Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said that so long as there are surveys that reveal findings that the poverty or hunger incidence in the country remains high, the national government and all its agencies should take survey results to heart and push to improve and expand access to their services, especially if these services have directly to do with the immediate welfare of Filipinos.
The Social Weather Station (SWS) recently released its 3rd quarter survey on self-rated poverty. It showed that 42% of Filipino families rated themselves as poor, or an estimated 9.2 million individuals – this is a record-low.
Also, 30% of Filipino families or an estimated 6.7 million individuals consider the food they eat as food poor, again a new record-low. The survey was conducted on Sept 24 to 27.
“As we have said previously, there has to be a genuine agrarian reform program in the Philippines because this will benefit the greatest number of Filipinos. The largest percentage of our population is comprised of farmers – very poor and mostly landless farmers. A genuine agrarian reform program and sufficient agrarian support services will address the root causes of their poverty, and this immediately lowers the poverty incidence levels in the country,” Sec. Taguiwalo said.
As for the DSWD, Sec. Taguiwalo said that the Department will strengthen its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) to complement the cash grants provided by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid Pamilya) to its beneficiaries.
The program is also open to non-members who have been identified as poor by the DSWD’s Listahanan and come from marginalized and vulnerable sectors from 1,605 municipalities all over the country.
“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,” said Sec. Taguiwalo.
Towards this end, the SLP offers two tracks for Filipinos in the program: 1) micro-enterprise development which supports micro enterprises to become organizationally and economically viable; and 2) Employment facilitation which assists Filipinos to access appropriate employment opportunities.
In the meantime, Sec. Taguiwalo said that the DSWD is all set to launch “Kamustahan” which is essentially a verification campaign involving the members of Pantawid Pamilya. She said that the department will check on the true status of families under the program to see if they may have to graduate to the other programs so they will not slide back economically at the slightest shock or emergency. (PR)