Canadian expert eyes entrepreneur boot camp for RP lumads
by Ben Serrano
Surigao City (February 22) -- Claiming it is the only means to achieve sustainable Community-Based Enterprise (CBE) for Indigenous People in the Philippines, Canada's University of Manitoba Research Fellow Mavis McRae recommends establishment of entrepreneur boot camp.
McRae who works for the University's Stu Clark Center for Entrepreneurship told more than 80 participants in the recently concluded two-day Community-based Assessment and Action Planning that the camp aims to provide outside-of-the-box experience for target clienteles, this time, the Philippines' Indigenous People living in host mining communities of the country.
"You will get a chance to get first hand taste of life as a business student and an entrepreneur at the camp for week or month-long entrepreneurial venture as you will be closely guided by enthusiastic team of business facilitators with focus of fun and teamwork will be paramount throughout the program," McRae said.
South Cotabato Provincial T'boli Tribal Chieftain Samuel Ajos claimed he is happy such camp will be established in different lumad communities in the country, saying that after mining, life most communities left without alternative means of livelihood remained poor due to total dependence in mining.
Ajos also claimed that the reason many livelihood programs of the Philippine Government failed is that they do not include the sustainability mechanism that will make CBEs in the country work.
Another Canadian resource speaker of the two-day workshop, University of Manitoba International project development officer Cameron Zywina spoke on how local Indigenous groups can get international partners for self reliance through livelihood in developing community-based enterprise.
Zywina said many foreign charitable institutions, NGOs and even foreign government entities are willing to help indigenous people initiatives for self-reliance if they see seriousness, good planning, cooperation and willingness to learn.
Two resource speakers from Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) talked about Overview of the CBEs and Expectation Setting including CBE Development Framework.
They also discussed with the participants Community-based Enterprise Rapid Appraisal Tools, Action Planning, Resource Inventory and Prospecting.
Philippine Business for Social Progress Deputy Executive Director Ramon Derige said corporate social responsibilities of mining and even logging companies operating within ancestral lands do not only mean giving money, donations or provide basketball courts, health clinics, build schools but doing good business practices such as following properly environmental laws.
"A good mining company also acts as an avid advocate for environmental protection, proper waste management in communities and shows good example to the community they are in", Derige told representatives of the mining firms present at the workshop.
Corro Mamanwa Community Organization tribal leaders headed by Tribal Chieftain Rogelio Bebe who attended the two-day workshop thanked the Canadian Embassy for sponsoring the workshop, saying they were enlightened on their role as host community to mining.
Mamanwa tribal leader Bae Susan Curob said that the workshop had opened her eyes and her fellow Mamanwa participants as it clarified their role as community leaders, being host of mining activities.
"Now it is clear to us that there is life in our tribal communities after mining," Curob said.
Corro Mamanwa Community Organization in Sitio Corro, Barangay Colorado , Jabonga, Agusan del Norte is host to Canadian mining firm MRL that is conducting exploration for gold, silver and nickel in two towns of Agusan del Norte, Santigao and Jabonga. (PIA-Caraga) [top]