Sarangani, Davao Occidental (DSWD XI) -In the southernmost tip of Davao Region lie two remote islands of Balut and Sarangani. These islands are located 13 kilometers from mainland Mindanao and are separated by the Sarangani strait. Most of the people here rely on fishing as their main livelihood. However, not all of them have their own bancas, or the small boats used for small-scale fishing.

Last May 17, 125 non-motorized fishing boats and fishing accessories were turned over to five barangays of the municipality of Sarangani which were distributed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

One of the recipient fisher folks was Mr. Inocencio Dawang who, despite his disability, still strives to provide for his family through fishing.

Kaniadto nga wala pako’y bangka, dili lang ang halin ang tungaon namo sa tag-iya, apil na pud akong mga nakuha nga isda, amo pud nga tungaon (I had to divide with the owner of the boat not only the income I earn from peddling my catch but my whole catch itself, as rent),” he said.

For small-scale fishers in the area, not owning a boat was an everyday dilemma.

Karon nga naa nako’y sarili nako nga bangka, dili nako maguol sa konsumo sa akong pamilya. Kay akoa na tanan halin ug tanan nakong makuha nga isda (Now that I own one, I no longer worry about what I bring home to the family. The income and the catch are all mine).”

The boats given by the Department was a huge relief to the fisher folks in the area. Their income can now be utilized in whole by their families.

Pasalamat kaayo mi’g dako sa gobyerno nga aduna’y ing-ani nga programa nga andam mutabang kanamong mga naningkamot sa kinabuhi ug pareha nako nga bakol (We are very thankful to the government that programs like this exists that is willing to help us people in need and to people like me with disability).”

Kuya Inocencio lives with his wife and three children at Brgy. Camalig, Sarangani Island, Davao Occidental. His testimony is one of the many stories of growth brought about by the efforts of the government in uplifting its people’s present socio-economic conditions.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program aims to provide access to resources that will improve the productivity of the participants’ already existing livelihood. It is open to every Filipino family especially the poor, marginalized, vulnerable, and disadvantaged. (DSWD)