Clay and June Rojo have been journeying to fulfill their mission — to be a part of a national vision to establish at least one Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) community in every province in the country. They are particularly focusing to equip a group of students from the Central Mindanao University (CMU). This university serves as a major hub for advanced education in Mindanao because of its excellent academic standing. CMU attracts many of the best minds from Mindanao and from the rest of the Philippines.
Two years ago, we started building a simple structure that would house their mission. This became the hub of an inclusive development initiative that would sustain the PAR movement in Eastern Mindanao.
PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), CFP’s inclusive development training partner, approached the Bukidnon office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to work with us in setting up a Shared Service Facility in this building. This SSF project would serve the coffee industry cluster of the province specifically the small farmers being served by PBCI. After going through DTI’s qualification process, PBCI signed a Memorandum of Agreement with DTI in 28 August 2014. With DTI’s input of PhP3.83M worth of machinery and equipment, this project is expected to generate a total investment of PhP14.6M, including PBCI’s counterpart in ancillary facilities (estimated at PhP8.5M) and operating costs (estimated at PhP2.27M).
Last 09-10 May 2019, DTI representatives came to evaluate the operations of this project. The assessment team sent by DTI expressed satisfaction based on their criteria.
“They checked if the SSF equipment are in good condition and if we are truly using it based on the Memorandum of Agreement,” reports June Rojo. “They have no problems with the record books. They found all the machines to be functional and in a secured place. Except for the insurance policy,” June added, “we were found to have complied with all the DTI requirements.”
There will be a more general assessment and further evaluation this coming 23-24 May 2019. They will gather all the recipients of DTI-SSF program in the Province of Bukidnon.
“During the discussions,” Clay said, “I suggested if they could consider this place as a venue for meeting and trainings. This would generate income for PBCI and for our PAR leadership development among the CMU students.”
Both Clay and June envisions to reach a wider audience to reach out to and to help in their holistic and inclusive development.
Clay and June also want to model how to be good stewards of projects like this. They are working hard to complete the finishing touches of the building. For this year, they aim on making the whole post-harvest processing and packaging to be Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accredited.
According to the business plan, if all factors such as FDA accreditation are secured, this project is estimated to produce an annual volume of 64,000 kilos and average sales of PhP8.96M per year for green beans. For roasted beans, an annual sales of PhP51.2M could be expected. This endeavor would also generate a total of 959 direct and indirect employment.
With the effort being exerted by Clay and June Rojo — energized by their love for God, love for the people, and love for the creation — we at CFP are confident that they are able to fulfill their mission.
“Being one of the recipients,” June writes in her report, “is always a victory. Our reality is much exciting than our dreams.”