DSWD, Leyte local execs identify sustainable industries for ‘Yolanda’ survivors

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will continue to extend livelihood assistance to some 90,078 Typhoon ‘Yolanda’-affected families in Leyte under its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

DSWD has allocated more than P547 million for SLP implementation this year.

“The Department will continue to support the economic activities and enterprises of ‘Yolanda’ affected families in Leyte to lift them from poverty,” DSWD Assistant Secretary Camilo Gudmalin said during the ‘Salubungan’, a workshop conducted under the Accelerated and Sustainable Anti–Poverty Program (ASAPP) of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPR) Cluster. The workshop was held in Palo, Leyte recently and organized by the DSWD as head of HDPRC.

Asec. Gudmalin together with Leyte Governor Dominic Petilla, 40 municipal mayors of the province, and 26 heads/representatives of national agencies attended the ASAPP workshop. During the workshop, the local government units identified lead enterprises that have the capacity to employ, while representatives of national government agencies presented their respective poverty–related programs that could be harmonized and synchronized for ASAPP implementation.

The lead enterprises identified to be undertaken along with ASAPP are eco-tourism and agriculture for the municipality of Kananga; chicharon production for Tunga; port development for San Isidro, Calubian, and Tabango; water-refilling, hot spring development, and electricity expansion for Burauen; soft broom and hollowblock-making for Julita; and eco-tourism and peanut production for Dulag.

Asec. Gudmalin also shared that aside from the SLP, DSWD’s Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services – National Community-Driven Development Program (Kalahi-CIDSS), the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Social Pension Program will also contribute to the ASAPP framework to reduce poverty.

Governor Petilla, for his part, shared the provincial government’s interventions, specifically after ‘Yolanda’ hit the region.

“We talked about recovery, rehabilitation, trauma, healing, but one thing we have to fight is poverty caused by the typhoon,” Gov. Petilla said.

He further said that prior to the disaster, Leyte ranked as the 4th biggest producer of rice and the second for coconut, adding that coconut farmers belong to the poorest sector even before ‘Yolanda.’

Gov. Petilla shared that the province received some 63,000 sacks of certified rice seeds from Europe in December 2013, and that rice production has fully recovered.

He further shared that six million coconut trees were damaged by ‘Yolanda’ but the Philippine Coconut Authority is already helping them rebuild the industry.

The local chief executive expressed his optimism that with the local and national government agencies converging their services, the province is on the way to total recovery.