Regional Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo and Bayambang Mayor Cezar T. Quiambao received the award during the 68th Anniversary Celebration of the Department.
The Local Government of Bayambang, Pangasinan bested other 17 entries for the 2019 Gawad Paglingkod sa Sambayanan (GAPAS) Award for Best Local Government Unit (LGU) implementing Outstanding Micro-enterprise Model of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The award acknowledges and commends the efforts of the LGU that have continuously supported the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Agency.
Highlighting the microenterprise partnership projects with DSWD in the Municipality from 2016 to 2018, a total of 930 participants were served under the DSWD-SLP. Nineteen (19) SLP Associations and one cooperative were established to have legal identities and have access to financial institutions and programs and services of other partner stakeholders like the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), and Kasama Kita sa Barangay Foundation, Incorporated (KKBFI), among others.
Cooperative Development Leading to Sustainable Employment
The Masagana SLP Producers Cooperative of Bayambang, accredited by the CDA on 15 February 2018, is a growing business entity run by 23 Pantawid Pamilya sewers.
The SLP participants who completed a month-long Skills Training in Dressmaking on 22 December 2017 and received starter kits from the DSWD were later organized into an association.  The meals and snacks of the trainees were shouldered by the LGU while the training venue was sponsored by the KKBFI, a private institution helping the LGU provide the needed socio-economic assistance in the Municipality.
Applying the learnings during the training, the Association was able to produce quality doormats, eco bags, bed sheets, and quilted sofa sheets which are sold at very affordable prices.

With the LGU’s Ordinance No. 19 Series of 2017 regulating the use of plastic cellophanes, sando bags, and polysterene, the Association was tapped as the sole eco-bag supplier for various LGU activities. The LGU endorsed the products to adjacent municipalities. The KKBFI also tapped the Association as its exclusive eco-bag supplier helping bridge its products to wider market opportunities while the DTI provided technical assistance on the use of social media for the promotion of the Cooperative’s products.

Members of the Masagana SLP Producers Cooperative with DSWD and LGU Bayambang staff during the mini-factory opening. (Photo credits to LGU Bayambang)

As an additional assistance to the Cooperative, the LGU passed Resolution No. 79, Series of 2018 also known as “Resolution Designating a Cooperative Mini-factory Including Separate Electric Lines in Barangay Pantol.” The said mini-factory that officially started operating on 22 November 2018 houses 15 sewing machines and sewing materials needed for the production of the Cooperative’s products. Likewise, it is used as the Barangay Evacuation Center during disaster. The Cooperative generated an income of PhP120,000.00 which was divided equally among its members in 2018.

More Budding Businesses

Apart from the cooperative, various SLP Associations that were organized and funded by the DSWD-SLP have received assistance from the LGU. The Broiler Raisers SLP Association established in 2016 received additional livelihood assistance such as fish cages and jetmatic pump from the LGU and BFAR for its tilapia aquaculture business. The members were later trained on mushroom production by the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) in partnership with Tarlac Agriculture University for additional income.
The Manambong Sur Fisherfolks SLP Association completed the Skills Training in Carabao-based Enterprise in partnership with the PCC. The LGU provided the carabao pen of the livestock. To increase the Association’s income, it also ventured in tilapia aquaculture business. The BFAR provided tilapia fingerlings and net while the KKBFI shouldered the excavation expense of the pond amounting to PhP50,000.00 for the inland fishery business. The lot where the pond was established is owned by one of the members. Devastated by typhoon in June 2018 leaving the Association no income, the LGU allotted PhP50,380.00 for the procurement of fingerlings, nets, and feeds to restore their livelihood.
A quarantine area located at Brgy. Tanolong was also provided by the LGU for the Goat Raisers of Bayambang SLP Association. It was established by the MAO as a restraint facility for examination of livestock being brought inside the municipality to ensure that no communicable disease shall infect other livestock.
On 30 October 2017, the Bayambangueña Pasalubong Center and Tourist Assistance Center were opened to promote the town to visitors while providing means of livelihood to local product makers which include the SLP Associations.
Seven (7) Livelihood Focals were appointed by the LGU to help DSWD-SLP staff monitor the progress of the livelihood projects implemented in the Municipality and to provide additional technical assistance needed. The LGU also hired an Action Desk Officer in Livelihood and Skills Training to assist the Municipal Mayor in developing strategies to implement sustainable livelihood programs for the Municipality and in analyzing priorities and skills development that will strengthen and / or generate employment opportunities.
Last year, the Local Government of Anda, Pangasinan won the said award among the 17 regions. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)