The Department of Social Welfare and Development 6 has a total of PhP524 million of calamity funds for Boracay residents and workers who will be affected by the temporary closure of the island.
But Regional Director Rebecca Geamala stressed that it will be utilized in implementing Cash for Work program and Sustainable Livelihood Program.
Also, immediate assistance for transportation, education, medical and burial can be extended through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program with a total allocation of PhP80 million.
AICS can be availed by residents who will be affected by the Boracay closure as well as of formal and informal workers including their families.
Geamala clarified that no cash dole-out from the calamity funds will be given to Boracay residents.
“We cannot do that here in Boracay Island. There were no houses damaged by a typhoon or natural calamity. This is not like Yolanda when houses were damaged and thus Emergency Shelter Assistance was released to affected families,” Geamala stressed.
“We want the people to participate in saving Boracay. We also want them to have alternative livelihood that does not just depend on tourism. A one-industry economy is always risky. But if a family has other ways of earning, it will be a big help,” she said.
Those who will be hired through the Cash for Work program of the DSWD will be helping in the cleaning of the wetlands, forestlands and shoreline of Boracay.
“The Cash for Work program will only be implemented in the three barangays of Boracay which is under state of calamity,” said Geamala.
Geamala said that the agency is fielding experts on Sustainable Livelihood in the Island to coach the people on having income-generating projects, facilitate their training and employment depending on their skills.
“We believe that the people have the capacity to lift themselves out of poverty. We believe in the resiliency of the people in Boracay. Cash dole outs could not last for long. But livelihood intervention could go beyond the six-month period and even open up other opportunities for them,” she said.
As of May 7, a total of PhP12,369,500.00 was already disbursed by DSWD as transportation assistance to some 5,244 displaced workers in Boracay. Geamala said the transportation aid is just the first part of assistance of DSWD to the workers.
“Workers who have received transportation aid from DSWD 6 are referred to their respective regions or provinces where they will go home. From there, they could access to other DSWD programs except for cash for work,” Geamala said.
The DSWD also continue to administer the Disaster Assistance Family Access Card (DAFAC) in the three barangays in Boracay.
This is to assess the needs of the households and to evaluate which program they could avail from DSWD.
For its Cash for Work Program, the DSWD has allocated a total of PhP77 million while PhP280 million was allocated for Sustainable Livelihood Program.
The DSWD project development officers are now assessing communities for livelihood intervention.