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02 May 2012

DSWD to help farmers in Hacienda Luisita

To enable farmers of Hacienda Luisita go through the waiting period for their land shares, the Department of Social Welfare and Development said that it will intensify its implementation of various support services in the sugarcane plantation.
Secretary of Social Welfare and Development Dinky Soliman has instructed the DSWD Field Office in Region III to organize an inter-agency meeting to assess the short-term plans for 2011 and to re-plan to address pressing needs brought by new developments in Hacienda Luisita.
“We will continue the programs that we have started to implement in the area and will further look into other appropriate social service interventions needed by the farmers to ensure that they will  not go hungry and further bear the brunt of poverty while waiting for their land titles,” Secretary Soliman said.
The Department will continue to implement the Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) program, where families  will be organized into cooperatives or SEA-K Associations (SKAs) and will be given capital assistance to finance their livelihood projects. Since 2005 SEA-K has been implemented in 11 barangays in Tarlac City,  Concepcion, Mabilog (Concepcion), and Montrico  in Lapaz, benefitting   39 SKAs, with 1,015 members. The DSWD has released over P5 million as capital assistance for the SKAs.
At the same time,  703 households from one barangay in Concepcion and seven barangays in Tarlac City  are currently receiving cash grants of as much as P1,400 per month under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to support the education and nutritional needs of their children. More than P2.1 million has been released for the cash grants of the beneficiaries since 2011.
Likewise, 50 senior citizens in the Hacienda also continue to benefit from the Social Pension receiving P500 monthly subsistence.
Cash-for-work also provides temporary additional income for farmers as they render  11 days of work in their respective communities. Some 1,140 individuals have benefited from the program.
On the other hand,  469 children were  provided supplementary feeding. To date, only Barangay Bantog in the Hacienda Luisita area has no day care center, while Barangay Central has two day care centers.
Secretary Soliman emphasized that other government agencies continue to complement DSWD support services for the farmers in the Hacienda Luisita.  These are the Department of Labor and Employment and the City Cooperative and Enterprise Development, which provided capital assistance for the livelihood projects of the farmers. The City Social Welfare and Development Office of Tarlac also provided financial assistance covering all the barangays in Hacienda Luisita.
Secretary Soliman said that DSWD social workers will conduct regular home visit to the farmers to determine other services that they may need and to access them to other government agencies, if necessary.