Living a life in a conflict-stricken area was not easy. And these were the experiences of some 81 individuals who wanted to rise above from their situation. Fortunately, the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) through the special project called Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) helped them change their life.

PAMANA is a priority program of the government that supports the Peace Negotiation Track and contributes to the goal of attaining Just and Lasting Peace.

One of the members of the Hiniusang Magbabaol sa Siapo took turns in managing the store.

In May 2017 these farmers in Barangay Siapo in the town of San Jose, Negros Oriental took their first step into the new world introduced by the SLP-PAMANA. They participated in and attended meetings. The project is designed to respond and strengthen peace-building, reconstruction and development in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas (CAAs and CVAs). Its goal is to increase people’s participation in identifying community development projects that will lead to economic empowerment.

Since the SLP-PAMANA aimed to strengthen resilience to conflict by improving the socio-economic capacity of the communities and families, the 81 beneficiaries who registered themselves as the Hiniusang Magbabaol sa Siapo Association, proposed for a rice retailing business to uplift their economic status.

On October 5, 2017 the group’s proposal was approved and the seed capital fund worth Php 500,000 were granted to them and invested in the rice retailing business.

It has been three years since they decided to engage in a rice retailing business which changed their lives for the better. The SLP PAMANA’s intervention has indeed helped them become entrepreneurs. They have proven themselves worthy and have helped their community as well.

Nakatabang gyud ang gobyerno sa amo labi na ang pinasyal nga tabang nga among gigamit sa negosyo (The government helped us a lot especially the funds that we used for business),” shared Jullen Corpuz,” business operations manager (BOM).

Corpuz added that the rice retailing business they received from SLP-PAMANA has not only helped them but also created an impact to the economic status of their community.  She said the project has helped the members and the residents a lot because the prices of their goods are the same with those sold in the Poblacion, so the community residents do not have to spend a lot in going to the town proper.

“The association has helped us, the members, a lot. We always look forward to the profit share that we get from our business. We used it to buy our basic needs. During trying times, we can also avail of credit. We can get feeds or basic commodities from the store subject to the policies of the association,” said Rebecca Rendora in dialect.

The Hiniusang Magbabaol sa Siapo Association lines up to its association’s name. They remain united and work hard to achieve their goal. The association has an average monthly income of Php 300,000. Now, the association’s tangible assets are worth Php 165,254.83 including the building and the lot where the store is located.

From 81 members, it has increased to 90 active members. They look forward to expanding their business links and venture into online selling.

The association’s members believed that they could make it big and they would remain united. ###

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