FIVE people’s organizations (POs) in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (Gida) in North Cotabato have received P1.5 million worth of livelihood assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The recipient-organizations, who received the livelihood aid on Friday, March 24, were from the communities of the villages of Bato-Bato, Lama-Lama, Kimahuring, Ilustre and Salat in President Roxas, North Cotabato. These areas were formerly affected by conflict brought about by communist insurgency.

Each of the recipient-organizations received P300,000 worth of assistance as a startup capital for their chosen livelihood program.

Before the release of the grant, the recipient-organizations have undergone assessment surveys and training with the DSWD in Soccsksargen.

The training was conducted through DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

SLP is a community-based capacity-building program that seeks to improve the organization’s socio-economic status.

Tessie Begoy, president of Ilustre Multi-Sectoral Farmers Association (Imsefa), is thankful for the assistance given to the organization.

“We never thought that the farmers of President Roxas would gain the attention of the government let alone become a recipient of the SLP,” Begoy said.

“We thank the DSWD-12, PLGU (provincial local government unit) of (North) Cotabato, LGU President Roxas and 39th Infantry Battalion for this opportunity to improve the lives of the farmers, rest assured that we will take care of this project and commit in protecting the peace in our community,” Begoy added.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Ezra Balagtey, commander of 39th Infantry Battalion, the unit who assisted the DSWD in reaching out to the recipient organization, expressed his appreciation to the synergy of effort of President Roxas municipal government and DSWD in these communities.

“The turnover highlights the concern of LGU in these communities and the synergy of efforts and commitment of various agencies through whole-of-nation approach in addressing the socio-economic aspect of armed conflict,” Balagtey said. (SunStar Zamboanga)