Sec. Soliman to assess socio-econ projects in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 Jan) – Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman will visit several parts of Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao this weekend to assess the continuing implementation of the national government’s flagship socio-economic programs in the region.

Dir. Bai Zorahayda Taha, of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Region 12, said Thursday Soliman’s two-day swing in the region will mainly showcase the successful implementation of the agency’s convergence programs, which mainly helped deliver various basic services to remote and impoverished areas during the past several years.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“The secretary will lead a roadshow of our convergence programs, meet the direct beneficiaries and renew partnerships with local government officials and other stakeholders,” Taha said.

She said Soliman is scheduled to arrive Friday to promote the convergence of the agency’s three core programs in the coastal town of Maasim in Sarangani province.

The programs being implemented in the area are the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), and the Self-Employment Assistance–Kaunlaran (SEA-K), she said.

Taha said the initiatives were earlier identified by the national government and the DSWD as the “three legs of convergence for poverty reduction.”

The Kalahi-CIDSS was launched in the area in 2001 as a strategy of the national government to help reduce poverty incidence in the countryside.

Under the KALAHI-CIDSS, which is supported by the World Bank, the DSWD has so far implemented some 5,326 socio-economic projects worth P5.344 billion for some 1.197 million beneficiaries in the country.

Under the SEA-K Program, the agency helped put up 662 small ventures that eventually supported some 12,942 families throughout the country.

A total of P63.369 million had been released as seed capital for livelihood projects as part of the SEA-K program.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, which was started in 2008, is a conditional cash transfer scheme that provides financial assistance to the country’s poorest of the poor.

The program provides beneficiaries cash grants of P500 a month for health and nutrition expenses and P300 a month per child for educational expenses. A household with three qualified children could get P1,400 monthly.

Under the approved 2011 budget, Taha said in a press statement that the national government has allocated some 21 billion for the 4Ps program.

“Now that the P21-billion budget has been approved, we’re targeting to increase the number of households that would benefit from conditional cash transfer,” said Taha, who is also the 4Ps’ regional project manager.

Monera Lidasan, 4Ps program’s coordinator for Region 12, said the program has already supported some 36,661 individuals in the region. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)