South Cotabato educated more than a hundred indigenous peoples on basic rights for IPs, women and children just recently. Residents of Sitio Amguo, Barangay Landan of Polomolok town were informed and educated about the IPRA Law particularly on their rights on ancestral domains, self governance and empowerment, social justice and human rights, and cultural integrity during a three-day information education campaign and skills training last May 22-24. Other information disseminated includes the 10 rights of children and IP Declaration on Child Policy. This IEC was conducted in pursuance to the 3 year plan created by the IP Structures Women Representatives of the province with the support from the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office. Norma Lu, provincial IP Sector Coordinator said the IPs are very attentive during every discussion to feed their hunger for knowledge and support from the government. This is the fourth time the PSWDO and Provincial IP Women leaders conducted such IEC on IP communities as part of their 3-year plan. The plan which started early this year aims to educate IP communities in the province on their rights and encourage them to promote, preserve, and celebrate their culture and tradition. A skill training on beads making was also conducted to enhance the communities skill in making their tribal accessories for possible livelihood production.
South Cotabato LGU recently released a total worth of Php 1.2 million livelihood assistance under its Development Alternative Framework Project (Project DAF) yesterday. Barangay Affairs Unit identified 14 existing and 16 new identified sitio beneficiaries this year that comprised the 4th batch of Proejct DAF beneficiaries. Each Project DAF core group from the 30 sitios received a total of Php 40, 000 worth of assistance. BAU clarified that the new identified sitios were chosen based on their socio-economic status while the existing beneficiaries who qualified for this year were chosen based on their successful implementation of their chosen livelihood program. In an earlier interview, Jerry Gamo, BAU Chief said the additional assistance given to old beneficiaries is to encourage other beneficiaries to do well in their chosen livelihood. Among the identified beneficiaries this year are the following: New beneficiaries: EXISTING BENEFICIARIES THAT RECEIVED ADDITIONAL PHP 40, 000 FUND Project DAF, a program headed by Governor Daisy P. Avance Fuentes, is a project that reaches poor communities and far flung areas to provide them with sustainable livelihood sources.
South Cotabato’s Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) remained as the most functional LCPC in Region 12 after the recently concluded Regional Evaluation conducted by the Regional Inter-Agency Monitoring Task Force (RIMTF). The province garnered a score of 107.5% indicating an Ideal Level of functionality. This LCPC functionality evaluation seeks to check the initiatives and accomplishments of LGUs in protecting and securing children’s rights based on its council’s organization, meetings conducted, policies, programs and budget, and accomplishments. South Cotabato has been consisted in garnering the first spot in this annual evaluation for consecutive 5 years since 2013 and is going to be a tough contender to beat in the next years to come, said Provincial DILG OIC-Provincial Director Audrey De Pedro.
Members of the South Cotabato Search and Rescue Team have started harnessing their skills and capability on Search and Rescue as their 17 days specialized training commenced recently. The training which started last May 19 was conducted to further capacitate the province’s SAR, augment and assist the Local DRRMCs in the organization of their Search and Rescue Teams, and enhance the knowledge and skills of the existing SAR teams of the province. The training module includes the DRR-CCA orientation, basic first aid, high angle rappel and extrication techniques, land navigation, basic ropemanship and water survival rescue among others. Three teams with seven members each from the Philippine National Police, 27th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army and army reservists served as participants. Course directors and instructors from the 505th Search and Rescue of the Philippine Airforce are facilitating and directing the training. A total budget of Php 300, 000.00 was allocated by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) for this training charged from the 5% Calamity Fund of the province.
Recent heavy rains in the province caused a river in Purok 1A, Barangay Landan of Polomolok town to overflow and resulted to flashflood and landslide damaging a number of houses and affecting a total of 30 indigenous people (IP) families. Milagros Rivera-Lorca, Provincial Disaster Officer confirmed seven houses were totally damaged and four were partially damaged due to flashflood while one house was destroyed due to landslide. It was discovered that these IP are informal settlers in the area that’s also considered a high risk disaster prone. Earlier today, the provincial government through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) provided relief assistance to the victims. This includes basic necessities for women, men and children, jerry cans and cooking pots. Instead of emergency shelter assistance (ESA) Lorca advised the local government unit of Landan to find a relocation area for the affected families. Lorca said the IP informal settlers will continue to live in the said high prone disaster area and will again be subject to threat if not relocated.
Forty seven in and out of school youth who participated in the provincial government’s Moral Recovery Program in Tupi were in for a surprise as their parents came and joined them at the last day of their activity. The last day of the MRP turned into an emotional event after participants shared their personal problems and worries not knowing that their parents are within the vicinity listening to them. This three day activity facilitated by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office is an initiative of the Provincial Government to counter the lack of patriotism, nationalism and love for self and family among the youth as observed by the PSWDO Youth Sector. Activities in the said program include tests of faith, loyalty, courage and honesty. Arnold Araña, Provincial Youth Sector Coordinator said participants will soon undergo the Servant Leadership Workshop, the second level of the program, which teaches youth to be responsible, well-grounded leaders and servants of the people and their respective communities.
South Cotabato recently released Php 960,000 worth of fund for its Self-Employed Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) program benefiting three SEA-K associations in the province just recently. Through the Office of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development, members of Liberty Spring SEA-K Association of Barangay Liberty,Tampakan and Sto. Niño Day Care SEA-K Association of Poblacion Daycare Center, Sto. Niño formally received Php 355, 000 worth of seed fund each. These SEA-K associations are second level beneficiaries of the program, said Earl Madres, Provincial SEA-K Coordinator. Second level beneficiaries are those associations who were able to successfully pay their borrowed money from the government within the given period of one to two years. While one first level beneficiary, the Kahayag SEA-K Association from Tampakan received Php 250, 000 worth of seed fund. Another first level beneficiary, Dekalidad na mga Nanay SEA-K Association, will also receive the same amount after all necessary processing and evaluation has been conducted, said Madres. SEA-K is program that lends capital seed fund to small entrepreneurs to help jump start their chosen businesses. Beneficiaries then have to return the borrowed amount within one to two years time to avail of a much higher amount of seed fund.
South Cotabato Public Employment and Services Office (PESO) is now opening its year-round Special Program for the Employment Students (SPES) program to interested applicants. PESO announced that the program will be open for both college students and out of school youth applicants. Application process for the former will start on May 25 while application process for the latter will start on May 19. College students who are interested to apply are asked to present their enrolment forms or the schedule of their first semester for the initial process and evaluation. Out of school youth may come for the initial process and evaluation without bringing any requirements yet. The program that will start from June until December is open to all who are 15 to 30 years old. SPES beneficiaries may render services for a minimum of 25 days to a maximum of 78 days and will receive a daily wage of 295 pesos, 60 %of which will come from the Provincial Government of South Cotabato while the remaining 40% will be taken from the Department of Labor and Employment. Cynthia Barrientos, OIC-PESO Manager said a combined total of 792 in and out of school youth will benefit in the summer and year-round SPES program this year with a total allotted budget of Php 3.6 million.
South Cotabato successfully concluded its first skill training for muslim women today, May 10. Thirty muslim women from Barangay Koronadal Proper of Polomolok town underwent through more than 30 days of training on dress making from February 13 until April 6. Last May 10, these trainees showed off their sewn traditional clothes and decorations as part of their graduation activity. Nelida Periera, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer said the training was to help these muslims acquire the skill to have other source of income for their families. Aside from generating income, this is also to help muslims wear their traditional dresses such as abaya and tandong everyday. Muslim traditional dresses costs from Php 150.00 to Php 6,000.00 depending on the style, texture and cloth, said Rukaiya Sirag, a muslim woman and a beneficiary of the said training. Sirag said they buy their traditional clothes in far province of Cotabato, and recently, in General Santos City, as no available traditional dresses can be bought in South Cotabato. Genelene Vidanes,Provincial Muslim Sector Coordinator said they will continue to assist these muslim women. They will be training using industrial machines, said Vidanes, for possible mass production. She added that the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office will also tap the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for additional assistance.
Members of the South Cotabato Search and Rescue Team harnessed their skills and capability on Basic Life Support (BLS) last week with members of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) – South Cotabato Chapter as facilitators. The 3-day training conducted last May 3, 5 and 6 was to strengthen the rescuers capacity and prepare them for the upcoming 17 Days Search and Rescue training this May 19 to June 3. This 17 days training is to augment and assist the Local DRRMCs in the organization of their Search and Rescue Teams and to enhance the knowledge and skills of the existing SAR teams of the province. Three teams consisting of seven members each from the Philippine National Police, 27th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army and army reservists will serve as participants. The training module includes the DRR-CCA orientation, basic first aid, high angle rappel and extrication techniques, land navigation, basic ropemanship and water survival rescue among others. Course directors and instructors from the 505 Search and Rescue of the Philippine Airforce will facilitate and direct the training. A total budget of Php 300, 000.00 was allocated by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) for this training charged from the 5% Calamity Fund of the province.