From drug surrenderers to microentrepreneurs

Santol, LA UNION — The Local Government of Santol, La Union had turned its drug surrenders, also called as katipuneros, as productive mircoentrepeneurs through the implementation of DSWD’s “Yakap Bayan”, a program that aims to turn recovering drug dependents to community leaders and volunteers, and active citizens in the society.

Part of the reintegration program is the provision of seed capital fund to the beneficiaries to start and/or improve their chosen income-generating activities. In April 2018, DSWD Field Office 1 – Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) granted PhP158,000.00 seed fund to the 65 members of Pare SLP Association for their furniture and soft broom making, and food processing projects.

“Marami ang binigay na mga training sa amin sa loob ng anim na buwan pero mas pinili ko ang furniture making dahil marami akong tanim na mga puno. Gusto ko, ako ang gumawa at magbenta (There are lots of trainings that they have provided to us within six months, however, I chose furniture making because I owned plenty of trees. I want that I will be the one to make and sell furniture), said “Cardo”, a volunteer drug surrender from Brgy. Mangaan.

Now, Cardo is earning decent money and supplying furniture to April Joy Home Decors and Furniture, one of the biggest furniture retailers in Region 1. Cardo also employed his co-drug surrenderers as furniture makers in his budding business.

Meanwhile, Eliza Olario, former marijuana courier, shared that after her six months stay in the Camp, she can now sleep well. She had also realized that if she was caught by the police because of selling marijuana, she cannot able to hug her children again. The program provided her to value more her family. Eliza, one of the recipients of the SLP seed fund is now selling banana chips and earns a daily average income of Php200.00, a great help to augment for their day-to-day requirements.

“Sa tulong ng iba’t-ibang line agencies na nandiyan araw-araw sa loob ng six months, ang mga drug surrenderers ay marunong ng manalangin. Iba’t-iba ang natutunan nila gaya ng livelihood sa ating community-based rehabilitation (In six months, through the daily help of various national line agencies, the drug surrenders learned how to pray. There have also learned different undertakings such as livelihood through the community-based rehabilitation program), Santol Mayor Magno A. Wailan said.

Santol’s “Yakap Bayan” was launched in 2017 not only to provide rehabilitation, aftercare, transformation, and reintegration support for recovering drug surrenderers but it intends to help create a safe society for the new generation.