Solid Earth, Parish, MGB-7 Collaborate
An environmental livelihood initiative of a hinterland parish and a mining company backed by the government’s regulatory agency for mining has now provided a steady livelihood for at least 38 residents since it started early this year.
They have been producing Mzuri beads from used magazines, candles from used cooking oil, specialty paper and paper charcoal from waste paper, vermi compost fertilizer from scrap food and dried plant materials with the aid of vermi worms.
The beneficiaries who have formed San Agustin de Hippo Environmental Stewards will also soon produce ropes from used plastic, disclosed Mitzie Almira I. Carin, division manager for human resources and administration of Solid Earth Development Corp. (SEDC).
SEDC collaborated with St. Augustine de Hippo Parish in Magsico, San Fernando in realizing the environmental livelihood program that earned the support of the Mining and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in the region.
They pursued the project to develop integral sustainable solutions through conservation trade-off approach that can benefit both the people and the environment.
“That was why we opted to provide Magsico parishioners the means to gain additional income, and linked them with the business sector for social and economic development support,” said Carin.
“We wanted to enhance their knowledge and entrepreneurial skills on different livelihood programs that promote and apply in essence (Republic Act) 9003, the Solid Waste Management Act (of 2000),” she added.
She noted how noteworthy it has been that technologies have been developed to manage different wastes and converted these as means for livelihood, adding that “we get to respond to the call towards environmental stewardship.”
The beneficiaries come from barangays Magsico, Basak, Bugho, Cabatbatan and Tabionan that are covered by the local parish under Fr. Murphy Sarsonas, also chair of the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Environmental Concerns (CACEC).
The initiative started last Jan. 27 when the community relations team of SEDC, backed by the company’s safety, health and environment department, organized a Basura Workshop at Magsico National High School.
Students of the school, some parishioners, various Magsico purok members and barangay officials led by chieftain Johnny Arriesgado appreciated the essence of RA 9003 from Eng’r. Ivanlee Montejo of the Environmental Management Bureau.
The activity grouped the participants by 10 to gain insights about the eco-products that they now have been producing after a training that followed from Feb. 9 to March 15 by CACEC member Engr. IreneDoños with Fr. Sarsonas.
The workshop ended with 38 beneficiaries completing the series, and whose first produce were showcased six days after during the blessing and inauguration of the SEDC-St Augustine EcoPilgrimage Park.
The group elected Evita Datanagan as president with Ester Villamera as vice president; Marie Carmel Genilla, secretary; Celestina Berdon, treasurer; Necifora Maneja, auditor; and Rulie Villamor and Graciano Manugas, sergeant-at-arms.
It has since been meeting once a month to discuss the progress of production and sales, as well as continued marketing and networking, shared Berdon, also a barangay organizer who assists SEDC monitor and assess community projects.