Poverty has long been a problem that needs addressing from both the Philippine national government and the LGU levels. It does not take a genius to realize that the disruptions wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the year 2020 on businesses and livelihoods have been close to devastating. In South Cotabato, the provincial government has decided that intervention is vital on some key communities of several municipalities and in Koronadal City itself. To that end, their flagship anti-poverty convergence program at the community level has been expanded for this year.
According to the Philippine News Agency, South Cotabato has intensified their existing community-based intervention called the Convergence Program for Poverty Reduction (CPPR), with the intent to reach 90 more barangays across the province for 2021. On Thursday, January 28, CPPR focal person Chris Fuentes announced that a number of socio-economic interventions are all set to be rolled out. 90 barangays in the provincial capital and nine other municipalities have been designated as priorities for the program, which will bring basic services to the residents courtesy of collaborative efforts between provincial government agencies and private sector.
The SoCot CPPR allocates the 90 priority barangays among the following communities: 18 in Banga, 11 in Tboli and again in Lake Sebu, 10 in Tampakan and again in Tantangan, nine in Norala, six in Surallah, five in Santo Niño, seven in Polomolok and finally three barangays in Koronadal City. The expected basic service interventions for these places range from medical outreach, educational opportunities and programs for public safety. Livelihood projects in the said barangays will also be provisioned, thanks to public and private resources.
South Cotabato began the Convergence Program for Poverty Reaction in 2017. Initial beneficiaries of the interventions were impoverished barangays in the municipalities of Lake Sebu and Tboli. By the year 2020 the outreach has reached 63 SoCot barangays in all.
As CPPR head Fuentes puts it, “Our goal is to make these communities self-sustaining and self-sufficient to help reduce poverty incidence among residents.” Furthermore, any projects and services delivered to the priority barangays are carefully selected following thorough consultation with the local residents, to ensure that they will be what the people want and need.
Image: South Cotabato.gov official website