DTI R2 Director Leah Pulido Ocampo’s schedule was jam-packed, 19 May 2022, as she visited two Shared Service Facilities (SSF) on Batan Island to check on their status of operations and consult about their future plans. RD Ocampo’s first stop was at the Dairy Processing Facility—a collaboration project with the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) via the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO), located in Ivana.

RD Ocampo was welcomed by Acting Provincial Veterinarian Aurea P. Viola in the facility and showed her the awarded milking machine, milk pasteurizer, and bottle cap sealer under the SSF program. When RD Ocampo asked how the market for dairy milk in Batanes is, Dr. Viola said that the PLGU will be focusing on its local market first while it is still under study on how to maintain a consistent milk supply from the cows.

She added that this project will be helpful not only to empower the farmers and create job opportunities but also to address the malnutrition in the province. During the conversation, RD Ocampo asked about their future plans, to which Dr. Viola said that they are to transfer three (3) mother cows to the LGU Mahatao as pledged during the two-day demo and training last 28-29 April 2022.

The Provincial Government intends to set up a similar project in the Municipality of Mahatao. Once the project is sustained in the province, they are hopeful of eventually expanding its market and catering to tourists. RD Ocampo assured DTI’s continuous support to the PLGU and looks forward for this project to flourish in the coming years. Next stop, RD Ocampo dropped by at the Fish Processing Facility of Milagrosa Multipurpose Cooperative (MMPC) located in Uyugan.

This SSF project was funded in 2013 in support of the processing of Uyugan’s One Town, One Product (OTOP), the dibang—the local term for flying fish. In the past nine years, Ms. Emily Balderas, President of MMPC, said that the business thrived until the pandemic came. Luckily, this OTOP is not solely dependent on tourist demand.

Since the day-old dibang is also an Ivatan staple, the cooperative somehow managed during the pandemic. RD Ocampo is happy to learn that the cooperative is still driven to provide uniquely Ivatan products to fuel the province’s economy.

Ms. Balderas is optimistic about expanding their business once Batanes opens its doors to tourists. She thanked RD Ocampo and DTI for their support for the cooperative. RD Ocampo and DTI R2 Batanes promised to continuously provide the necessary capacity and training to empower our MSMEs. ♦

Date of Release: 2 June 2022