Despite the country’s recent economic growth there are about 1,027,183 individuals aged 15 years old and above categorized as poor individuals in Central Visayas identified by the DSWD’s National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction or NHTS-PR household assessment. Forty-three percent or 441,291 of these are without any occupation.

Meanwhile, 25.3% of these poor individuals both in urban and rural areas are engaged in agricultural jobs like fishing and farming, 15.8% enlisted are into skilled and labor works. A large scale of up to 43% is not having any source of income. Most of these poor individuals with no occupation are found in Cebu with 234,483, followed by Bohol with 111,426, Negros Oriental with 88,024 and Siquijor with 7,358. This data shows that poverty resulting from unemployment is still a major issue confronting the country.

The DSWD addresses the underlying concerns and issues through its core social protection programs namely the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS); and the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

In dealing with the issue on unemployment, the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) is introduced as a community-based program capacity building strategies to improve the poor and the disadvantaged individual’s socio economic status. Beneficiaries of SLP are chosen based on the list by NHTS-PR, an information and management system that identifies who and where the poor are in the country.

As a component of the Convergence Strategy, the program also aims to serve the beneficiaries of the Pantawtid Pamilya to sustain and expand beyond their five-year intervention period.

DSWD-7 urged the newly elected legislators and local chief executives to use the available data to formulate appropriate social protection programs and services specifically to address the unemployment problem in their locality.

There are currently 127 towns and cities in the region which had already entered into a MOA with the DSWD-7 for data sharing and utilization.

Other than the government agencies, NGOs like the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), Outreach Program on Trainings, Integral Organizing and Networking for Solidarity Inc. (OPTIONS) and Alay Lakad Foundation have also signed a pact with the office for its use. (PR- Kerwin R. Macopia)