Faith Renewed

Growing up we were told to follow authorities, that they knew what was better for us, to entrust them with our lives, and oftentimes we pay them to do this. As children we had teachers and mentors to follow, learn from, and lean on. Upon growing up and getting jobs there were bosses. Not to mention parents and older relatives that looked over us almost all our lives.

And then there’s our government, we indirectly pay them to lead us with our tax. To use it for our gain and development. And oftentimes we find ourselves disappointed. Feeling left out and ignored. Like a child, when their parents ignore them, they try their best to gain their attention, get in trouble and whatnot. A similar story to Roberto Caracol Gaan, he once trusted the government to take care of him and his family. He was content in tending pigs and lands owned by his wealthier relatives. Believed that the poor will be assisted.

With inflation and the increasing poverty rate, Roberto became one of those affected by this. Having to raise and feed his family he knew his current occupation was not enough. Roberto’s wife, Elizabeth, remained at home to raise their two children. But it proved to be difficult for someone earning a mere Php 150 per day under the heat and pouring rain. To budget and ensure their children ate well, he often used salt and soy sauce as his viand. This way of living angered Roberto. Not because he was poor but because he dreamed of giving his children a better life. With nothing and no one to lean on he joined Alsa Masa.

Alsa Masa has an unsure history of being a vigilante group or death squad that originated in Davao City back in the 80’s. But for Roberto this was a sure decision for him in order to sustain his small family and prevent starvation. But it was not long after that he and some of his comrades surrendered to the government once more. The existence of Executive Order 70, he was classified as former rebels, or what Ka Amihan likes to call friends rescued.

Roberto was identified as eligible to receive a livelihood settlement grant from the Sustainable Livelihood Program last December 2020. He used this funding to start his own milling business and eventually ventured in the buy and sell industry of rubber. Unlike before where he worked under the heat of the sun and the pouring rain, he does not have to do that now wherein he does his milling in a shed he built.

Admittedly, not every day seemed like it was easy to get up and start working. It never was. Not when he tended pigs and his relatives’ lands. Not when he joined Alsa Masa and became a rebel. And not even when he was granted and aided by SLP to start his own livelihood. But being his own employer, with perseverance and hard work, and knowing that the government did the right thing by him and his family, he gets up. Everyday. To tend his mill. To earn his keep, feed his family, and even start his own savings.

It is not just Roberto or Elizabeth, or their two children that gained from the livelihood grant. Their community thrived. Knowing that within their area there is someone milling rice for them. Where they would not have to travel some uncemented14-kilometers to the next barangay or sitio to buy rice. Roberto is grateful for the help and aid he has been given, but even more grateful that he is helping his community: selling rice and buying rubber from his neighbors.

Nag papasalamat ako sa ating gobyerno, sa DSWD lalo na sa Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). Dahil sa inyo nabago ang aming pamumuhay, nakapag-patayo ako ng maliit na negosyo dahil sa tulong niyo. Unti-unti ko nang natutupad ang aking pangarap maraming salamat sa inyong walang sawang pag tulong sa aming mahihirap.

Ka Roberto | Livelihood Settlement Grant Beneficiary

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DSWD FO9 Joins Nation In Celebrating 10-Year Anniversary Of SLP With Product Display and Photo Exhibit

What once began as the Self Employment Assistance – Kaunlaran (SEA-K) back in 1993, as one of the main social programs of the government that aimed to provide enough financial assistance to help kick-start the marginalized and poor households to pursue entrepreneurial activity and savings generation. After years of successful run, it was transformed into the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) back in 2011. Program participants were given the choice to choose between the two track-program, Employment Facilitation Track and Microenterprise Development Track.

Ten years have passed, and the program has assisted over 2 million families, brought them out of poverty, allowed the possibility of financial independence, and partnered them up for national and international distribution. Acknowledging the years of success, the ups and downs of establishing one’s own livelihood, this is reflected in one of SLP’s activities dubbed as Likhang Hiraya.

Likhang Hiraya comes from the combination of two Filipino words: Likha which means to create and Hiraya which means out of dreams or vision. At DSWD Field Office 9, Likhang Hiraya was conducted to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the program last August 9-13, 2021 at SM City Mindpro. Featuring the products of one of the most successful SLP Association it has organized, the Tugbungan Ayudahan Livelihood Association (TALA).

Originally composed of 15 members in 2015, mostly of housewives in their neighborhood, much of their founding members have come and go, pursued other livelihood opportunities, hired househusbands, exhibited for national and international displays as well. Their product – hand crafted bags, pouches, and face masks made from batik cloth – has awarded them with a pool of loyal customers that commission the association during events and often buy their products as tokens and souvenirs. With the bright-colored and fascinating patterns of the batik cloth it easily catches the attention of a walking individual – begging them to buy the hanging bag or pouch.

TALA President Estrella Dinampo hopes that the Likhang HIraya Display would encourage those to join SLP and pursue a livelihood that could someday be worthy to be put up for display.

Likhang Hiraya not only aimed to showcase the abilities and skills SLP has honed but to show the faces of Sibol (Solidarity and Innovation in Building Opportunities for Livelihoods), portraying the stories behind the track they chose, their motivations to carry on and to rise after every adversary faced. It hopes to influence the public of the possibilities and opportunities with the program.

The event proved to only be the beginning of a fruitful partnership between the agency and the SM establishment that would help benefit SLP Associations in promoting and retailing their products and produce.

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DSWD SLP Warns Public Against Scammers Promising Livelihood Assistance Grant

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the DSWD has been receiving complains of what they feel could be a scam, and those who are already victims of this modus have approached Project Development Officers (PDOs) of the program demanding to be paid the promised Php 15,000.00 Livelihood Assistance Grant.

Reports of alleged groups and individuals claiming to work with SLP and asking people to pay a processing fee assuring them that they will receive LAG. The amount asked ranges between Php 10.00 to Php 350.00 with reasons ranging from photocopying fee, processing fee, computer fee, or assurance fee. These groups carry with them a copy of the The target of these scammers are areas with little to no knowledge of the program, including some barangays in Zamboanga City such as Rio Hondo, Ayala, Recodo, Balunoh, Sinunuc, Upper Calarian, Mampang, San Roque, Sta. Barbara, Campo Islam, Sta. Catalina, Kasanyangan, Talon-Talon, Tugbungan, and Zambowood.

A meeting was conducted with the head of the alleged group wherein a list containing 1,123 individuals from the above-mentioned barangays are seeking to be given LAG last July 19, 2021. Names on the said list along with their local leaders have been given orientation on the program, the stages, its modalities, the tracks available for the, and requirements for accreditation by July 21, 2021. Currently, the names are undergoing name-matching against the Listahanan Database for eligibility to be part of the program.

SLP warns against the conduct of collecting fees from the public. While the action of referring individuals to the program is encouraged, promising them the assurance of payment should be discontinued. Public are advised to ask for identification from groups and individuals offering them financial assistance and to report to the field office on any suspicious activities.

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DSWD 9 Visits Hospitals To Provide Financial Assistance To C-130 Plane Crash Victims

The Department of Social Welfare and Development visited the survivors of the C130 incident of Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu at Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) and Camp Navarro General Hospital at Western Mindanao Command lasy July 8, 2021.

Present were OIC – Regional Director Atty. Sittie Raifah Pamaloy-Hassan, Assistant Regional Director for Operations Fatima S. Caminan, and Crisis Intervention Unit Chief Sitti Aisa Askalani to personally assess the situation and provide assistance to the victims.

Of the 37 patients, 3 of them are civilian of which 2 are confined at (ZCMC) and the other at Ciudad Medical Zamboanga (CMZ), while 20 of the soldiers are admitted ZCMC, and 14 are admitted at Camp Navarro General Hospital with lesser injuries where one of the patients tested positive for Covid-19 and is now in isolation. Victims confined at ZCMC and CMZ are those with more severe conditions that require special medical attention.

As assistance, the DSWD Crisis Intervention Unit and the Disaster Risk and Management Division provided assistance by giving the 37 patients outright cash assistance amounting to Php 5,000.00 each, hygiene kits, family kits, and sleeping kits to help them during their stay and recovery in Zamboanga City.

One of the patients confined at Camp Navarro General Hospital recalled the last minutes before the incident. The patient explained the events that transpired, the last attempts of the co-pilot, the prayers and goodbyes yelled by his comrades, how they all accepted their fate but were surprised and grateful that some of them woke up alive.

Zamboanga City’s Malasakit Center closely monitors the needs of the patient and updates DSWD personnel on how the agency can further assist and provide the needs of the survivors. Currently, Malasakit Center has been relocated to a temporary office as the original office is currently housing Covid-19 patients.

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop where indigent patients and those who are financially incapacitated can avail of financial and medical assistance from the DSWD, the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

‘Di mo na marinig sigaw ng co-pilot nung di na nagising ang pilot at nahuhulog na kami, malakas yung sigaw ng mga kasama ko nagdadasal, sumisigaw ng ‘I love you ma, pa’, tanggap na naming mamatay na kami sa araw na ‘yun. Gulat nga ako nagising pa ako. Buti na lang nabiak [ang plane] dun kami tumalon.’ A quote from one of the survivors of the incident.

OIC – Regional Director Atty. Sittie Raifah M. Pamaloy-Hassan and Assistant Regional Director for Operations Fatima S. Caminan during the courtesy call with Zamboanga City Medical Center Medical (ZCMC) Center Chief Dr. Afdal Kunting discussing the possibilities of a future documented partnership between DSWD Field Office IX and ZCMC. Followed by visitation to DSWD Malasakit Center temporary office. And visitation to Camp Navarro General Hospital where DSWD personnel conversed with one of the survivors on the events that transpired.

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Friend Rescued To Rescuing Others With Food

Alias Helen from Dimataling, Zamboanga Del Sur with her sari-sari store granted by SLP

In an article submitted to the New York Times back in 1862 when battles were rampant in the U.S it was concluded that the cause of rebellion was not because people of the south wanted to go against their government or to show power against those of the north. It was identified that slavery had been the cause of it – well not directly, it was the only form of bond of union they knew, a means to send a message, it showed strength and support within their group from beginning until the end. The same thing can be said today.

In the Philippines, Executive Order No. 70 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte which seeks to institutionalize the whole of nation approach mandating the creation of a Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC), one of its interventions in ensuring the former rebels (FRs) not return to its ways is the reception of livelihood assistance from the DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program amounting to P20,000.00 each. This intervention hopes to achieve the holistic approach to improve the mental health and overall wellness of these FRs during their rehabilitation.

Down south of the Philippines, 63 FRs surrendered to the 53rd Infantry (MATAPAT) Battalion, majority of them are residents of District 1 and 2 from the province of Zamboanga Del Sur. Prior to receiving grants, all FRs stayed in their barracks inside the Battalion, located in Guipos, Zamboanga Del Sur.

To former rebel Ka Amihan he refers to former rebels as friends recued. This was said in a press conference arranged by the 1002nd Infantry Brigade in Magpet, North Cotabato as he calls out to his fellow former rebels. The FRs in Zamboanga Del Sur underwent the required psycho-social activity by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) and has availed the E-CLIP program of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) amounting to a total of Php 65,000 each in financial assistance.

One of the Friends Rescued, pseudonym Helen, residing in Barangay Kagawasan, Dimataling, Zamboanga Del Sur, married to a construction laborer and blessed with 2 children has been chosen as an SLP beneficiary. Helen stayed most of her time in a farm tending vegetables and root crops as their basic livelihood in the area. There have been times when they have experienced hunger, with no food to eat for her, her husband, and their children. With her husband’s inconsistent status of work, and their meager farm could not sustain both livelihood and food for them having no food to put on their table became a frequent problem.

During the orientation in preparation for the provision of livelihood assistance given by the DSWD-SLP, Helen’s proposed livelihood project was a sari-sari store. On November 18, 2020, she received the grant amounting to Php20,000.00. Initially, she wanted to use the grant to purchase a cow amounting to Php20,000. However she realized that it was difficult for her to earn an immediate income from cow raising especially when compared to their needs. She then decided to start the sari-sari store business as her original proposed project.

In this way, she can cater her neighbors’ basic necessities like canned goods, noodles, biscuits, sugar, and other menial groceries. It allowed her neighbors not to go further to buy groceries and spend extra for transportation to Pagadian City. Where the distance to travel to the two places takes two hours.

As of writing, her business is operational filled with a variety of grocery items. She maintained recordings of her transactions to avoid losses. She can earn around Php300 a day form her store. With her savings, she managed to buy a parcel of land in their area. And has also allocated money for emergency purposes like hospital expenses.

“Dako akong pagpasalamat sa 53rd Infantry Battalion og sa DSWD-SLP nga nagtabang kanamo pagpanginabuhi nga naluwas sa kagutom og kalisod. Daghan salamat sa tanan na gihatag ninyo na ayuda, nakatabang og dako sa amua,” heartily expressed by Helen.

“A big thank you to 53rd Infantry Battalion and to DSWD-SLP for helping us coping up with hunger and poverty. Thank you so much for giving us grants, it really helped us a lot,” heartily expressed by Helen.

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