By Charissa Luci-Atienza, October 5, 2021; Manila Bulletin

Seeking to end hunger and poverty in the country, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with other government agencies for the implementation of three major convergence projects.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista was among the signatories of the MOA for thee convergence projects under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) Program. These include the EPAHP Resettlement Support, Gatasang Kalabaw Pilot Project, and 4Ps Gulayan sa Pamayanan Project.

The ceremonial signing was held on Sept. 28.

“Indeed, convergence among national government agencies is essential in effectively addressing the pressing problems of our country on unemployment, hunger, and poverty. This is especially significant as we continue to experience the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bautista said.

The DSWD noted that the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP)-National Program Management Office has engaged with partners to provide guidance on the implementation of the Livelihood for Resettlement Areas.

The DSWD, National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), National Housing Authority, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) are involved in this EPAHP Convergence Project

“The EPAHP Resettlement Support aims to provide a source of income to low-income households and improve their capacity to afford food and other basic needs; and contribute to reducing poverty in resettlement areas,” the DSWD said.

The Kabuhayan sa Gatasang Kalabaw, meanwhile, aims to increase the volume of locally produced milk that can be supplied to the National Feeding Program in the proposed pilot areas in Ilocos, Western Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula.

“This EPAHP convergence project focuses on the establishment of viable enterprises along the buffalo value chain as a source of additional income for farmers and members of community-based organizations,” the social welfare department said.

The implementing arms of the project are the DSWD, Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center, DTI, and POPCOM.

The MOA on the Pilot 4Ps Gulayan sa Pamayanan was also signed to “provide immediate social preparation and intervention to some 516 target 4Ps households in the National Capital Region who are not engaged in any Gulayan activity,” the DSWD said.

These families will be under the project from June 2021 to Dec. 31, 2022, it noted.

The DSWD is joined by the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education and Agrea Agricultural Communities International Foundation, Inc., with the support of World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in implementing the project.

“Through this whole of nation approach of converging programs and services, we will be able to maximize our resources and provide holistic interventions to the poor, vulnerable and the disadvantaged sectors who are the ones greatly affected by this ongoing health crisis,” Bautista said.