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ITOGON, Benguet Some three thousand six hundred sixty five internally displaced persons, mostly small-scale miners and the members of their families, will benefit from the P73.3 million earmarked by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under the agency’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) for them to have alternative sources of livelihood after the temporary suspension of small-scale mining activities in the mineral-rich town.
DSWD-CAR regional director Janet Armas disclosed of the total number of identified beneficiaries of the program, some 1,581 internally displaced persons were already able to get their livelihood assistance amounting to P20,000 each which accounted for a total of P31.68 million to date.
However, the DSWD-CAR official reported that the remaining 2,084 identified beneficiaries will be receiving their livelihood assistance which total to P41.68 million will be released to them until the end of the year depending on the release of the earmarked funds from the central office.
Earlier, the local government led by Mayor Victorio Palangdan requested concerned government agencies to provide internally displaced residents from the municipality with appropriate livelihood assistance after Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the temporary suspension of small-scale mining activities following the heavy impact inflicted by Supertyphoon Ompong to the municipality last year that caused over 100 deaths and millions of properties that were damaged.
Armas claimed that the identification of the beneficiaries of the livelihood assistance was a product of an extensive validation on the ground done by social workers.
The DSWD-CAR started distributing the assistance to the first batch of beneficiaries last November and it will continue up to the end of the year until all the beneficiaries shall have received their livelihood assistance which they could use to establish their proposed sources of livelihood that will sustain their desired income for their families.
According to her, hog raising and the put up of sari-sari stores in their places were the common sources of livelihood which were identified by the beneficiaries of the agency’s livelihood program.
Armas urged the beneficiaries of the livelihood assistance program to wisely use the funds that they were able to get from the DSWD to help provide sustainable sources of livelihood for their families that will contribute in their efforts to move their families out from the shackles of poverty considering the prevalence of the temporary suspension order on small-scale mining activities not only in the locality but also in the whole region as well.
She claimed that the agency will continue to monitor how the beneficiaries will use the funds that were given to them and will extend the needed technical assistance for them to be able to maximize the use of the funds for the growth of their identified livelihood project, especially that the temporary suspension of small-scale mining activities seem to be prolonged by the concerned government agency due to evident problems on the overall safety of the mining areas.