March 5, 2024

ITOGON, Benguet – Small scale miners here who were displaced by the order that halted mining activities in the Cordillera have undergone training on jewelry making for them to have other sources of livelihood.
The Pilak Silvercraft and Gift Shoppe, through the initiative of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-Baguio-Benguet, provided the training to members of the Emerald Small Scale Miners Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ESSMMPC).
“The memorandum of agreement signing between ESSMMPC and Pilak Silvercraft and Gift Shoppe was forged for the initial training of 20 beneficiaries in jewelry making,” said Tesda Provincial Director Vilma Cab-rera.
The first batch is composed of 15 males and five females. The training ran from Feb. 28 to March 5.
ESSMMPC president Leoncio Na-oy proposed the training to enable coop members to process the silver they have mined and establish another source of income.
 Pilak Silvercraft and Gift Shoppe Manager Rommel Marcelo assured Tesda that his company will employ trainees who could meet the company’s expectations and standards.
As provided for in the MOA, ESSMMPC was in charge of identifying trainees through the community training employment coordinators and provided meals and venue during the training.
Pilak Silvercraft and Gift Shoppe provided the skills in jewelry making and provided additional tools/equipment needed in the training. 
Tesda supervised the training and provided P10,000 honorarium for the trainer.
The trainees are among those affected when Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu ordered a halt on small scale mining in 2018.
In line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to implement a sustainable livelihood program for the displaced miners, Tesda collaborated with the local government units, other government agencies, and private companies to implement the Bangon Itogon program. 
Tesda allocated a P3 million scholarship fund to train 279 individuals, from which 268 graduated.
The funds covered the training costs, assessment fees, and P160 daily allowance of the trainees.  – TESDA release