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DSWD chief leads distribution of livelihood grants to stall owners, vendors affected by San Fernando City market fire

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian led on Friday (March 15) the awarding of livelihood settlement grants to the small-scale vendors and stall owners who were affected by the January fire incident that hit the San Fernando City Market in La Union province.

The provision of the livelihood settlement grants is part of the continuing efforts of the Department, through its Field Office-1 (Ilocos Region), to help the fire-hit vendors cope with the disruptions to their livelihood.

“Sa hapon na ito, ang programang dala-dala namin ay iyong Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). Nandito po kami ngayon para makapag-ambag nang maski papaano sa inyong nawalang puhunan. Hindi man namin kayang palitan lahat, sana ay makatulong ito sa maliit naming paraan,” Sec. Gatchalian told the stall owners and vendors during the ceremonial payout at Brgy. Poro Covered Court.

(This afternoon, the program we bring is the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). We are here today to contribute in some way to your lost capital. While we may not be able to replace everything, we hope that this can help in our small way.)

Some 682 eligible vendors and stall owners are expected to receive livelihood grants ranging from Php5,000 to Php15,000 each depending on their proposed livelihood projects.

Sec. Gatchalian emphasized the difficulties faced by a victim of a fire incident but assured the affected population of the continued support from the government.

“Gusto lang ng ating Pangulo [President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.] na nararamdaman ninyo ang inyong pamahalaan, ang pamahalaang nasyunal, sa oras ng pangangailangan,” Sec. Gatchalian said.

(Our President [President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.] simply wants you to feel the presence of your government, the national government, in times of need.)

The DSWD chief also cited the importance of the whole-of-nation approach in addressing the needs of the vendors and stall owners whose sources of livelihood were adversely affected by the fire.

“Ang importante ay uunti-untiin na lang natin na makabangon muli… Ang importante ay nagtutulung- tulong po ang pamahalaang nasyunal, ibang sangay ng pamahalaan, at ang inyong lokal na pamahalaan para mapagsama-sama natin ang mga resources o iyong kakayanan ng gobyerno para matulungan kayong makabangon muli. Kasi alam ko, iyon naman ang gusto natin, ang makapaghanap buhay muli,” Sec. Gatchalian pointed out.

(What’s important is that we gradually rebuild… What’s important is that the national government, other branches of government, and your local government are helping each other to pool together the resources or capabilities of the government to help you recover. Because I know, that’s what we all want, to be able to rebuild your livelihood.)

Sec. Gatchalian reiterated that the DSWD will continue to coordinate with the San Fernando City government to determine other interventions needed to enable the affected individuals to resume their normal lives and daily work.

Prior to the distribution of livelihood settlement grants, the DSWD Field Office-1 already provided the fire-hit individuals with cash aid under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program, food and non-food items, and psychosocial support.

San Fernando City Mayor Hermenegildo “Dong” A. Gualberto joined Sec. Gatchalian during the ceremonial awarding of grants.

Aside from Sec. Gatchalian, Operations Group Assistant Secretary Florentino Loyola, Jr., SLP-National Program Management Office Director Edmon Monteverde, DSWD Ilocos Region Director Marie Angela Gopalan, and OIC-Assistant Regional Director for Operations Anniely Ferrer were also present.

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