Gov’t earmarks P101M for anti-poverty projects in R12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 March) – The national government is rolling out some P101 million worth of additional socio-economic projects this year in various parts of Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao as part of its continuing anti-poverty initiatives in the area.

Bai Zorahayda Taha, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Region 12 director, said the funds would mainly be used for the implementation of priority community-based projects in 254 villages in the region that has been chosen as beneficiaries of the government’s anti-poverty convergence programs, which include the flagship Kalahi-CIDSS.

“These are largely small, community-based projects that were chosen and directly implemented by the beneficiaries themselves to help address some of the most basic needs,” she said.

Kalahi-CIDSS stands for Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, a World Bank-assisted poverty alleviation project implemented since 2003 by the DSWD.

Kalahi-CIDSS and its complementary initiatives – Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps and the SEA-K livelihood program – form part the national government’s anti-poverty “convergence strategy.”

In Region 12, the program so far implemented some P333.9 million worth of socio-economic projects that benefited some 189,160 households or roughly 1.1 million individuals in 13 impoverished municipalities of the region’s four provinces.

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

Taha said the region’s program allocation for this year is on top of the required 30 percent counterpart from the municipalities that are covered by the program.

She said the provincial government of Sarangani has initially released some P3.3 million as counterpart to the poverty alleviation projects that are set for implementation in the municipalities of Maasim and Maitum.

The local government’s counterpart comprises 70 percent of the mandated 30 percent counterpart funds from the two municipalities to the Kalahi-CIDSS, she said.

Taha said the DSWD has allocated a grant of P7.2 million for the implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS projects in 16 villages in Maasim while Maitum town is getting some P8.550 million for its 19 villages.

She said aside from Maasim and Maitum, the towns of Kiamba and Malungon in Sarangani are also covered by Kalahi-CIDSS continuing projects.

Meantime, Gemma Rivera, Kalahi-CIDSS regional program manager, said they are also set to launch this year the implementation of the DSWD’s Makamasang Tugon program in Malungon town in Sarangani.

The Makamasang Tugon program mainly seeks to enable local governments that benefited from Kalahi-CIDSS to harmonize the program’s approach into the local planning process.

Rivera said the local government of Malungon earlier signed up to take part in the program and mainstream Kalahi-CIDSS’ “principles of participation, transparency, and accountability in local governance.”

She said Malungon town was chosen for the pilot testing of the Makamasang Tugon program because of the successful implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS initiatives in the area since 2004.

Under the program, she said Malungon is slated to receive a grant of P15.5 million starting April from Kalahi-CIDSS and raise a counterpart fund of P4.5 million.

Aside from Malungon, Rivera said they are pushing for the inclusion of Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat and Libungan in North Cotabato as pilot areas for the implementation of the Makamasang Tugon program in the region. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)