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Legarda: 7-B DSWD Budget on Sustainable Livelihood Can Be Spent Thru Convergence

September 26, 2017

Following the guidance of Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is likely to fully obligate its 2017 budget for the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

During the hearing for the proposed 2018 budget of the Department, Undersecretary Emmanuel Leyco, DSWD Officer-in-Charge, cited the intervention of Legarda to link them with other agencies of government to be able to fully utilize seven billion-peso worth of funds for SLP before it expires by the end of the year.

The DSWD still has seven billion pesos for SLP. It will obligate part of the fund to other agencies like the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), National Housing Authority (NHA), Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, and even local government units (LGUs).

“It is good that the DSWD is keen on ensuring 100 percent obligation of its budget. But we should not stop with obligating the budget. We must ensure that funds are spent immediately as well because the poor and the needy cannot wait. It is our responsibility to provide the services to the people right away,” said Legarda.

“I urge the DSWD to give each of its partner agency a timeline to spend the funds obligated to them. We want to see the impact of SLP in our communities,” she added.

The Senator also made suggestions as to the SLP beneficiaries, such as creating vegetable gardens in barangays as a form of livelihood, especially in the more than 16,000 barangays worst-hit by malnutrition based on statistics from the National Nutrition Council.

“By using SLP to have more ‘gulayan sa barangay,’ we address both unemployment and malnutrition and this is surely sustainable,” said Legarda.

Other suggestions for DSWD convergence with other agencies include: with DAR on the provision of livelihood activities to Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs); with the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and the Manila Bay Coordinating Office to provide support for families living around the river and the bay; and with LGUs that are recipients of the DILG’s Seal of Good Housekeeping.

The SLP is a community-based, capacity building program that seeks to improve the socio-economic status of the program’s participants through the different modalities that it offers such as skills training, seed capital fund, pre-employment assistance, and cash for building livelihood assets. It offers two tracks—microenterprise development and employment facilitation.