LEGAZPI CITYY, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- The regional office for Bicol here of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has granted funds worth Php 9.3 million in livelihood project assistance to poor beneficiaries in seven municipalities of the island-province of Catanduanes.
DOLE Regional Director Nathaniel Lacambra on Saturday said the grants were turned over to the municipal governments of Virac, the provincial capital, which received a total of Php 3.6 million; San Andres, Php 1.5 million; Viga, Php 1.48 million; Bato, Php 1.43 million; Panganiban, Php 653,491; Gigmoto, Php 480,000; and Pandan, Php 166,250.
The Virac local government unit (LGU) will use the amount to finance fishermen’s fish cage projects as well as in peanut production and processing projects by farmers.
Both projects will benefit a total of 545 poor families, according to Lacambra.
The San Andres LGU, on the other hand, is using the grant to fund its Integrated Project for People Empowerment through Enriched Resources (IPPETER) involving 250 beneficiaries while Viga will acquire 80 units of pedicab to be distributed to an equal number of pre-identified recipients under its Padyak Pangkabuhayan project.
The Bato LGU has allotted the fund to the provision of farm inputs to be distributed to 160 farmers in support of their farm productivity projects; Panganiban LGU for its crab modular cage production involving 108 beneficiaries; Gigmoto, for the acquisition of 20 brand-new diesel-fed fishing boat engines for 80 fishermen; and Pandan, for a fish processing and recyclable scrap materials trading involving 40 beneficiaries.
Lacambara said the total amount of Php 9.324 million granted to Catanduanes LGUs came from DOLE’s Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) and Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP).
The DILEEP is the DOLE's contribution to the governments' agenda of inclusive growth through massive job generation and substantial poverty reduction and reduce the vulnerability to risks of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized workers.
It particularly seeks to contribute to the Aquino administration’s intention of reducing poverty among the vulnerable and marginalized workers through transitional emergency employment and promotion of entrepreneurship and community enterprises.
Formerly known as the Bottom Up Budgeting (BuB), GPBP being applied by the administration of President Benigno Aquino III is a somewhat modern approach to planning in the use of government’s financial resources that is different from the usual top-down budgeting where the high level executives make all the decisions in fund dispensations.
It seeks to make the national budget more responsive to local needs, provide incentives for local good governance, strengthen the devolution of basic services delivery, create a conducive environment for people’s participation and generate demand for good governance at the local level.
This scheme also provides the opportunity for grantees to be involved in setting their own goals and expectations for a given financial period and gives them ownership of the decisions, motivating them to meet budgetary constraints that otherwise might seem unattainable or unrealistic if they were delivered by someone without as much understanding of their day-to-day operations.
All the 11 municipalities of Catanduanes are qualified to received such grant. However, Lacambra said the three other towns -- Bagamanoc, Baras and Caramoran -- were unable to submit their project proposals and other requirements on time, thus, their delayed inclusion in the fund releases.
The DOLE regional chief though has assured that these remaining three LGUs will get their shares once the requirements are satisfied.
He said the distribution of the checks representing the grants was done in time with the jobs fair organized by the DOLE Catanduanes field office in collaboration with the provincial government as part of the events during the province’s holding of Catandungan Festival last week.
The jobs fair was participated in by 15 big private firms which offered more than 2,000 vacancies, where 245 of the 512 local applicants were qualified for hiring with 44 hired on the spot, Lacambra said.
Meanwhile, Rep. Cesar Sarmiento of Catanduanes’ lone congressional district disclosed that the national government’s 2015 Php 2.606-trillion budget includes huge allocation for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that would provide job opportunities for Catandunganons and enhance the local economy.
Among these projects, he said in a statement reaching here Saturday, are the Php 170-million improvement of the Virac airport -- consisting of the Php 130-million asphalt overlay project for the runway and Php 40 million for the refurbishing of the airport terminal.
These projects, according to Sarmiento, are in line with the government’s initiatives for inclusive growth through the promotion of the tourism industry of the province that is confronted by four key issues -- power reliability, health services, education and employment -- insofar as its economic development is concerned.
Viable solutions are now being explored to address these issues, anyway, he added, citing that on the supply of electricity, the National Power Corp. (NPC) has already sent in to the province three generator sets each with a capacity of 1,000 kilowatts.
These new generator units, Sarmiento said, are part of NPC’s efforts to improve its Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) program that provides electricity to island-communities that are isolated from the country’s main power grids.
It is part of the agency’s mission to not only energize the remotest islands in the country but also to improve its facilities to better serve the customers by way of minimizing power outages in off-grid areas, he added.(PNA) SCS/FGS/DOC/CBD/PJN