Livelihood center to rise in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan province PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 04 January 2014 13:46

A livelihood center that hopes to address the decades-old conflict will soon rise in Tipo-Tipo, south of Basilan.

At the special meeting of the Basilan Peace and Development Coordinating Committee, the Team Basilan was briefed by the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines on the planned livelihood training center, which will also become the convergence center for national government agencies providing related activities in this southern part of the country.

Captain Tanner Fleck, Civil Affairs Commander of the JSOTF-P US Forces said that in a survey conducted in the southern part of the Basilan, they were surprised at the outcome showing that the residents want livelihood.

“We were expecting that people would identify “rido” and peace and order situation as their primary problem, but we were surprised that livelihood was echoed many times as the need of Basileños,” he said.

Fleck said he talked to a number of government agencies and discovered that a lot of agencies were already conducting livelihood training programs.

“Unfortunately, these livelihood training programs are confined in the northern part of Basilan, particularly in Isabela and Lamitan cities for reasons of security,” he noted.

In collaboration with an AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) counterpart and the provincial government through Tahira Ismael, Fleck said that they thought of a possible solution to address the need for bringing the services down south of Basilan. And so, he said, the idea of a training center was developed.

“A safe, large center where you can consolidate your programs from different agencies for them to run their various programs,” Fleck added, saying that it is envisioned to function in full spectrum, meaning not just the training on livelihood skills but also training programs on micro-financing, business management, leadership, and marketing, among others.

Some members of the Team Basilan expressed concern over the security of the area where the proposed center will be established. Tipo-Tipo and its surrounding municipalities are conflict-prone areas which may compromise the success of the training center as this will discourage trainers to hold sessions in Tipo-Tipo.

While the project proponents understood the risk of pursuing the project in Tipo-Tipo, Fleck said that “this is precisely the reason why we wanted the program to be established right in the conflict-affected area as we feel that we will be able to create greater impact in our desire to achieve peace in Basilan.”

He said that the challenge now lies on the local government of Tipo-Tipo with the full support of the provincial government of Basilan to improve the peace and order situation in the southern part of the island province.

The Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines has also asked for an implementing arrangement concerning the project: Tipo-Tipo Livelihood Assistance center with the purpose of delineating responsibilities, coordinate, and establish administrative arrangements for the execution of the project.

The Tipo-Tipo Livelihood Assistance Center is a U.S. Pacific Command-approved and funded Humanitarian Assistance (HA) project. This project involves the solicitation, award, and execution of a U.S. Government construction contract,  utilizing construction and design firms properly licensed in the Philippines and legally contracted by NAVFAC Pacific for the construction of one warehouse, one classroom building, one dormitory structure, administrative office space, a kitchen and male/female comfort rooms in the barangay of Poblacion, Tipo-Tipo Proper, Tipo-Tipo Municipality, Basilan.

Fleck said they were just waiting for the release of the funds to start the project soon.