Enhancing Lives through Livelihood Programs in the Philippines


Concerned that doors are not opening for you? Experiencing a vast number of employment rejections? Finding difficulty to come up with ways to meet your financial needs in the midst of pandemic? Do not lose hope because the government and certain organizations had started several livelihood programs in the Philippines to assist you in your desire of having a sustainable living.

Philippines is classified as a third-world country which implies that the nation has a high poverty rate and economic instability. With this, a huge number of the Filipino population has limited access to basic necessities caused by financial constraints. Furthermore, education, which is a basic need and unquestionably the most effective instrument for escaping poverty, is increasingly becoming a privilege rather than a right for all Filipinos. Adding the pandemic’s continuous impact on the country’s rate of unemployment and poverty, attaining education is getting more difficult than ever. 

In this situation, instead of acquiring a diploma, a lot of Filipinos resort on applying to different works that mostly require human labor or works not requiring high educational attainment. Others go overseas in the hopes of a higher wages or better opportunity to satisfy their family’s daily necessities. Nonetheless, these jobs necessitate trainings, and these can be financially burdensome for job seekers coming from low-income backgrounds. Also, labor is not for everyone, and even when a person is trained, certain jobs may not suit his total capabilities.

 By this means, livelihood programs are extremely beneficial as these provide Filipinos with options and assistance in situations where employment is not possible or they provide them with the necessary capabilities (skills or knowledge) to support their venture with the goal of meeting their household’s basic needs. In the Philippines, the government and non-government organizations (NGOs) launched several livelihood programs which focuses on providing equitable opportunity for the marginalized sector to improve their socio-economic conditions through a variety of means including trainings and financial aid in preparation for their long-term subsistence. 

Here are some of the shortlisted government and NGO-initiated livelihood programs in the Philippines:

A. Sustainable Livelihood Program

The government-initiated livelihood programs in the Philippines are led by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). One of the programs which helps Filipinos is the Sustainable Livelihood Program or SLP which is primarily established, by the essence of the Philippine Constitution, to provide equitable opportunities and wealth distribution among the Filipino citizens to improve their quality of life especially those underprivileged. It also aims to reduce poverty rates in the Philippines through facilitating livelihood programs in the form of jobs, training, and even cash assistance to Filipinos. The microenterprise development track and the employment facilitation track are the two techniques used to conduct this program. The microenterprise development track focuses on providing Filipinos with financial capital, entrepreneurial expertise, and skills training in order to help them become small company owners. Furthermore, the employment facilitation track gives Filipinos with skills training to help them improve their capacity by providing them with additional knowledge and expertise that will give them an advantage in the job market.

B. Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program

Another famous livelihood program in the Philippines is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or better known as 4Ps. This is established through the enactment of Republic Act No. 11310 and such program is led by the DSWD. Unlike the sustainable livelihood program, it has two objectives which includes social assistance and social development. Children of the Filipino household are the main beneficiaries of this program as it aims to provide a short-term solution to the poverty experienced by the family with cash funding which may be used as a support in their food and educational requirements satisfied through finances. Such provides an avenue for beneficiaries to help them pursue their endeavors and lead their family away from poverty. 

C. Government-Partnered/Non-Government Initiated Livelihood Programs

1. Villar SIPAG

Social responsibility as the guiding principle, this non-government organization advocates for the empowerment of the poor and underprivileged through different programs which help Filipinos gain a productive life such as nutrition caravan, medical missions, livelihood and entrepreneurship.

Focusing on livelihood, Villar SIPAG launched Caravan Kaalaman in 1993 as the program believes that “the best way to help the poor fight poverty is by providing them the skills and access to resources and materials to start their own business.” Additionally, the spirit of entrepreneurship is wanted to be ignited by the organization so it launched Pondo sa Sipag Puhunan sa Tiyaga Awards to inspire Filipinos to take part in nation-building through entrepreneurship and the stories of the successful microentrepreneurs. Promotion of entrepreneurship does not also provide wealth to the business owners but also facilitates availability of jobs to their fellow Filipinos.

2. Childhope’s Livelihood Programs

Childhope Philippines, from its name, focuses on empowering youth as it acknowledges that not all have access to education. With this, it launched Street Youth Empowerment Project (SYEP) which has a goal of help the out-of-school youth to learn basic food processing and soapmaking to provide them knowledge and skill on low capital businesses to help them sustain their daily living with hopes of starting a related business venture in the future. 

3. ADB-Funded Livelihood Program

Asian Development Bank, in partnership with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), launched a livelihood program targeting many families in Negros Occidental. Its program started a pilot testing in 2018 and focused on giving agricultural support as the area is an agricultural province. However, due to the months-long lockdown brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, employment and market were halted. Fortunately, the pilot testing of this program gave light to the residents as it enabled the community to feed their families and supply food to their fellow residents. This emphasized the importance of livelihood especially to small communities that are vulnerable to economic instability brought by unforeseen events. 

Long-Term Impact of Livelihood Program on its Beneficiaries

Looking back on the ultimate purpose of livelihood program in the Philippines, which is to alleviate people from poverty, it opens possibilities to the underprivileged even if they do not have a high educational attainment. The most important for people is to gain enough finances to acquire their fundamental necessities such as education, food, house, clothes and many more. If the beneficiary makes the most of his livelihood initiatives, he may be able to ensure his own survival or develop socially, giving him enough money to engage in more profitable activities such as investing. In the case of micro enterprises, as it grows, it helps alleviate the employment problems of the nation which incidentally and positively impacts the poverty rate of the Philippines thereby decreasing the population with little to no access on fundamental necessities. 

Moreover, having a good employment or fruitful business enable you to have better financial capability which leads you on gaining attention on property investments. Housing may be considered a goal of each Filipino household. In fact, this is considered an investment as well. However, every individual worries about the financing of real estates. With Bria Homes, it helps you gain privilege and give value to your hard work through its affordable house and lot offers which can be availed through Pag-IBIG housing loan. It acknowledges the importance of home as a place of comfort and symbol of somewhat a successful life and fruit of hard work. By this means, Bria supports you in reaching your goal of slowly improving the socio-economic condition of your household thereby helping you on gradually escaping poverty. 

This serves as a reminder for the underprivileged to never lose hope as the government and particular organizations will open doors for you to help you acquire the privilege you deserve and hopefully, create an individual that will make a greater impact in the society through the commencement of new livelihood programs to support the never-ending fight of the Philippines against poverty.