DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman graced the launching of the Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty (ASAP) program during the Salubungan in Camarines Sur held on May 6 at the CWC Convention Center, Provincial Capitol Complex in Pili, Camarines Sur. In her opening message, Secretary Soliman explained that the ASAP program seeks to accelerate poverty reduction efforts by creating sustainable employment and income-generating opportunities for the poor.
The ASAP is a priority program of the human development and poverty reduction (HDPR) and economic development clusters of the cabinet, headed by the DSWD and NEDA, respectively. It covers ten provinces nationwide with the highest number of poor population, including the province of Camarines Sur with an estimated 771,984 poor individuals.
NEDA Regional Director Agnes Espinas presented the framework of the ASAP, which is founded on the Philippine Development Plan’s goal of inclusive growth and poverty reduction. Through the ASAP, she explained that the poor will be engaged either as source of labor or as source of raw materials for the business and social enterprises by the private sector and civil society oranizations and for the ongoing programs and projects of the government.
Mr. Jay Carizo of the National Anti-Poverty Commission presented the criteria for selecting four pilot areas in Camarines Sur, which are secondary growth hubs with high magnitude of poor, high trade, and high in-migration. These are Iriga City, Libmanan, Sipocot, and Bato. Based on the hub and spokes model, these areas have the highest potential in creating economic impact and poverty reduction.
DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia and NEDA Assistant Regional Director Cynthia Berces presented the programs and projects of government and the preliminary list of potential core enterprises where the poor may be engaged, either as source of labor or as source of raw materials. A panel of discussants and the plenary affirmed the initial list of core enterprises per hub, added potential products in the value chains, and suggested additional enterprises for development and expansion. A valuable insight was shared on the engagement of social enterprises (e.g., cooperatives) in the area that may be developed into “corporatives”.
DENR Assistant Regional Director Al Orolfo presented the next steps, which include the organization and orientation of ASAP municipal inter-agency committees, detailed scoping and planning per hub, preparation of work and financial plan, program implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.