The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has earmarked more than Php1.4 billion budget for 2024 that will fund its projects geared towards easing the effects of the El Niño phenomenon, an agency official said during the DSWD Thursday Media Forum at the Central Office’s New Press Center in Quezon City.

Special Assistant to the Secretary (SAS) for Special Projects Maria Isabel Lanada told reporters the allocated budget will be used to fund the DSWD’s  initiatives dubbed as Local Adaptation to Water Access (Project Lawa) and Breaking Insufficiency through Nutritious Harvest for the Impoverished (Project BINHI).

Projects LAWA at BINHI are proactive interventions and sustainable solutions to combat hunger, alleviate poverty, and decrease economic vulnerability of the communities by addressing food insecurity and water scarcity that are exacerbated by climate change and disasters.

“’Yong Project LAWA ay nagkaroon na tayo ng pilot implementation last year. Ito ay ginawa sa Davao de Oro sa Mindanao, Ifugao sa Luzon, at Antique sa Visayas. Ito ay angkop na pamamaraan o teknolohiya upang magkaroon ng water availability sa mga communities,” SAS Lanada said at the weekly media forum on February 29.

(For project LAWA we already had pilot implementation last year. This was done in Davao de Oro for Mindanao, Ifugao for Luzon, and Antique for Visayas. This is an appropriate technology to have water availability in communities.)

SAS Lanada pointed out that during the pilot testing, it was noted that people do not only need water but also nutritious food to ensure their survival and productivity.

“Dito sa pilot testing, nakita natin na hindi lamang tubig ang kailangan ng tao. Kailangan din nila ng pagkain. Ang mandato ng DSWD ay poverty alleviation, hunger mitigation. Focused kami sa food security kaya nabuo ang Project Binhi,” SAS Lanada pointed out.

(During the pilot testing , we noted that people do not only need water but also food. With the mandate of DSWD being on poverty alleviation and hunger mitigation, we also focused on food security. This is how the Project BINHI came about.)

The special assistant to the secretary emphasized that the full blast implementation for this year will focus on Projects LAWA and BINHI.

Both projects, according to SAS Lanada, will provide Learning and Development Sessions (LDS) on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCAM-DRR), and cash-for-work (CFW) and cash-for-training (CFT) to beneficiaries in priority areas exposed to the effects of El Niño.

The projects are also science and data-driven and are based on the Climate Outlook of the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA)  with the most number of poor families based on Listahanan 3, SAS Lanada explained.

“The target beneficiaries include families of farmers, fisher folk, indigenous peoples, and other climate and disaster-vulnerable families,” SAS Lanada said.

Each beneficiary will be given the opportunity to participate in CFTW activities for 10 to 25 days with the corresponding daily wage based on the prevailing Regional Daily Minimum Wage Rate (RDMWR) range of the project area.

Among the projects that the beneficiaries will partake in are related to water efficiency such as construction of small farm reservoir (SFRs); repairs and rehabilitation of water harvesting facilities; repairs of multipurpose water infrastructures; diversification of water supplies; aqua or hydroponics; and aquaculture, among others.

For food security, the beneficiaries will be participating in activities such as communal vegetable gardening; urban gardening; school-based and community-based vegetable gardening; community-based diversified integrated farming; planting of disaster resilient crops, fruit-bearing trees, and mangroves; and vermicomposting.

For 2024, Projects LAWA and BINHI will be implemented in 294 cities/municipalities in 58 provinces in 16 regions.  Ten SFRs will be constructed in every participating city/municipality with a total of 2,940.

“Sa ngayon ay may 290 nang nagagawang lawa out of the more than 2,000 that will be constructed this year,” SAS Lanada reported.

The DSWD official recognized that people’s participation is one factor in the success of Projects LAWA and BINHI. #