There could never be a more appropriate name for the livelihood group of some 84 recovering drug personalities (RDPs) from La Paz District, Iloilo City than “New Life Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) Association” which very well reflects their commitment to move on from their dark past and begin a new chapter in their lives.

These 84 RDPs, who completed the Yakap Bayan Framework of Intervention (Yakap Bayan) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), are now new entrepreneurs in their own right.

DSWD, through Yakap Bayan, has worked closely with various line agencies and local government units (LGUs) to weave together existing government programs, projects, resources, and activities in order to create a holistic and sustainable approach for the rehabilitation, aftercare, reintegration, and provision of support systems for RDPs, their families, and their communities.

Part of the Yakap Bayan interventions is the provision of livelihood assistance to RDPs and their families through the DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program.

For their project, members of the New Life SLP Association chose to operate a laundry business which they set up at Barangay San Pedro, Lapaz District, Iloilo City.

The business was financed through SLP’s seed capital fund amounting to P840,000 or P10,000 per member.

Quick Labada, as the members call it, offers laundry services at cheaper rates to residents within their community and neighboring areas.

“With the busy lifestyle of people nowadays, this line of business is a demand for many. We hope that we could access funding to buy a tricycle so we could also deliver finished laundry to households and thus gain more profit,” Roberto Dequina, the association president, said.

Roberto and the rest of the association shared that managing the laundry business on their own is a life-changing experience.

“This kind of life is way better than the life which we used to have. It is more peaceful. We encourage other drug dependents to stop using illegal drugs and to undergo rehabilitation. Through this, we get to have another chance in life and in a way, reestablish our connection with our families, especially our children,” he said.

Aside from the livelihood assistance given by DSWD, members also received additional funding of P10,000 each from the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) of Iloilo City.  Medical assistance totalling to P107,000 was, likewise, provided to them by the CSWDO for their complete rehabilitation and recovery.

DSWD also tapped the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC) to hold a lecture-discussion for the members.  The chosen topic for the activity was positive disciplining which proved to be useful for members who have children.  This further enhanced their parenting skills to provide guidance and direction to their children so that they would tread the right path when they grow up.

Moreover, DSWD partnered with the CSWDO, headed by the focal person on Aftercare Services, and with the practicum students of Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the Central Philippines University for the conduct of a team building activity for the members to enhance their camaraderie.

With the leadership of Roberto, cooperation of the other members, and the downpour of  help from various sectors, the association continues to be inspired to make their new endeavor successful, proving once again, that there is always a second chance in life. -30-