philippine-Community Assistance Program (PACAP) in 1997. LFAP was LPMPC’s first attempt to directly access funds from a foreign donor agency. LFAP Year 1 received a total of P723,000, while Year 2 and 3 had a total funding of P2.6-million. This project, ending in 2000, had been successfully implemented by the co-op. Also in 1997, LPMPC started to establish its business partnership with Dole Philippines, Inc. through the Dolefil Private Growers Program, with a total financing of P55-million.
It was also in 1997 when MFI started to phase out from Barangay Landan to test LPMPC’s organizational and financial management capability. Institutionally, one of the set requirements that the graduating PO/Co-op has to pass was to develop the skills in accessing foreign funding, and complying with the conditions and demands of a foreign donor. Having passed these criteria, LPMPC officially graduated as a Mahintana-assisted cooperative in 1998.
In 1999, the co-op has accessed funds from AusAID-PACAP for the second time, through the Landan Riverbank Rehabilitation Project. In the later part of 2000, LPMPC was able to directly access funds from the Philippine-German Development Foundation (PhilGERFUND) for its Hog Dispersal Project amounting to P240,000. Currently, LPMPC is implementing the P1.3-million Riverbank Rehabilitation Project, funded by AusAID-PACAP under its Area Focused Approach (AFA) Program. As of 2002, the co-op has established partnership with the following donor agencies: AusAID-PACAP, PhilGERFUND, Dolefil, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), and the Local Government Unit.
As of December 2006, LPMPC has total assets of about P157.990-million, with a total membership of 1,593 member-beneficiaries generating a total of P12.890-million as capital build-up (CBU), and P7.690-million in savings. Further, in 2005, the co-op has generated a total net surplus of P2.091-million. As of 2005, the co-op is assisting a total of 1,700 hectares, 1,688 of which are devoted to pineapple and the remaining 12 planted to papaya.
LPMPC has received the following citations: Regional Winner of the Gawad PITAK Award (Category B) of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) in 2000; Regional Winner of the Gawad PITAK Award (Category A) of LBP in 2001. Also in the same year, LPMPC was nominated for the Search for the Gawad Matutum Award, sponsored by the Provincial Government of South Cotabato. In the same year, LPMPC was chosen as Best in Business Operations among the co-ops assisted by LBP. It was also tagged as the Most Outstanding Cooperative assisted by Dolefil. In 2006, LPMPC was awarded as the Gawad Pitak Hall of Fame by LBP.
Today, LPMPC stands proudly in Landan with a building of its own, a warehouse, solar drier, corn sheller, and a training center. Its post-harvest facilities now include trucking services to transport the co-op’s produce to their markets. The co-op staff has grown from four to its current 43 personnel.
Kapatan Marine Conservation and Development Project (KMRDP)
KMRDP, a coastal resource management project funded by AusAID-PACAP from 1997 to 2000, promotes the development, conservation, and rehabilitation of marine and coastal resources; encourages the use of appropriate fishing technologies and sustainable resources; and developing an organization capable of effecting positive change in their community. The project was instrumental in extending economic assistance to at least 40 members of Cabug Fisherfolks and Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CAFIFAMCO) with a total amount of P300,000. It has also constructed a multi-purpose building worth P166,000 and provided Cabug community with water system facility worth P295,000 that benefited at least 95 households. It has also developed strong linkages with national government agencies and various development players in the area.
In 1998, CAFIFAMCO has won citation in the provincial and regional levels as the “Most Outstanding Fisherfolks’ Organization in Region XI” for implementing viable community-based coastal resource management project. The organization is now sustaining the interventions made by the program. Further, AusAID-PACAP has named KMRDP as one having adopted some best practices in the area of coastal resource management.
Maligo Integrated Livelihood and Conservation (MILCon) Project Year II-AFA
MILCon is another project implemented under the AusAID-PACAP Area Focused Approach. The project, implemented in partnership with Maligo Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MMPC), has assisted a total of 258 beneficiaries, who are members of the barangay-based MMPC, and the sitio-based Miranda Tree Farmers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MTFMPC) and Kawit Farm Fruit Tree Planters Association (KFFTPA). In 2002, the co-op has reforested about 91 hectares and established about 30 hectares of assorted fruit trees. The project has also developed and sustained a total of 20 hectares of hilly farms adopting the Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT). A potable water system was also installed in the barangay to support the community’s activities.
The barangay-based MMPC is currently producing prime quality products, such as Guava Jelly, Banana Chips, Calamansi Concentrate, Kaong Vinegar, and Passion Fruit Concentrate. This project receives technical assistance from AusAID-PACAP and the Upland NGO Assistance Center (UNAC).
The MILCon Project has considerably strengthened the barangay-based cooperative (MMPC) through training-workshops and technical support. As of December 2005, MMPC has total assets of about P1.2 million and has generated over P255,000 as CBU.
Community Organizing / Organizational Strengthening Component of the Southern Mindanao Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project
The Government of the Philippines (GOP) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) provide fund for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the implementation of the SMICZM Project. MFI implemented the project’s Community Organizing / Organizational Strengthening (CO-OS) Component, as contracted by DENR Region XI / XII (2003-2004). The CO-OS Component covers the areas of Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape (MMPL), Silway-Klinan and Buayan River Systems and the Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (SBPS), with a total of 37 barangays, eight municipalities, one city, and two provinces.
Matutum Integrated Conservation and Development (MICADEV) Project
The Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) was one of the initial partners of the foundation way back in 1995 for the implementation of the MICADEV Project. This project covers a total of 14 barangays in four municipalities and two provinces. Some of its components include Environmental Advocacy, Organizational Development and Strengthening, LGU Capacity-Building, and Multi-sectoral participation. The project was also instrumental in organizing the Multi-sectoral Forest Protection Committee (MFPC), recognized as one of the Local Special Bodies under DENR.
Integrated Community Health Services Program (ICHSP)
The AusAID-assisted project of the Provincial Government of South Cotabato tapped the expertise of the foundation in 2001 to implement the said project in the Municipality of Polomolok. This project was implemented in Barangay Sumbakil, Polomolok, South Cotabato, in partnership with the Rural Health Unit (RHU) of Polomolok and Dolefil. The components of the project include: establishment of potable water system, distribution of sanitary toilet seats, IEC on Primary Health Care, and establishment of the Botika ng Barangay.
STD/HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention in South Cotabato, and Policy Development and Advocacy, and Policy Compliance and Monitoring in General Santos City
MFI was also a partner of the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) for five years (1997-2001) to implement its various projects in General Santos City, one of the DOH-identified sentinel sites. Among its major accomplishments were the formulation and enactment of the City Ordinance No. 09, Series of 2000, entitled An Ordinance Providing A Mechanism to Control and Eradicate the Proliferation of Sexually Transmitted Diseases among the Workers and Patrons of the Entertainment Industry within General Santos City and City Ordinance No. 09, Series of 2001, entitled An Ordinance Creating the General Santos City STD/HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Council.
Community Development / Reciprocating Program
This includes Tools for Trees, Chairs for Trees; Pews for Trees, etc. This program supports the Adopt-a-School Project of Dolefil, and follows a scheme that requires the requesting institution to plant a tree for every P10.00 worth of assistance. The cost of the pews and armchairs, which are fabricated out of scrap palettes, as well as industrial and garden tools, serve as reference in the number of trees that has to be planted. MFI also provides the trees for this purpose.