On August 7, 2020, the DSWD Field Office Caraga, through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), turned over a Bangus Production Project with a one-unit bongo vehicle to the Organization of Fisher Folks of Gata (OFFOG) Inc. at Barangay Gata, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. This activity was attended by DSWD-SLP, DENR, and LGU San Agustin.

Even as the country continues to grapple with the Corona Virus 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga has tripled its efforts in ensuring that quality social services are still delivered efficiently and speedily to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. In view of this commitment, the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) handed over a Bangus Production project to the Organization of Fisher Folks of Gata (OFFOG) Incorporated in Barangay Gata, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur on August 7, 2020.

The said livelihood project, amounting to PHP 900,000, is a result of the partnership between the DSWD-SLP and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). These two agencies have inked a memorandum of agreement on December 14, 2018, with the prime goal of promoting poverty reduction by capacitating and empowering vulnerable communities in the upland and coastal areas while protecting the environment.

In addition, the project also includes a one-unit bongo vehicle to guarantee that the milkfish produce of the association will be delivered and properly marketed to identified and other potential buyers.

According to OFFOG Chairperson Erwin Yngcong, their association has opted for this project because bangus is one of the most merchantable and affordable fish products in the market. They have also requested to include a vehicle because delivering their catch has always been their struggle even before becoming an SLP association.

Sauna maglisod mi og market sa among produkto na isda panahon sa pag-harvest. Mag-abang o mag-arkila pa kami aron masuroy ang isda (Before this project, we would have a difficult time marketing our fish producing during harvest period. We needed to rent a vehicle just to deliver the fish).” Yngcong narrated.

In behalf of the association, Yngcong also uttered a message of gratitude to the DSWD-SLP, DENR, and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of San Agustin for helping them realize this project. “Daghan gyud kaayong salamat sa DSWD-SLP, DENR, ug sa atong local nga pamahalaan sa San Agustin nga natuman ang paghatag ani nga proyekto. Kabalo ko unsa ka malipayon akong mga kaubanon karon sa asosasyon (We express our much appreciation to the DSWD-SLP, DENR, and LGU San Agustin for making this project a reality. I know how happy my co-members in the association are).”

Further, the Local Government Unit (LGU) of San Agustin also committed that they will constantly monitor the association and will provide any assistance that the SLPA might need along the way to make sure that the project will become sustainable.

The turnover activity was graced by San Agustin Mayor Libertad Alameda and Vice Mayor Mamerta Milo. Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Joji Abarca, Municipal Planning Development Coordinator Engr. Gremar Lamela, DSWD, and DENR staff were also present during the activity.#

San Agustin Mayor Libertad O. Alameda (third from L) commits to assist the OFFOG Inc. and help the association in any way that the LGU can.