Livelihood Assistance Grant beneficiary Florante Sabinicio shares his story during an interview.

“Agyamanak ti DSWD ta dakkel a tulong detuy tapnu adda paggatang ko ti matmateryales ta isu talaga iti kasapulak tatta (I am grateful to DSWD’s help, I can now purchase raw materials since this is what I need now), said Mr. Florante Sabinicio, a 44-year-old furniture maker and a Livelihood Assistance Grant (LAG) beneficiary from Balungao, Pangasinan.

Sabinicio is one of the 116 LAG recipients who received cash assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 last 29 April 2021.

After fully recovering from a road accident that happened in 2018, he started furniture making business in 2020 to support the need of his family of five. People in his community often engage him to create dining tables, chairs, cabinets, and others. However, due to the pandemic, his projects were reduced as some of his regular clients were laid off.

“Awan makuwarkuwarta ita ti tattao ta adu naikkat iti pagtrabahoan ket imbes nga agpaaramid da iti muwebles, unaen da pay iti aggatang ti kanen da. (People do not have enough money since a lot were laid off from work. Instead of hiring me to make furniture, their main priority is to feed their families), explained Sabinicio.

Meanwhile, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) Susana I. Ballano mentioned of the LGU’s programs on livelihood and health for those in need like Sabinicio. “The local government of Balungao is taking all the necessary measures to support its constituents this time of crisis,” MSWDO Ballano said.

“Napakalaking hamon para sa aming mga taga Balungao ang pandemyang kinakaharap natin ngayon. Dahil sa LAG, nabigyan kami ng mga kababayan ko ng bagong pag-asa para makaahon muli (This pandemic we are facing is indeed a great challenge for us people of Balungao. Because of LAG, we were given new hope to rise again),” Ballano added. As of writing, more than PhP 83.1 million total cash assistance was already distributed in the region with over 10 thousand individuals benefited since it started September 2020. (by: Radz Bismonte, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)