Zambo ‘bakwits’ receive P9.7M livelihood assistance from DSWD

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 25 June) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released P9.7 million to 42 Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) associations comprising of internally displaced persons (IDPs) or “bakwits” in this city.

The SEA-K is a capability building program of the DSWD and local government units (LGUs) which aims to enhance the socio-economic skills of poor families through the organization of community-based associations for entrepreneurial development.

Zenaida Arevalo, DSWD regional director, said Wednesday the financial assistance was released last Friday after the “bakwits” have completed a six-month Community Driven Enterprise Development (CDED) process wherein they were trained on financial literacy, time management and basic budget management during social preparation and capability building training phases.

She said each of them received P10,000 financial assistance, which is payable in one year with zero interest. The financial assistance is to be used to jumpstart livelihood programs to enable the IDPs to earn a living.

She said the 42 SEA-K associations they have organized from the different transitory sites and home-based have a total of 970 IDP members.

Arevalo said 30 of the 42 SEA-K beneficiary-associations comprise of IDPs who are presently housed in the different transitory sites while the remaining 10 groups are home-based IDPs.

The transitory sites serve as temporarily shelters for families displaced by the September 2013 siege while the home-based IDPs are those who sought refuge with their relatives.

The siege started after Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members loyal to founding chair Nur Misuari invaded some coastal villages in the city.

Arevalo said SEA-K associations in the transitory sites are as follows: Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc. (PTSI) transitory site in Barangay Upper Calarian, 3; Rio Hondo transitory site, 8; Tulungatung transitory site, 9; and Taluksangay transitory site, 10.

The 12 home-based IDPs are from the barangays of Rio Hondo, Mariki, Sta. Barbara and Sta. Catalina.

Arevalo advised the IDP beneficiaries to be responsible enough in managing the livelihood undertaking they have chosen “as this can be replicated for the rest of the IDPs who also intend to avail of the same assistance.”