LUMADS are now earning more as tourist guides or porters, thanks to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)’s technical assistance (TA) project.
According to DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo Año, these native indigenous peoples and their families or lumads residing near the foot of the mountains in Cabadbaran City in Agusan del Norte are the beneficiaries of the TA project in collaboration with the Caraga State University (CSU).
Under the project, lumads who used to receive a measly amount for each big log that they carry down from Mt. Hilong-Hilong are now earning much higher as tourist guides and porters.
“I am pleased to know that our project is really changing lives for the better, particularly for the IPs in Cabadbaran City,” Año said.
A DILG-funded project, the Mt. Hilong-Hilong Tourism Sensitivity Program, studied the tourism potential of the mountain with the hope of creating a sustainable tourism development plan for the area and benefiting the lumads and their families.
According to CSU Research Team Leader Earl Niñofranco, the idea of coming up with the proposal to help address the lumads’ problems of poverty and lack of livelihood opportunities came up as he immersed in their community.
Niñofranco said that lumads before were paid P150-200 (or one peso per board ft.) for each big log they could bring down from the mountain.
A big boulder log is usually tied to the lumad’s body with sling in order for him to carry its enormous weight for 2-3 days.
Moved by their desolate situation, he teamed up with other professors on the campus to craft the proposal which led the way to training lumads to become tour guides and porters.