GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The national government has approved the release of around PHP300 million in grants for community-based projects to address the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and previous disasters that affected parts of Region 12 (Soccsksargen).
Cezario Joel Espejo, director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Region 12, said Tuesday the preparations are ongoing for the interventions' rollout under the agency’s flagship Kalahi-CIDSS program.
Kalahi-CIDSS stands for Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, a World Bank-assisted socio-economic project implemented since 2003 by the DSWD.
He said the initiative would mainly provide grants to finance community-identified and managed responses that will help restore and improve basic social services in 21 “poorest and most vulnerable municipalities” in the region.
He said the projects seek to ease the effects of the Covid-19 crisis and the past disasters.
“These will complement with the recovery efforts for the affected residents and communities,” Espejo said, adding they are determining the capacity of the identified recipient-municipalities to implement the projects.
DSWD-12 is working to begin implementing the projects in the next few weeks in the municipalities of Norala, Polomolok, Tampakan, Tantangan, and Tupi in South Cotabato; Antipas, Kabacan, Magpet and President Roxas in North Cotabato; Alabel in Sarangani; and, Columbio, Kalamansig, Lambayong and Lebak in Sultan Kudarat.
The next round, which is targeted to start in July, will cover Glan in Sarangani as well as Arakan, Makilala, Matalam, Midsayap, M'lang, and Tulunan in North Cotabato.
Starting this year until 2023, Espejo said the recipient-municipalities may avail of up to PHP20 million in grants, depending on the area’s poverty incidence, population, income class, and the number of barangays.
Under Memorandum Circular No. 20 issued in October last year by the DSWD central office, the eligible projects include the purchase of personal protective equipment, hygiene kits, sanitation, and cleaning supplies; communication devices, among them sound systems, for information dissemination; upgrading/rehabilitation of evacuation centers, barangay halls, school buildings, tribal halls and multi-purpose centers that serve as temporary isolation facilities; provision of temporary employment through the cash-for-work scheme; and, procurement of medical tools and equipment of Covid-19 response.
The grants may also be used for the establishment of temporary facilities to deliver basic services such as mobile market and community kitchen; rental of vehicles for the implementation and monitoring of Covid-19-related activities; cash assistance to families not covered by previous programs; provision of livelihood support; and implementation of support activities for returning families from areas with a high incidence of Covid-19.
“(These) will be of great help to cushion the potentially devastating impact of Covid-19 and other disasters which have disproportionately affected the poorest and most vulnerable municipalities,” Espejo said.
In the last seven years, DSWD-12 has completed a total of 870 community-based projects worth around PHP1.59 billion under the Kalahi-CIDSS program. It covered some 650 barangays and benefited over 500,000 poor households within the region. (PNA)