Cattle raising and dairy milk production in Matalam, North Cotabato. (Photo by IS / DSWD)

KORONADAL CITY —  The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office XII (DSWD FO XII) has poured more than P25 million to finance livelihood projects of families affected by the global health crisis in the region.

The funding, under the DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), benefited 1,572 qualified individuals, DSWD-12 regional director Cezario Joel Espejo said, citing latest data.

Described the funding as a “seed capital fund”, Dir. Espejo said the money were used by the beneficiaries as start-up business to improve their socio and economic well-being.

“The agency will continue to support economic activities that will help change the lives of our beneficiaries going through tough times,” Espejo said, adding the majority of the recipients are members of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Ramla Balah, 39, president of Chico group, one of the associations covered by the project in the village of Natutungan, Matalam, North Cotabato, said their community dream before was to start modest dairy production ventures with one or two milking cows.

“It’s a big help to us. Majority in the town have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. We thank the government for helping us,” Balah said whose association has 30 members.

Edgar Guerra, SLP regional program coordinator, said the project in Natutungan was initiative of residents for health and local food security.

“We hope our intervention will contribute to local dairy industry development as well boost the nutritional status of children,” he said.

A flagship program that aims to lessen poverty and inequality by generating employment among poor households, the SLP is implemented through micro-enterprise development that provides participants with access to funds and training to set up their own micro-enterprise and employment facilitation, another scheme that provides employable individuals access to locally available jobs through public-private partnerships.

Last year, the agency, recognized by World Bank for leading the provision of opportunities for income-generating activities and livelihood development, has utilized P74.2 million for several livelihood measures covering 4,837 family-beneficiaries. (JBM / DSWD)