MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has recommended that poor families avail of the agency’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) even if they are not beneficiaries of the government's flagship anti-poverty program, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said that non-4P members who are part of their “listahanan” or database of poor households may enroll in the program that provides vocational training and funds for those interested in setting up their own businesses.
“As a community-based capacity building program, the SLP seeks to increase the economic opportunities of Filipinos through the Community-Driven Enterprise Development Approach. We want the SLP to equip poor Filipinos so they can actively contribute to production and labor markets by looking at available resources and accessible markets,” Taguiwalo explained.
The SLP seeks to help lift households out of poverty by helping them develop micro-enterprises or providing assistance for them to access employment opportunities. These types of assistance are in the form of:
Lower self-rated poverty
Based on the recent survey released by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), 42% or 9.2 million families rated themselves as poor. The same survey also revealed that 30% or 6.7 million eat “poor food”. Taguiwalo noted that these data are “record-low”.
Out of the 4 million 4Ps beneficiaries, over 1.5 million families have already crossed over the poverty threshold.
Despite these gains, Taguiwalo said there is still a lot to be done in curbing the long-running problem.
For National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) chief Liza Maza, this momentum must be sustained by addressing the structural problems of the economy that is the root of poverty.
“I think it's high time that we unleash the productive sectors of our economy, which is agriculture and manufacturing. It's high time that we focus on the issue of poverty because it is also connected with drugs,” she said in a mix of English and Filipino.
In the last 100 days, President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration focused on going after illegal drug peddlers in the country with his war against drugs.
Vice President Leni Robredo, on the other, hand stressed that poverty is the “bigger war” the Philippines should be fighting.
“Poverty is a larger war that needs our focus and attention. It claims lives of pregnant women who do not have access to proper health care. It causes irreversible stunting in the first 1,000 days of children, forcing them to suffer for the rest of their lives,” she said on Monday, during her office’s anti-poverty summit. – Rappler.com