Three years after Typhoon Pablo ravaged the municipality of Baganga in Davao Oriental, the continuing rehabilitation initiatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are now bearing fruits.

Some 43 survivors are now enrolled in the DSWD-funded community-based vocational and technical training on Automotive Servicing National Certificate II under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). They are among those reaping the fruits of these initiatives.

The training is undertaken through the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) which is a capacity building program that seeks to improve the socio-economic status of beneficiaries.

Through SLP, beneficiaries are assisted either through the micro-enterprise development or employment facilitation tracks of the livelihood program.

The micro-enterprise development track supports micro-enterprises or small businesses in becoming economically viable, whereas employment facilitation assists beneficiaries to access appropriate employment opportunities.

“Isang malaking pagkakataon itong naibigay na training sa akin lalo na at hindi naman ako nakatapos ng pag-aaral dahil sa kahirapan.

Naniniwala ako na magagamit ko ito sa paghahanap ng trabaho para matulungan ang pamilya ko (This training is a big opportunity especially since I was not able to finish my education because of poverty. I believe this course will help me find a job and help my family),” said Archie Buo of Barangay Kinablangan, who used to accept any odd job that came his way.

Archie, 26, is the eldest of six siblings. He serves as the bread winner of the family. His father is a farmer and his mother drowned during the typhoon.

“Ang pagkamatay ng aking ina ay masakit pa rin sa akin lalo na at wala akong nagawa para iligtas siya. Nagtago siya sa ilalim ng lamesa pero bigla na lang siyang nawala noong tumaas ang tubig at lumubog na ang bahay namin (The death of my mother is still painful especially since I was not able to save her. She hid under the table but suddenly vanished when the water rose and flooded our house),” Archie lamented.

“Gagawin ko ang lahat para matapos ko itong training at makahanap ng trabaho. Para ito sa aking ina. Alam kong ikararangal niya ako (I will do my best to graduate from this course and land a job. This is all for my mother. I know she is proud of me),” Archie said.

DSWD also provided P18,000 cash assistance per student for the payment of their tuition fee for the 6-month training.

Aside from the livelihood training that was provided to him, Archie’s family was also among the recipients of a new house built through the Modified Shelter Assistance Program (MSAP) of DSWD in partnership with the Provincial Government.

Baganga Mayor Arturo Monday confirmed that their experience with ‘Pablo’ has taught them to be united and resilient.

“I thanked DSWD for the undying support. DSWD was the first responder among all agencies, and was able to sustain its help through the years, especially in building the permanent shelters. Typhoon Pablo may have shattered many houses, but in the end we were provided with better and more beautiful homes, and livelihood opportunities to start our new life,” Mayor Monday said.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that the road to full recovery and rehabilitation is a long journey but she assured the beneficiaries that building back better is not a remote possibility.

She added that the Department will continue to provide livelihood opportunities and other income generating activities to the survivors to sustain their journey towards normalcy. (DSWD)