By Lou Ellen L. Antonio
 
MARAWI CITY, Apr. 6 (PIA) — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has resumed its distribution of sari-sari store starter kits for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of the city while observing precautionary measures against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
 
Ensuring that the guidelines of the enhanced community quarantine are followed, DTI has coordinated with the Marawi city government and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) in its pursuit to continue its operations to fulfill the needs of the IDPs through livelihood.
 

Beneficiaries of the Department of Trade and Industry’s distribution of sari-sari store starter kits observe social distancing while falling a line. (Photo by Department of Trade and Industry)

 
“The primary goal of DTI is to help our IDPs. However, there are certain guidelines that we have to follow like the social distancing,” said Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman of DTI’s Office of Special Concerns and Trade Promotions Group.
 
Instead of targeting 500 IDPs in a day, DTI has reduced the distribution to 50 IDPs in Marawi City – 25 in the morning and another 25 in the afternoon.
 
“We are also distributing the business livelihood kits in Iligan City for our home-based IDPs with a maximum of 30 IDPs per day,” Macatoman added.
 
Aside from the social distancing, a foot bath is set up on the entrance of the area of distribution. There is also a hand sanitizer and infrared thermometer that would determine the temperature of all IDPs entering the premises.
 

Asmerah Basher from Barangay Daguduban, Marawi City expresses her gratitude to the Department of Trade and Industry and Task Force Bangon Marawi as she receives the sari-sari store starter kit.

 
Recipients of the livelihood kits expressed appreciation to DTI for continuing the distribution amid the COVID-19 crisis.
 
“Maraming salamat dahil tinugunan niyo ang mga pangangailangan ng IDPs; nagbigay kayo ng tulong sa IDPs sa gitna ng kahirapan ngayon,” said Asmerah Basher from Barangay Daguduban, Marawi City.
 
[Thank you for responding to the needs of the IDPs, for giving aid to the IDPs amid this hardship.]
 
As of March 12, 2020, before the COVID-19 outbreak, DTI has distributed 2,116 starter kits. Out of the 50,000 kits target, 36,421 (72%) various livelihood starter kits were already distributed.
 
Following the strict implementation of social distancing, some 193 sari-sari store starter kits have been distributed since March 30, 2020
 
The beneficiaries of the starter kits are based on the Kathanor database (profiling spearheaded by TFBM) and DTI’s database. DTI will send a confirmation message to each beneficiary about the schedule of distribution.
 
DTI is the lead agency of TFBM’s Subcommittee on Business and Livelihood. (LELA/ PIA ICIC)