NAVAL—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has provided livelihood assistance to residents of this town’s Higatangan Island to support the local tourism industry.
Perla Rojas, president of Mabilib Bayong (native bag) makers said Tuesday the DSWD assistance has been helping organization members to access funds if needed.
“With the program, less people have been dependent on fishing and more are engaged in making souvenir products for tourists,” Rojas said.
The group has 20 members, all included in the national government’s listing of poor individuals.
The local government endorsed the group for DSWD assistance receiving an initial start-up capital of PHP200,000 last year.
Aside from native bags, the group also produces colorful mats priced from PHP300 to PHP600 each. The group uses Romblon grass or tiger grass as raw materials.
Another livelihood program recipient in the island is the Mabilib Food Servicing, conceptualized in 2015 by the municipal sustainable livelihood committee. The group has been providing food requirement of tourists.
The group received PHP400,000 grant capital and required to manage the money well for emergency use. The food service provider has 40 members from two villages.
Norma Catandihan, the association’s vice-president, said they’re able to build a canteen and acquire other needs to run the business.
“We also completed skills training of cookery under the Technical Skills Development Authority before we started the operation,” Catandihan shared. The group launched their business last month.
They have earned PHP55,000 from selling foods during the recently concluded three-day Higatangan Summer Festival.
Higatangan Island, which is part of Naval town, is separated from the main Biliran Island by a narrow channel located in the north west tip of Leyte. The name Higatangan is derived from the word “atangan” meaning to wait for.
The tourist haven can be reached through a 45-minute boat ride from Naval port. The town is about 116 kilometers away from Tacloban City, the regional capital. There are regular trips to Naval from Tacloban and Ormoc City in northwest Leyte.