SouthCot to expand livelihood program

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 28 Nov) – The provincial government of South Cotabato is set to expand next year the implementation of flagship livelihood program Self-Employment Assistance Kaunlaran (SEA-K) in various marginalized communities in the area.

Romel Salanio, SEA-K program provincial coordinator, said they will roll out the program’s expansion starting January next year by offering additional loans for micro and small livelihood ventures and projects.

He said they will utilize the funds that have been collected from the current beneficiaries to support the new proposed ventures.

Since July last year, he said they already collected a total of P621,362 in loan repayments from the borrowers.

Salanio said their collectibles under the loan program currently stand at around P13 million and involve 330 individuals.

Under the program, members of SEA-K associations may borrow up to a maximum P15,000 to finance their small business ventures.

The loans are payable in monthly installments or repayments within a two-year period at zero interest.

The SEA-K program, which is supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, mainly aims to enhance the socio-economic status of poor families in marginalized communities in partnership with local government units.

The initiative involves organizing prospective beneficiaries into community-based associations and the training of their members on various entrepreneurial skills.

“Through our sustainable livelihood interventions, we will be able to help improve their wellbeing. So that when they are no longer receiving grants from SEA-K program, they will be able to continue to provide for the needs of their families,” Salanio said in a statement.

He said they have conducted a series of activities that delivered effective knowledge and skills to the beneficiaries as well as proper strategies and ways of using their grants and in turning them into profitable businesses or livelihood projects.

Salanio said they also implemented case conferences, meetings, orientations, livelihood forums, monitoring, validation, capability building, and livelihood and business management trainings.
Since 2011, the provincial government, through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, has already released a total of P16.85 million in financial grants under the program.

The grants benefited 142 SEA-K associations within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

The municipality of Banga received around P3.5 million, followed by Polomolok with P2.3 million, Tupi with P1.9 million, Tampakan and Koronadal City with P1.5 million, T’boli with P1.4 million, Lake Sebu with P1.3 million, Surallah with P1.02 million, Norala with P829,000 and Sto. Niño with P475,000.