STARTING ANEW: DSWD provides livelihood program for former drug dependents in Abra

Former illegal drug dependents in Abra province who recently surrendered to authorities emerge from a dark period in their lives and start anew with the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

After completing community-based rehabilitation and counseling service, five former drug dependents from Barangay Cabaruan, Danglas, Abra received P75,000 worth of seed capital fund (SCF) from the DSWD to help them start their own entrepreneurial projects.

SCF is a one-time capability-building grant that serves as working fund for basic starter kits, raw materials, start-up expenses for securing permits to operate, as well as large and long-live tangible assets needed in starting or expanding a micro-enterprise.

To qualify for the SCF assistance, the DSWD facilitated the accreditation of former drug dependents who organized themselves into a group named Cabaruan Hog Raising Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (CHRSLPA).

The DSWD provided them with starter kits composed of eight piglets (60 days old), eight sacks of starter feeds, 16 sacks of grower feeds, eight sacks of finisher feeds, two shovels, two pails, and two plastic drums for their hog raising business.

These were turned over to the association in February 2019 in the presence of the Municipal and Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC/BADAC) of Danglas, Abra.

Members of the group agreed to engage in hog raising since they are already familiar with the business, and there is a demand in their area.

“Kayat me nga agpasalit iti SLP ken iti LGU ta inikan dakami iti tyansa nga agbaliw. Ikari mi nga agbalbaliw kamin ket padakkelen mi daytoy a proyekto nga naited kadakami para metlaeng ti pagsayaatan mi ken iti pamilya mi” (We want to thank SLP and the [Danglas] LGU for giving us an opportunity to change. We commit to continue this transformation and make this livelihood prosper to economically uplift us and our families), the association president said.

“We hope that this assistance will assist our drug surrenderers to achieve a new life. We also hope that they will be able to sustain this livelihood. Our office, in partnership with the local government unit, will continue to support them in this endeavor,” DSWD Cordillera Administrative Region Director Janet P. Armas said.

Though the assistance is free from interest, the members are required to repay the amount provided to them based on their agreement within the association. This will ensure that the association will have revolving funds to operate the business.

As the lead agency in the formulation of aftercare and reintegration programs, DSWD, with other national government agencies, is tasked to provide a wide range of aftercare services to reinforce the transformation and rehabilitation of drug surrenderers. This is done through the Yakap Bayan Framework which provides interventions to drug surrenderers such as skills training, psychosocial, livelihood, and other community-based activities to become productive citizens who will aid in nation-building.

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