246 residents in South Cotabato get cash assistance from Sajahatra

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/04 October) — An initial 246 residents in South Cotabato province have benefitted from the cash-for-work program of the national government’s Sajahatra Bangsamoro initiative.

Norhata Benito, head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 12’s risk reduction and management section, said the beneficiaries received cash assistance from the program in exchange for assigned community work.

She said they earlier launched the initiative in several villages in South Cotabato that were included in the expansion areas of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro program.

The recipient-villages included barangays Lampari in Banga town and Sumbakil in Polomolok that have significant Moro populations.

“This is part of the DSWD’s commitments to help our Bangsamoro brothers and sisters gain ground on their path to peace and progress,” Benito said in a statement.

She said the program provides beneficiaries with opportunities to earn and become productive.

It also assists the long-term improvement, protection and empowerment of the beneficiaries’ communities, she said.

Benito said the 246 residents that participated in the program in the province are part of the 11,000 that were covered by the program so far under the Sajahatra Bangsamoro.

Under the program, she said beneficiaries are mobilized to serve for 10 days of paid community work per month in a span of three months.

“The list of beneficiaries involve almost equal number of males and females, allowing fair and equal opportunities to contribute as well as gain from the program,” she said.

The agency has set the wages of the beneficiaries based on an area’s prevailing minimum wage rate.

In Region 12, the prevailing minimum daily wage rate was set at P275 based on a new wage order approved last July by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board.

Also known as Soccsksargen, the region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Sajahatra Bangsamoro’s cash-for-work program is being carried out by the DSWD.

The jobs covered by the program are targeted towards community improvement and protection such as flood prevention, disaster-preparedness, environment protection, and infrastructure reconstruction and rehabilitation as well as food security under the supplemental feeding program.

“The pioneering batches of CFW beneficiaries have already received their wages. To date, approximately one-third of the program’s identified beneficiaries have been mobilized,” Benito said.

The Sajahatra Bangsamoro is the Aquino government’s concrete socioeconomic peace initiative that aims to uplift the health, education, and livelihood conditions in communities that fall within and around the proposed Bangsamoro territory.

Jointly implemented with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the program is the initial dividend of peace following the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. The program is expected to jumpstart the socio-economic component of the normalization process in line with the signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. (MindaNews)