April 14, 2024

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has earmarked more than P1.4 billion to fund projects aimed at easing impacts of the El Niño phenomenon in line with the directives of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

Special Assistant to the Secretary for Special Projects Maria Isabel Lanada said the budget will be used to fund the DSWD’s initiatives dubbed as Local Adaptation to Water Access (Project LAWA) and Breaking Insufficiency through Nutritious Harvest for the Impoverished (Project Binhi).

Projects LAWA and Binhi are proactive interventions and sustainable solutions to combat hunger, alleviate poverty and decrease economic vulnerability of the communities by addressing food insecurity and water scarcity that are exacerbated by climate change and disasters.

“’For project LAWA, we already had pilot implementation last year. This was done in Davao de Oro for Mindanao, Ifugao for Luzon, and Antique for Visayas. This is an appropriate technology to have water availability in communities,” Lanada said.

She said during the pilot testing, it was noted that people do not only need water but also nutritious food to ensure their survival and productivity.

With the mandate of DSWD being on poverty alleviation and hunger mitigation, the agency is also focused on food security, she said, adding this is how the project Binhi came about.

Lanada said both projects will provide learning and development sessions on climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction, and cash-for-work and cash-for-training to beneficiaries in priority areas exposed to the effects of El Niño.

The projects are also science and data-driven and are based on the Climate Outlook of the Department of Science and Technology-Pagasa with the most number of poor families based on Listahanan 3, she said.

“The target beneficiaries include families of farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples and other climate and disaster-vulnerable families,” she added.

Each beneficiary will be given the opportunity to participate in cash-for-training and cash-for-work activities for 10 to 25 days with the corresponding daily wage based on the prevailing regional daily minimum wage rate range of the project area.

Among the projects that the beneficiaries will partake in are related to water efficiency such as construction of small farm reservoirs (SFRs), repairs and rehabilitation of water harvesting facilities, repairs of multipurpose water infrastructures, diversification of water supplies, aqua or hydroponics, and aquaculture, among others.

For food security, the beneficiaries will be participating in activities such as communal vegetable gardening; urban gardening; school-based and community-based vegetable gardening; community-based diversified integrated farming; planting of disaster resilient crops, fruit-bearing trees and mangroves; and vermicomposting.

For 2024, projects LAWA and Binhi will be implemented in 294 cities/municipalities in 58 provinces in 16 regions. Ten SFRs will be constructed in every participating city/municipality.

“To date, we already have 290 SFRs out of the more than 2,000 that will be constructed this year,” Lanada said.

She recognized that people’s participation is one factor in the success of projects LAWA and Binhi. – PNA