Mayor Josie Bonifacio of Cortes, Surigao del Sur (3rd person from L) hands the livelihood assistance to a beneficiary. Mayor Bonifacio is joined by Surigao del Sur District I Provincial Coordinator Bryan Bucong (1st person from L), SLP Special Projects Focal Rodel Crizaldo (2nd person from L) and Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Josien Estanio (1st person from R).

In its persistent efforts to help the recovery of families whose livelihoods have been severely affected by the pandemic, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga has distributed Livelihood Assistance Grants (LAG) to 7,353 families in the Caraga Region or a total of Php 89,909,500 in 2021.

LAG, a recovery program primarily led by the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program, is one of the rehabilitation schemes under the Social Amelioration Program of the national government that aims to extend cash assistance to families in the informal sector whose livelihoods or sources of income have been disrupted or affected due to the imposition of the community quarantine.

Families identified eligible to receive the assistance are entitled to receive a maximum of Php 15,000 depending on the livelihood project they propose to establish.

A special disbursing officer from DSWD hands over the payroll to be signed by the beneficiary before the release of the livelihood assistance grant in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

With regards to the identification and prioritization of areas, cities and municipalities with the most affected families have been considered by DSWD-SLP to ensure fair distribution of livelihood aid. Below is the breakdown of the number of families who have received the assistance with the corresponding amount disbursed per province:

Agusan del Norte – 1,860 families (Php 15,565,000)

Agusan del Sur – 1,395 families (Php 19,600,000)

Surigao del Norte – 1,111 families (Php 15,525,000)

Surigao del Sur – 2,568 families (Php 33,219,500)

Province of Dinagat Islands – 419 families (Php 6,000,000)

Prior to the distribution of the livelihood aid, a series of validations have been conducted by the DSWD-SLP together with the local government units (LGUs) to ensure that the recipients have met the eligibility requirements. Recipients were also asked to prepare a project proposal which was reviewed by the DSWD-SLP and LGUs to make sure that these projects are feasible and effective in their recuperation process.

Recipients of the Livelihood Assistance Grant line up as they wait for their turn during the release of grants in Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte.

Marlon Lamela, a refreshment vendor from San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, shared his gratitude to the national government for initiating such a program that would help them recover from the crisis brought by the pandemic.

“Sa pagpapatupad ng community quarantine noong 2020, lubha kaming naapektuhan lalo na ang aking negosyo na pagbebenta ng merienda. Natigil ang klase, kaya nawalan din ako ng mga customers. Kaya malaki ang aking pasasalamat sa tulong na inabot ng gobyerno (The implementation of the community quarantine in 2020 has severely affected us, particularly my small refreshment business.  When classes were suspended, I also lost my customers. This is why I’m very thankful to the national government for the help they have extended to us),” Lamela said.

After the distribution of the livelihood assistance, the DSWD-SLP and LGU staff would conduct a monitoring and assessment activity to ensure that the recipients were able to utilize the grant properly and have established their proposed livelihood projects.

Marlon Lamela, a refreshment vendor and recipient from San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, shares his testimony after receiving the grant.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program is a capacity-building program of the DSWD which aims to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of communities in poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged areas by providing livelihood economic opportunities.###(Social Marketing Section/DSWD Field Office Caraga)

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