The Department of Social Welfare and Development – Field Office Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD-FO CAR), through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), has fortified its collaboration with six (6) agencies and two (2) private entities for the first semester of CY 2024. The strengthened partnership, formalized through the renewal of a manifestation of support and the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) aims to capacitate program participants with the skills and resources needed for long-term sustainability. 

Government Partnerships

Among the Government entities which manifested their commitment is the Department of Agriculture (DA). The DA has pledged its support in providing technical assistance and market opportunities through the KADIWA ng Pangulo, an initiative that seeks to provide consumers with access to quality yet affordable goods and commodities and facilitate the access of farmers, fishers, and microenterprises to the market. Through the activity, SLP participants will be able to display and sell their products and foster a direct link between producers and consumers. Additionally, the DA assists SLPAs in their registration for the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) through the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMAG). RSBSA is a registry of farmers, fisherfolk, and farm laborers that serves as a targeting mechanism for the identification of beneficiaries for different agriculture-related programs and services of the government. This is expected to open more opportunities for SLP participants who may need additional assistance to be able to sustain their livelihood. 

Meanwhile, the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) Cordillera has taken a proactive role in capacity-building by offering technical assistance specifically in urban gardening in Baguio City. Two SLPAs in the city have already benefited from these initiatives, enhancing their capabilities in agriculture. Simultaneously, the Baguio City Veterinary and Agricultural Office (CVAO) continues to support urban gardening efforts of the city by providing technical assistance to ten (10) more organized SLPAs and ensuring they receive the guidance they need to thrive. 

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has joined forces with DSWD CAR to offer technical assistance to SLPAs regarding SEC registration. This collaboration aims to legitimize these associations and protect them from investment scams, promoting a secure business environment for the participants.

On one hand, the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) has committed to conducting extension programs and services that have a tangible economic impact on SLP participants. By providing essential technologies, knowledge, and skills, MPSPC aims to enhance productivity within associations and communities within Mt. Province. A recent example of this support is the banana processing training conducted for the CSBA (Cassag-Sabalan-Balabal-Asilap) SLPA.

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) signed an MOA on 17 May 2024, to establish a livelihood complementation arrangement with DSWD. The BJMP CAR will endorse potential target participants to avail of the livelihood program, provided that they meet the eligibility criteria. This initiative focuses on providing livelihood assistance, technical, and moral support to Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL). The agreement, which extends until CY 2026, aims to promote rehabilitation and economic empowerment among PDLs, offering them a chance to rebuild their lives through sustainable livelihood opportunities. 

Private Partnerships 

Aside from the government institutions, the SLP has also tapped the expertise of private entities. The SLP has successfully initiated partnerships with two different private entities in Abra and Ifugao. In the Province of Abra, the Ilocos Consolidated Cooperative Bank (ICCB) has partnered with SLP to simplify the bank account opening process for SLPAs in the province by reducing required documentation and offering minimal deposit requirements, no processing fees, and reduced maintaining balances.

Meanwhile, the SLP is in the final stages of negotiating a Memorandum of Agreement with the Rural Bank of Bagabag to assist in monitoring SLPA savings and providing technical assistance in financial literacy to program participants in Ifugao. This partnership will also designate the Rural Bank of Bagabag as the depository bank for SLPAs in the province, enhancing financial management capabilities and ensuring secure financial practices for program participants.

“This partnership with government and private sectors is a testament to our dedication to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in order to create a more prosperous future for everyone. The DSWD CAR will persist in offering all available support to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), especially those who are part of the SLP,” said DSWD CAR Director Maria A. Catbagan-Aplaten. She also emphasized the significance of ensuring that SLP participants experience support in order to achieve self-sufficiency in the near future.

These collaborative efforts between DSWD CAR, government agencies, and the private sector highlight a holistic approach to sustainable development. The Sustainable Livelihood Program, as one of the capacity-building program of DSWD, aims to improve the socio-economic well-being of its participants through its two main tracks: The Microenterprise Development Track and the Employment Facilitation Track. The Microenterprise Development Track supports participants in establishing and growing small businesses, while the Employment Facilitation Track assists individuals in finding gainful employment opportunities.

By leveraging expertise, resources, and support from multiple stakeholders, the SLP is creating lasting economic opportunities and enhancing the resilience of communities in the Cordillera Administrative Region. Through these partnerships, SLP participants are becoming confident in achieving economic stability and self-sufficiency, paving the way for a brighter and more sustainable future. #DSWD-CAR, Jezebel L. Gumatay, SLP Social Marketing Officer and reports from Jennifer Diego, SLP Government Sector Partnership Officer

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