DSWD-12 releases P26 million in livelihood assistance

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 Oct) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released P26-million worth of livelihood assistance in the last two weeks to poor families in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-Region 12 director, said Wednesday the grants were directly received by some 3,842 beneficiaries from parts of the region who qualified for the livelihood assistance component of the Social Amelioration Program’s recovery phase.

He said the recipients, who were properly validated by the agency, were from Maasim town in Sarangani, Aleosan and M’lang in North Cotabato, and Bagumbayan and Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat.

They received seed capital of not more than P15,000 each as startup fund for their approved micro business ventures, he said.

Espejo said majority of the beneficiaries are low-income families whose primary sources of income were affected by the pandemic.

He said these include market and street vendors, jeepney drivers, rural workers like fisherfolk and farmers and self-employed individuals or those working in family workshops.

“This intervention is intended to improve their socio-economic well-being as we continue to face this crisis,” he said in a statement.

One of the recipients, 40-year-old Penos Senaida of M’lang said the release of the assistance was just timely as her family’s savings from their small business already dried up due to the community quarantine restrictions.

Senaida, who received a fund assistance of P7,388, said she will use it to resume their sweet potato cube vending business at the town’s public market.

“We are grateful to the government for supporting us. We really need money right now to support our daily needs,” she said.

Espejo said the distribution of the grants is ongoing in other areas in Soccsksargen in coordination with the local government units.

DSWD central office had approved a funding of around P45.1 million for the livelihood grants of a total of 6,988 qualified recipients within the region’s four provinces and five cities.

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

The financial assistance was based on the Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of Emergency Subsidy Program of DSWD, an intervention set in Republic Act 11649 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 25.

The law was meant to ease the effects of enhanced community quarantine measures as part of hardline measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. (MindaNews)