A key to sustainability: The stories of SLP beneficiaries

For generations, poverty has been causing tremendous concern and hardship for Filipino households. A lot of government subsidies were given to alleviate the lives of the people. However, it is always the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized households who are left out with the fewest opportunities without government intervention.

This is why the national government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), has created the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) where people who are tagged as disadvantaged are given opportunities by the government to improve their socio-economic conditions by accessing and acquiring livelihood assets.

Prioritizing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) clients, the program seeks to maintain and improve socio-economic gains and combat poverty.

There are two tracks in the SLP. The Microenterprise Development (MD) track helps microenterprises achieve both organizational and financial sustainability, and the Employment Facilitation (EF) track assists participants in accessing appropriate employment opportunities.

From rural villages to urban neighborhoods, the program has purposefully tackled socio-economic issues, promoting self-reliance and community development.

Meet Arceli Rapita, a senior citizen from Brgy. Katipunan in Tapaz town, together with 66 other former 4Ps beneficiaries who were also victims of the super typhoon Yolanda, was given a seed capital of P10,000.00 each by the DSWD to finance their mini-market association that they started in December of 2016.

Rapita is a mother of eight, and she said that through 4Ps she was able to send her children to school, and now through SLP she has a child studying in college.

“Nakabulig gid ang mini-mart kay pareho kanakon, maski nubo lang at least may income kag ginagamit ko man pa eskwela sang bata ko ga college subong (The mini-mart is a huge help especially for people like me because even though I earn a small amount of money, at least I have an income that I can use to send my child in college),” Rapita added.

A photo of the physical store of the Katipunan 4Ps Beneficiaries Mini-Market Association. (Photo courtesy of DSWD Capiz)

For six years, Rapita said that their association had a net income of P786,460.00 and every year all of the members were given a profit share and a patronage refund to their avid buyers.

Aside from profit sharing Rapita also said that their association is also granting

emergency loans to its members in need during emergencies.

She is also proud to share that through their mini-mart, they were able to give job opportunities to some of their members.

“May walo kami nga ga-trabaho, kay duwa ka bantay kada adlaw kag every month may allowance ang mga officers (We have a total of eight employees, two people per day and aside from that the officers also have their monthly allowance),” Rapita stated.

Through the help of their barangay, they were able to have their building through a barangay resolution.

“Gin providan kami ni Kap kang bag-o nga site pero nagdugang kami kay “skeleton” pa kag kulang ang mga materyales, nagbakal kami kag ang amon gasto is P140,000.00 pero at least may resolution halin sa barangay nga ginhatag dun kanamon ang lote kag building (The punong barangay provided us with a new site but it was just a “skeleton” building, so we opted to spend P140,000.00 for the construction of materials but at least the building and land were donated to us through a barangay resolution),” Rapita added.

Housewives like Rapita have embraced business in disadvantaged neighborhoods, defying gender norms and enhancing their families’ stability. As the association’s president, Rapita not only gives her family a reliable source of income but also gives other women in her neighborhood the confidence to pursue their aspirations.

The government’s initiatives in providing livelihood initiatives to marginalized groups can have a knock-on impact on education, lead to more chances to end the cycle of poverty and increase overall well-being.

Moreover, Marcelo Punzalan, 75 years old, and Ronel Bendico, 34 years old, are both members of the Lutod-Lutod President Roxas tricycle owners and drivers association (LUPTODA) in Brgy. Poblacion in President Roxas town was provided P830,000.00 as seed capital by the DSWD in April of 2018.

However, because of a typhoon that struck their community, most of their motorcycle parts were washed out by flash floods. That is why, in December of 2022, with their money left, they rehabilitated their enterprise and entered into the rent-to-own-motorcycle business.

“Sang 2019, nabahaan kami sang Ursula, ang P500,000.00 namon nga kapital sa mga motorcycle parts washed out gid. Sa nabilin namon nga surusubra P300,000.00, nag-isip kang sang bago. Kay sang una abi ma-rent kami, ma bayad sa taga-bantay, may suga. Subong ya makita mo ang unit nga ga dalagan kag sa madugay may ara kami dibedendo kag may ara pa kami share (In 2019, our P500,000.00 capital for our motorcycle parts business was washed out by typhoon Ursula.

LUPTODA during their monthly regular meetings with the presence of SLP staff. (Photo credits by DSWD Capiz)

That is why we think of something out of the remaining P300,000.00 to also save us for the rent and other expenses. Because now we can actually see the tricycle units, and in the long run, we can earn a dividend to be shared by all of the members),” Bendico said.

Bendico added that their association is also offering emergency loans to its members in need but only limited to P1,500.00 for now because they are still recovering from their losses during the typhoon.

Punzalan added that they own four rent-to-own motorcycles, and in eight years, they are targeting all 25 of their members to have their own tricycles.

After his retirement, Punzalan said that he decided to work and be part of the association.

“Kay kung ara lang ako sa balay maluya man, pero kung ara sa guwa gakita ka na, malipayon ka pa. Dako man ang makita mo sa toda kay mga apo ako nga ara man sa akon poder nagapangayo allowance kag hindi man mabug-at ang ubra kay amon ang oras (It is sad if i just stay at home. Driving a tricycle is also a good source of income, especially that some of my grandchildren are with us. I can give them an allowance and it is not difficult because you own your time),” Punzalan stated.

On the other hand, Bendico is one of the first four to acquire rent-to-own tricycles. He shared that before, he worked as a casual bank employee but chose to work as a tricycle driver because, according to him, he can earn more.

Rapita, Punzalan, and Bendico are just among the thousand Filipinos who have improved their socio-economic status through the interventions of the government.

For this year, SLP officer-in-charge regional program coordinator (RPC) Juliet Besa said that a total of P193,908,000.00 worth of assistance was provided to 13,093 clients in the region, wherein, P15,915,000.00 was given to 1,061 SLP regular beneficiaries in the province during the DSWD media forum in Pontevedra town.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program has repercussions that go beyond isolated instances of success. As microbusinesses flourish, so do employment opportunities, leading to a more resilient, sustainable, and interconnected society. (AGP/PLF/PIA Capiz)

In other News
Skip to content