GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 April) — Poor families in Region 12 that are supported by the national government’s conditional cash transfer program will soon have an opportunity to develop and eventually manage their own businesses and livelihood ventures.
This, as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Trade and Industry in Region 12 agreed to launch a support program focusing on the development of micro enterprises for beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino or 4Ps in the area.
Gemma Rivera, DSWD Region 12 assistant regional director, said Friday the initiative is part of the agency’s efforts to help improve the economic status of the 4Ps beneficiaries, which comprise the region’s “poorest of the poor” households.
She said they are set to sign a memorandum of understanding with DTI 12 for the launching of a series of capability-enhancement and other assistance programs on micro enterprise development for the 4Ps beneficiaries in the region.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato as well as the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Rivera said they are initially planning to launch the program in the municipalities of Malapatan and Maasim in Sarangani Province.
She said the two municipalities, which have around 5,000 4Ps household-beneficiaries, will serve as pilot areas for the program.
“Our beneficiaries will be given technical trainings and other capability-building assistance that will enable them to develop their own small businesses based on their location and available resources,” Rivera said.
Ibrahim Guiamadel, DTI Region 12 director, said the agency will mobilize its four provincial offices in the region for the program’s implementation.
Under the program, he said DTI will initially work on the enhancement of the knowledge of DSWD’s project development officers, specifically on product and business development.
He said they will later tap the DSWD’s project development personnel to spearhead the program’s pool of trainers.
Guiamadel said the agency will conduct trainings on product packaging, labeling and processes involved in availing a Food and Drug Administration certification for those who would want to engage in food production.
Aside from supporting the program, the official said they offered their assistance to DSWD in their ongoing community-driven enterprise development trainings by providing input on the processes involved in business registration.
4Ps is a poverty reduction and social development strategy of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to “poorest of the poor” households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly of children aged 0-14 years.
The program provides beneficiaries cash grants of P500 a month for health and nutrition expenses and P300 a month per child for educational expenses. A household with three qualified children could get P1,400 monthly.
In Region 12, the DSWD said the program presently covers a total of 202,851 “poorest of the poor” households.
Its beneficiaries in the area include families of members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)