Manay, Davao Oriental (DSWD XI) -The Danao Fish Cage Sustainable Livelihood Association here, comprising 20 participants of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), ventured into tilapia production upon receiving its Php 200,000.00 seed capital fund last May.

All 20 of these participants, mostly men, helped in making five fish cages located at a fresh water lake in the heart of the forest of Sitio Danao, almost an hour’s walk from the poblacion.

Ang uban sa among mga miyembro, aduna na’y mga fish cages kaniadtoPero tanan guba adtong pag-hampak sa maong bagyo (Some of our members used to own fish cages but all were destroyed by the wrath of said typhoon),” Delmo Mandabon, president of the association, recalled how typhoon Agaton had devastated some of their members’ fish cages in 2014. “Dako kaayo among pasalamat nga ang tabang sa gobyerno amo nang naangkon pinaagi sa SLP (We are very thankful to have finally obtained the help of government through SLP).”

The members had to walk almost an hour from their homes to get to the lake. The location was one of their concerns. “Gituyo siguro sa Ginoo nga itago ang maong lawa aron kami nga mga lumulupyo gyud ang makagamit (God must have a purpose in keeping the lake hidden, reserving it solely for us).”

Every day for 24 hours, three members of the association do the shift in feeding and guarding the fishes and fish cages. The tilapias are fed three times a day. The production began May of this year and is scheduled to harvest more or less a thousand kilograms this November.

They are all Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries and are proud members of the Mandaya ethnic group.

“Daghan na mianhi diri sa among lugar, tabangan daw mi nila. Pero sukad-sukad, DSWD ra gyu’y mitabang sa amoa (Many have come here and promised to help us yet so far, it’s only DSWD that really helped us).”

The Sustainable Livelihood Program seeks to help lift poor households out of poverty by supporting them develop their own micro-enterprise by looking at available resources and accessible markets. (DSWD)