GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/10 July) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is set to expand by next year the implementation of the national government’s anti-poverty program Kalahi-CIDSS to at least two more impoverished municipalities in Sultan Kudarat province.
Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD Region 12 director, said the municipalities of Palimbang and Lambayong were chosen as the program’s newest beneficiaries during the municipality selection process for Regions 11 and 12 held last week in Davao City.
The two municipalities were chosen as among the four expansion areas within the two regions for next year out of the 17 towns that joined the selection process.
“The residents and officials of these two towns have long been waiting for this and I think it’s about time that they also benefit from the program,” Taha said.
Kalahi-CIDSS stands for Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, a poverty alleviation project implemented since 2003 by the DSWD.
The program, which had been recognized by the World Bank as one of the best ongoing poverty reduction initiatives in the world, is a community-driven undertaking that aims to “enhance community involvement in efforts to reduce poverty.”
“It aims to boost the decision-making power of local communities, strengthen their involvement in local development planning and obilize local government units and community resources to implement community projects that reduce poverty,” a program briefer said.
Gemma Rivera, DSWD Region 12 assistant regional director, said they have so far implemented some P333.9 million worth of socio-economic projects in Region 12 under the Kalahi-CIDSS.
She said the projects 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.
Since its implementation in 2003, Rivera said the program has helped build roads, bridges, schools, water systems, post-harvest facilities, health clinics, among others.
“These projects demonstrate empowerment, improved local governance and immediate progress to communities and the beneficiaries. Eight years later, it remained focused on improving the lives of our poorest sectors and in connecting our rural areas to various basic services,” Rivera said.
In a press statement, Elda Montera, executive director of the Associated Resources for Management and Development, Inc. (ARMDEV), said the municipal selection process was done as the program could only accommodate a limited number of area beneficiaries.
But she assured the selection was made in a fair and transparent manner and other towns that did not made to the list will have a chance to be chosen in the near future.
The selection process and program orientation was graced by Horace McCormack, president and chief executive officer of the HGM Management and Technologies, Inc. and Marivic Anonuevo, managing director and chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Account-Philippines.
HGM and ARMDEV had been commissioned by the DSWD to lead the information and education campaign for the KALAHI-CIDSS project, which is currently funded by the United States government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)