By Donabel Norei Magsino

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been with the internally displaced persons (IDPs) since day one. The agency may be likened to a life support system during the height of the chaosThey provided food packs, hygiene kits, and kitchen wares to the affected families—ensuring that the IDPs’ needs are being met after they fled the firefight between the government troops and Maute Group.

File photo of relief packs from DSWD (Photo by: PIA-ICCC)

Camp managers were also assigned to safeguard the welfare of the IDPs and monitor the continuous distribution of relief assistance in evacuation centers for more than a year now; ergo, a deep association has been made between DSWD and relief goods.

On the 6th of July 2018, DSWD has shown another important facet of its “Maagap at Mapagkalingang Serbisyo” to the people of Marawi. Complementing its untiring dole out of relief goods, the DSWD proved that it highly recognizes the significance of providing a sustainable and long-term source of income for the IDPs.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the DSWD was launched in Marawi City in an aim to revive their livelihood that has been inevitably affected by the siege.

P10,000 seed capital were each given to 323 IDPs residing in Sarimanok Tent City, a temporary resettlement site in Marawi.

Over 300 IDPs from Sarimanok Tent City gathered together to witness the launch of DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program-Marawi. (Photo by: Jason Casas/PIA ICCC)

“Napansin ninyo na dati ‘pag nakita natin ang DSWD, ang nasa isip natin ay food packs. Pero ngayon, hindi lang food packs. Pinapakita nila na tuluy-tuloy ang tulong nila. Ang hahanapin lang ng DSWD at Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) mula sa inyo ay ang sipag, dedication, at pagtutulungan ninyo,” TFBM Field Office Manager Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr. said.

[You may notice that back then, when we see DSWD, we think of food packs right away. Now, it’s not just food packs. They’ve shown that their assistance is steadfast. What DSWD and TFBM would require of you is just your hard work, dedication, and cooperation with one another.]

Sustainable Livelihood Program

DSWD’s community-based Sustainable Livelihood Program, implemented nationwide, aims to capacitate the vulnerable sector and improve their socio-economic condition.

SLP has two tracks: the (1) Micro-enterprise Development Track and (2) Employment Facilitation Track.

Success stories of former SLP beneficiaries are displayed in a small booth to inspire the new program participants from Marawi. (Photo by: John Paul Soriano/PIA-ICCC)

According to DSWD, its SLP served a total of 134,923 households all over the country in 2017. Budget allocated for 2018 nationwide SLP projects is P5,060,000,000.

Program participants are identified through the Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction—an information management system that pinpoints who and where the poor are in the country.

In the case of the victims of Marawi siege, new guidelines and considerations have been set by the DSWD.

“These individuals are from the siege. Kung ‘di natin sila tutulungan mahihirapan silang makatayo. As part of the recovery process, kailangan talaga nila ng livelihood. Lahat ng IDPs ng Marawi, they are target participants, including the home-based. Actually, we conducted assessment sa resettled communities natin,” Jonathan Mandi of DSWD-XII said.

[These individuals are from the siege. If we won’t help them, getting back to their feet again would be challenging. As part of the recovery process, they really need livelihood. All IDPs of Marawi are target participants, including the home-based. Actually, we conducted assessment in some resettled communities.]

P3.23M has been allocated for the SLP beneficiaries from Sarimanok Tent City.

An IDP from Sarimanok Tent City joyfully receives the P10,000-seed capital from DSWD. (Photo by: Jason Casas/PIA-ICCC)

Based on the livelihood assessment conducted by the project development officers prior to the distribution of capital, SLP’s Micro-enterprise Development Track would be a perfect fit for this batch of IDPs. They would utilize the assistance in setting up community and sari-sari stores, fish vending, rice retailing, dress making, and baking Maranao delicacies.

Inobae Anawal, a SLP beneficiary expressed, “Nagpapasalamat kami kasi hindi nila kami kinakalimutan. Sa mga nangyari sa amin, alam namin na malungkot sila para sa amin. Maraming salamat po sa kanila. Kung walang tumulong sa amin, talagang hindi kami makakabangon.”

[We want to thank them because they never forgot about us. Given all that we’ve been through, we know that they sympathize with us. If no one helped us, we will never be able to rise up again.]

DSWD has high hopes that more IDPs will benefit from the SLP in the coming days and that this intervention would help fuel economic activity as the city’s rehabilitation progresses. (DNMagsino/PIA-ICCC)