Sustainable Livelihood Program opens motor parts and vulcanizing shop in an IP community

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 10, through the Sustainable Livelihood Program, strives to reach the marginalized and vulnerable especially the Indigenous People in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA). Purok-Nangka, Barangay Stimson Abordo in Ozamiz City is said to be GIDA and is inhabited by a small community of Subanen tribe members. Marginalized and vulnerable as they are, most of them are beneficiaries of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Indigenous People (MCCT-IP).

Members of Stimson IP Kalambuan SLPA are mostly women from MCCT-IP households.

In 2019, 30 household members of the MCCT-IP in Barangay Stimson Abordo were organized into a livelihood association, Stimson IP Kalambuan SLPA, who opened their motor parts and vulcanizing shop with a simple ceremonial blessing attended by SLP staff and Local Government Unit officials by September 2020.

The shop was blessed by a priest and the ribbon-cutting lead by SLP staff and LGU officials.

Despite the threat of COVID 19, the association members worked in implementing their proposed livelihood project while observing health protocols after receiving their seed capital fund. This is very timely for the association members so as to have a source of income in recovering from income loss during the lockdown. With the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) status of Region 10, this allowed the SLP participants to work on their livelihood project. SLP staff will continue guiding and mentoring the association to ensure sustainability of the micro-enterprise and long-term functionality of the association.

Livelihood projects bring in progress and development especially for IP communities in GIDA places.

We wish the association a prosperous enterprising for many years to come.

Story and photos by Arlyn S. Gania, Project Development Officer II

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The Making of a Father

What does it take to become a father? For most stories, it would start with a man and wife who plan in starting a family together. Then for some becoming a father come off as a surprise or unplanned. Regardless of what circumstance, being a father is about taking responsibility of a child.

Romnick J. Poloy is a 25 years old solo parent Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary from Barangay Palabucan, Libona, Bukidnon. During his teenage years, he unknowingly got his friend pregnant under the influence of alcohol. The child was delivered and abandoned by the mother without his knowledge. A Bantay Bayan volunteer found the baby and was brought to the mother. The Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office called the attention of the families of both parties. The family of the child’s mother would not accept the baby that it was decided by Romnick’s family in welcoming the baby wholeheartedly. Romnick grew up overnight in accepting his role as a hands-on father for his baby.

Romnick with his son who is all grown up.

With the help of skills Training by the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Romnick acquired his NC-I in Automotive in 2016. He was then hired as Maintenance Personnel of General Services Multipurpose Cooperative at the pineapple plantation. He is very grateful of the opportunity received through the help of SLP that enabled him provide the needs of his son.

Romnick earned his Automotive Servicing NC I in 2016 with 1andAll Technical School as the technological-vocational institute partners.

Romnick continued his working following the health protocol such as wearing of facemask and personal protective equipment even during the onset of the health pandemic. According to Romnick, “Wala ra gyapon mi naglisod nakapalit ra ghapon ko og pagkaun og gatas para sa akong anak.” (We did not have a hard time coping because I am still able to provide food and milk for my child.)

Ways forward, Romnick promised a bright future for his son and do all means to uplift their living condition and consider being a solo parent not a hindrance towards progress.

Story and photos contributed by: Mary Nesa C. Mabaylan, Project Development Officer II

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DSWD-10 intensifies assistance through its protective programs

Updates from the Protective Services Division

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 10 provided assistance to vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals through its different protective programs. As of June 16, 2020, 111,070 indigent senior citizens have received their social pension for 1st Semester of 2020. The payout is still on-going across Northern Mindanao.

33 individuals were also served under Recovery and Reintegration Program of Trafficked Persons extending a total amount of P384,522.08 worth of financial assistance. Currently, 190 individuals are still going through assessment and provision of proper assistance necessary for their recovery, such as temporary shelter, skills training, transportation allowance or referral services. DSWD is one of the lead agencies in the implementation of RRPTP in reporting and rehabilitating trafficked individuals. 86 distressed OFWs were also provided with financial assistance amounting a total amount of P342,000.00. With the knowledge that the heath pandemic has left many OFWs unemployed or stranded, DSWD, in coordination with DOLE, have been providing financial assistance especially for livelihood to distressed OFWs so that they will have an alternative source of income.

Nine senior citizens aged 100 years old and above also received their P100,000.00 each from the DSWD Field Office 10. This cash grant is promulgated through RA 10868 or the Centenarians Act.

The Emergency Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) has served a total of 7,471 individuals which amounted to 48,799,251.83 worth of financial assistance. E-AICS have been intensified especially in the onset of the health pandemic. Many families have greatly suffered socio-economically with losses from their jobs or small businesses. The agency continuously provided its assistance to all those seeking financial assistance.

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Kiping on Fire

Poverty is sometimes an inter-generational problem wherein children inherit the condition by birth. This can only be stopped when poor families are combined with positive household attributes such as determination of parents, and external factors such as opportunities made accessible to them.

More than just fate of being born to a poor family, Raquel L. Montalba set out to have a better life for her and her family. Married to Rico Montalba who drives a motorcycle, Raquel sold fried cassava flakes or more known as “kiping” to the locals as a common street food especially in known tourist spots in the island of Camiguin.

The Valmoria Family.

In 2009, opportunity came in the form of Sustainable Livelihood Program were she joined an association to avail an individual loan. Together with the money she saved part of what she earned from selling kiping, Raquel opened a souvenir shop near Katibawasan Falls. The steady flow of visitors to the known tourist spot ensured income for her family especially for her two children who are monitored students under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. They were able to renovate their house from light materials to concrete walling. Life is looking good for the family.

If you would think she would be taking it all easy already, Raquel is still full of ideas in pushing her business to higher heights. She established a Facebook page, Kiping Camiguin, where she posts about her products.

She is currently enrolled at the Department of Trade and Industry “Kapatid Mentor Me” Training Program with modular classes every Friday until end of May. Taking this opportunity to learn from successful entrepreneurs, Raquel believes that she would achieve the same with her kiping. She enthusiastically learns from the training and used her ingenious skills in improving and innovating her kiping. Her first innovation is ready-to-cook kiping flakes that people can bring as souvenir or can be sent to friends in faraway places. She takes pride of this new process as this would mean more people get to experience a piece of the culture that is proudly local.

Ready-to-cook kiping with glaze. Available for delivery or through shipment. Photo by DSWD FO-X.

Things begin to slow down with onset of the COVID-19 health pandemic before officially launching her new innovation. The province was then placed in lockdown in preventing spread of the highly contagious disease. This meant temporary closure of her souvenir shop but a different business opportunity came at hand. For a while, Raquel used her dressmaking skills in making reusable cloth face masks for sale.

Raquel making reusable face masks which she sold for 35.00 pesos. Photo from Raquel’s FB account.

The lockdown has not dampened Raquel’s entrepreneurial spirit. She introduced new innovations such as kiping in different shapes, kiping ice cream cones, and kiping flakes with different flavors. She delivers directly to within island buyers or by shipment to those ordering outside the province. Orders regularly come in despite the on-going community quarantine which is making her busy still. Raquel takes pride on how far she has achieved for her kiping.

Competition does not faze her drive as she relies strongly on her ingenuity and product quality. Raquel’s fiery determination is like Camiguin’s origin, born of fire. She will truly trail-blaze as she keeps moving forward along with her kiping dreams.

Raquel at her souvenir shop and kiping display. She misses being at her store due to the lockdown but is hopeful that she will be back soon.

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How coffee, corn help won peace in Bukidnon

Bukidnon has a long history of internal armed conflict. From tribal wars to insurgents, this lush land of forests and agriculture is scarred with violence. Consequently, one factor contributing to such armed violence is poverty. Government services are not accessible due to factors like road conditions and distance, available resources, such as financial and physical assets, and most importantly, education.

Manobo-Pulangihon people as beneficiaries of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) project with DSWD staff and partner stakeholders.

Depriving poor communities from access to their basic rights make the Indigenous People vulnerable to joining militants. Yet not everything stays the same forever. One barangay in the Municipality of Quezon, Province of Bukidnon is about to experience change and, soon, peace.

Sitio Gamut of Barangay Sta. Filomena is considered the farthest community in Quezon. 24 kilometers from downtown with approximately 400 households, the area is mostly inhabited by the Manobo-Pulangihon tribe people. They are traditional farmers who lack new technology for post-farming activities such as shellers and haulers to augment the market value of their produce like corn and coffee.

Achieving peace through capacity-building of vulnerable communities with income-productive citizenry.

They lack the capital to buy the necessary machinery. Saving money is a luxury they cannot afford to do as they need every cent earned for their daily needs.

With the introduction of a Sustainable Livelihood Program’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (SLP Pamana) project to their community, the locals have reckoned the idea that things are about to change for them. The group of farmers with 30 members has been organized into an SLP Association which adapted the name Barangay Farmers Tribe Group Pamana SLPA.

To aid the association in their farming activities and increase their production rate, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process have provided the association with corn sheller and coffee dehauler.

People working together as a community: coffee dehuller being transported to the association’s center of business operation.

The said project is one of the government’s programs to strengthen peace-building, reconstruction, and development in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas. Notably, it is not only the association who will benefit from the said project but the whole community as well.  

Looking forward to the improvement of their income through the provision of the much-needed service, the members of Barangay Farmers Tribe Group Pamana SLPA likewise hope to achieve peace through productivity and socio-economic growth as they soon harvest their valuable grains of corn and coffee.

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Renewed Hope to Dream

One gets easily discouraged when life offers you limited choices. The future does not seem any better for Rolly P. Oracion as he only completed elementary education finding it difficult to find a stable job for himself. His family makes ends meet by loaning in micro-finance institutions and neighbors which gets paid from the corn harvests. During harder times, they are forced to sell their livestock just so that they can buy food to put on their table. 

An opportunity came knocking on their doorsteps literally on June 2017. It was the last call for enrollees to the Backhoe HEO NCII Skills Training at Brgy. Minsuro, Manolo Fortich, a Sustainable Livelihood Program Employment Facilitation through Skills Training track project. A worker from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) visited Rolly and his wife Gina at their house and offered them a slot to the aforementioned training. Rolly was hesitant at first because he felt too old to be hired and he has not finished his formal schooling. His wife prodded him to grab this opportunity. He shared that there were times he felt quitting from the training but his wife motivated him to finish it. And finished he did with NCII certification.

Mr. Rolly P. Oracion during the Commencement Exercises held last June 24, 2017 at Manolo Fortich Gymnasium, Municipality of Manolo Fortcih, Bukidnon.
(Photo credits to Mr. Earl Ryan Janubas)

With complete requirements, including a valid driver’s license, he was easily hired by private companies and contractors. His job experiences harnessed his skill in operating a backhoe equipment. After finishing project-based jobs, he finally landed in GAMMA Food Inc. on May 2019 as mainstay operator for regularization within the year. There he earned a daily salary of Php457, complete with health and social pension benefits. 

Mr. Rolly P. Oracion showing off his skills in operating a backhoe equipment at his work area.

Rolly is more than optimistic than ever in facing the challenges ahead of him. He is grateful that they were able to pay off their debts that they can finally start saving for their house renovation and buy a motorcycle which he needs to use to and from his work station. There are times he ends up getting soaked in the rain when going home. For now, he is simply beyond grateful to be employed so as not to worry when they would get money to buy for their meals and daily needs as he has a regular salary every 15 days. 

The Oracion Family. Rolly, standing left most, with his children and wife Gina, standing 3rd from left.

The rest of the family are also doing good on their own. Gina is a Pantawid Parent Leader and President of an SLPA in Brgy. Sto. Niño, which was funded recently this November 4, 2019. The group project is cassava production. His eldest son is also a Backhoe NCII holder and is working at Dahilayan Forest Park as Park Attendant. His eldest daughter is enrolled at National Bukidnon Community College taking up B.S. Business Administration, while their youngest child is an enrolled Grade 10 student at Manolo Fortich National High School. They ascertain that the grants they receive from the Pantawid Program as they comply with the conditions. 
The future is better now for Rolly and he can only say these words “Daghan salamat sa DSWD kay natagaan mi ani nga opportunidad.” (Thank you, DSWD, for giving us this kind of opportunity.)

Walay sapayan, Rolly.

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September 2020