The ten best students of the 400 who recently completed the two-year Job Enabling English Proficiency Project (JEEP) in Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) in Zamboanga City show off their completion awards. USAID’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program has assisted WMSU and 25 other colleges and universities in Mindanao to introduce and implement JEEP, an intensive course of study that assists college students to acquire the English language ability needed to compete successfully for jobs in high demand sectors, such as nursing and allied health services, travel and tourism, and the merchant marine. When fully operational, the colleges currently implementing JEEP instruction will be turning out some 12,000 “JEEP Completers” each year. The GEM Program is implemented under the oversight of the Mindanao Development Authority. GEM
Bongao, Tawi-Tawi—Former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) combatants in this coastal fishing village are channeling their skills and energy into a new undertaking: sustainable aquaculture production.
Members of the Matarrang Community Organization (MCO), composed of about 29 ex-MNLF fighters, are profitably farming grouper and abalone, a turn-around from the life they lived as armed guerillas years ago.
The group recently signed a contract growing agreement with the Tawi-Tawi Multi-Species Hatchery, under which the latter will provide MCO with abalone spats and grouper fingerlings for grow-out. Once the abalone and grouper have reached harvestable size, the hatchery will purchase them at prevailing market prices.
“Under the agreement, we will regularly supply the hatchery with market-size abalone which will be used as spawners,” said MCO president Najir Abdurajan. “We began as simple seaweed growers and have now branched out into high-value aquaculture production.”
The Tawi-Tawi Hatchery was represented at the signing by its manager Arlyn Carroz, Hatchery Manager, while MCO was represented by Abdurajan.
USAID’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program, under its Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries Effort (TCEP-SAFE), assisted both parties in finalizing the agreement, which is expected to provide MCO with a stable market for its marine products.
Earlier, MCO was trained on aquaculture production and provided with production inputs to start its initial cycle, as part of the GEM Program’s Former Combatant Reintegration component.
This May, as a result of this assistance, MCO expects to harvest about one metric ton of grouper worth approximately US$11,000, and 200 kilograms of abalone valued at US$1,600.
Abalone currently sells at P550 per kilo, while live grouper sells at P500 per kilo in domestic markets. Most of the aquaculture products produced in Tawi-Tawi are shipped to Zamboanga City, the center of the lucrative seafood trade in Western Mindanao.
GEM collaborated with the Tawi-Tawi Hatchery to instruct the group on the use of yusukei trays for sustained commercial-level scale production.
According to Tito Ilagan, GEM senior aquaculture specialist, using the durable trays is a more cost-effective and sustainable system than traditional fish pens or rock enclosures.
“These trays are compact, but are able to yield bigger volumes of abalone per harvest,” Ilagan said.
The GEM Program has worked with fish growers’ associations in western Mindanao, including the Sulu Archipelago, to discourage the practice of catching mature reef fish and abalone from the wild for grow-out.
Most of these growers are situated in the province of Tawi-Tawi, where hatchery-bred grouper and abalone juveniles are readily available through the Tawi-Tawi Hatchery and the Mindanao State University (MSU) Abalone Research and Development Hatchery, both of which receive assistance from GEM.
The GEM Program also provides selected groups of growers with training on site location, feed management and the establishment of commercial-scale culture systems.
To date, USAID-GEM has trained approximately 11,750 aquaculture, fruit and vegetable growers on Good Agriculture Practices (GAP), effective marketing strategies, and appropriate post-harvest handling techniques. GEM
ALABEL, Sarangani (April 20, 2011) – Prosecutor Jose Jerry Fulgar gives a lecture on basic concepts and criminal procedures, Ethics on Laws and Criminals, and 5 Pillars of Criminal Justice to attending police investigators from police offices of Sarangani and General Santos City during the first day of Police Investigation Proficiency Enhancement training Wednesday, April 20, at the Kasfala Hall. This training is an initiative of the provincial government through its legal office in partnership with the Office of Provincial Prosecutor to enhance investigation skills of police investigators, introduce appropriate forms of proper documentation of events in crime scenes and revisit duties, responsibilities and authority of police officers during the conduct investigations. (Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)
KIAMBA, Sarangani (April 19, 2011) – Carl Jerrick Sol, a registered nurse from the office of Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, together with volunteers from Reach International Health Care Training Program Inc. leads the registration and data gathering of beneficiaries during the Serbisyong Sarangan community outreach activity at sitio Banate, barangay Badtasan. (Richie Tongo/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)
KIAMBA, Sarangani (April 19, 2011) – Barangay Captain Florentino Hidalgo (left) distributes books to the children of sitio Banate, Badtasan as part of the community outreach activity in partnership with Reach International Health Care Training Program Inc., Provincial and Municipal Health Offices and the Office of Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon. (Richie Tongo/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)
ALABEL, Sarangani (April 19, 2011) – Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon talks with the Mass Communication students of Notre Dame of Dadiangas University as they visit and cover the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regular session Tuesday, April 19, as part of their on-the-job training at Brigada News Philippines. (Ritchie Tongo/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)
ALABEL, Sarangani (April 19, 2011) – Mass Communication students of Notre Dame of Dadiangas University pose with Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon for a souvenir photo during their visit and coverage of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regular session Tuesday, April 19, as part of their on-the-job training at Brigada News Philippines. (Ritchie Tongo/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)
ALABEL, Sarangani ( April 19, 2011) – (From left) Mrs. Bernadita M. Cenas, chairperson of Barangay Spring People’s Health Organization, Mayor Corazon Grafilo, Governor Migs Dominguez, Barangay Captain Saturnino Ricahuerta, Dr. Ruben Dela Cruz (BIHMI executive officer), Vice Mayor Paul Salarda and BCHDC administrator sign the memorandum of understanding among the Provincial Government of Sarangani, Municipal Government of Alabel, Barangay Government of Spring, Barangay Spring People’s Health Organization and Brokenshire Integrated Health Ministries Inc. on their respective roles on the implementation of accessible, affordable and sustainable health for programs for Barangay Spring Tuesday, April 19, at Barangay Spring Elementary School. (Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)
ALABEL, Sarangani (April 19, 2011) – Governor Migs Dominguez urges parents to take personal responsibility for their health as their counterpart for the government’s health care program during the signing of memorandum of understanding for the implementation of accessible, affordable and sustainable health programs for Barangay Spring. (Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)