By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
MEYOR Dong is looking for potential projects that could generate jobs for the less-privileged in Mambulao.
Recently, he led a group of Mambulao LGU personnel touring some places in Southern Tagalog in his quest for livelihood activities that could be replicated in Mambulao.
The group, who took the trip under the so-called Lakbay-Aral, ended up looking at a coir-processing facility that manufactures marine ropes out of coconut husks.
And in one recycling plant, they were shown how community/household wastes were being converted into new products such as furniture and fixtures and other commercial stuff.
And notably, another plant showed how rubbish from waterways and creeks could be churned into hollow blocks for building houses and other structures.
Meyor Dong believes that the material recycling project is workable as Mambulao has a lot of rubbish lying around, which could be processed into new products and sold.
As far as the processing equipment and other facilities are concerned, the LGU could work out a bank loan for their acquisition.
The present site of the MRF (material recovery facility) aka open dump site in Larap could accommodate the plant that would produce the recycled rubbish.
On the other hand, the coir rope making project has also its potential if operated in Mambulao.
Being a farming community with coconut as the major crop, there’s an abundant supply of raw materials for the rope-making plant.
Every 45 days, our coconut farmers are harvesting and making copra and a big volume of coconut husks are discarded as wastes. And our farmers have been throwing them away since time immemorial.
It’s about time that this waste is converted into a sustained flow of cash for the community.
Coir rope has big market locally and overseas and the demand comes from the fishing and shipping industries alongside those engaged in making car seats and beds.
And both industries are massive as they are operating in many countries from the US and those in Europe to Japan and China.
These countries are the ones keeping the Southern Tagalog coir rope makers in profitable business, while providing jobs to many who had not acquired college education or employable skills.
Mambulao could share in this good pie through a plant that would process this waste material into money-earners.
The waste recycling and coir rope plants could generate income for the LGU while providing some jobs.
Right now, Mambulao is witnessing a growing army of jobless youth and those who lost theirs long ago, contributing to the law and order concerns of the community.
And the LGU’s technical training and education program -- ala Tesda -- is getting a cold shoulder from many youth who felt that there’s no point for them to take up the technical courses as they could not land a job they need.
That’s why right now, according to some sources, there have been a number of dropouts from the vocational and training courses.
It would be remembered that the LGU would hold the so called jobs fair at least once a year to give the unemployed a second crack at a job.
In such a jobs fair held last year, potential employers came to look for the manpower their companies needed and a number of those who had their skills matched with available jobs were hired on the spot.
But of course, not every one found a job since he/she was not equipped for what was being offered or available.
This was the aim of LGU’s skills training program – to provide the youth the skills which would make them employable.
But it seems this would not be enough to really make a dent in the municipality’s joblessness statistics.
New initiatives should be launched to make this happen.
The Lakbay-Aral gig was a good start to match the potential of Mambulao with possible livelihood projects that have become successful in the coconut kingdoms of Quezon, Laguna and Batangas.
When Meyor Dong decided to scout for potential money-makers his community, he may have already laid out a plan to make this work.
Let’s hope that the needed finances, technology, skill and manpower would come in next to make this one a reality.
Although many families in Mambulao are awash with OFW dollars, and therefore propping up local trade and business, still it could not guarantee for a healthy local economy because there’s an unjustifiable imbalance in the equation, and that is the presence of many jobless Mambulaoans who could only watch the OFW families while they shopped.
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