Cezario Joel Espejo, Department of Social Welfare and Development-Region 12 director (Photo courtesy of DSWD-12)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has allotted some PHP176 million for the implementation of community-based interventions in line with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-Region 12 director, said Friday the preparations are ongoing for the rollout of various health-related projects as part of the national government’s response to cushion the potentially-devastating impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

He said they mainly shifted the focus of their community-driven development initiatives under the Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services or Kalahi-CIDSS from infrastructure to health to address the threats of the pandemic.

He said these include the purchase of medical equipment, construction and repair of health centers as well as community isolation areas, and provision of livelihood enterprise projects to vulnerable sectors.

These were aimed to “strengthen crisis management and response in grassroots communities,” he said.

Espejo said they have identified as recipients at least 20 municipalities across Region 12 or Soccsksargen that were covered by the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA program for indigenous peoples.

He said a total of 316 barangays comprising different indigenous cultural communities will be the direct beneficiaries.

“The communities are given the option to propose health and local economic recovery-related projects that are considered as their pressing needs,” he said in a statement.

The strict observance of health protocols and standards were required in the implementation of the projects, he said.

Espejo said they have activated their disaster response operations procedure to fast track the processes involved in the implementation of the projects.

The shift in the Kalahi-CIDSS’ implementation was part of the agency’s priority response against Covid-19 and the issuance by President Rodrigo Duterte of Proclamation No. 929, which declared the country under the state of national calamity.

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the core poverty-alleviation programs of the government being implemented by DSWD-12 in all four provinces of Soccsksargen.

It uses as strategy the community-driven development approach, which enables communities in targeted poor and disaster-affected municipalities “to identify their own needs, and collectively implement and manage solutions for them.” (PNA)