ARMM launches ‘Apat Dapat’ antipoverty drive with 600 of region’s ‘poorest’ families

DAVAO CITY—The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has selected 600 of the “poorest families” to kickstart a short-term regional program in a bid to bring them out of “abject poverty.”

The one-year program would be handled by the ARMM’s Department for Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a devolved agency to the autonomous region, in a program dubbed “Apat Dapat,” which focuses on the four basic needs of a family, namely,  food, water, light and shelter.

DSWD-ARMM Secretary Rahima D. Alba said the program’s pilot run is set to last until December and would start with 40 poorest families in 15 selected ARMM municipalities.

“The program will supplement the ongoing poverty-alleviation initiatives both of the regional and national government. It will follow the four for the poor formula…,” she added.

Alba said the four basic needs “were determined by a study regarding poverty incidence in the region, conducted by the Regional Planning and Development Office [RPDO].”

Major interventions include “ensuring families are housed in secure homes with [their] own water and sanitation system and a basic lighting facility, while providing them with the means to expand their livelihood and achieve food sufficiency along the way,” she added.

“Combating poverty has two phases, the long term and the short term. While the Apat Dapat program is initially a short-term program, gradually, we’re expecting that we’ll earn the necessary experience and milestones for the continuity and expansion of the program into a long-term solution to poverty,” Alba said.

She added that the DSWD would oversee the conduct of case management of every household “to ensure that the program will meet its goals.” The program would be coordinated with the Department of Health’s rural health units to monitor and ensure the good health of each participant.

The 15 pilot municipalities would be taken from three municipalities in every province of the ARMM with 40 family beneficiaries in every municipality.

The pilot municipalities are Matanog, Barira and Datu Anggal Midtimbang in Maguindanao; Balindong, Lumba-Bayabao and Taraka in Lanao del Sur; Tuburan, Tipu-Tipo, and Sumisip in Basilan; Talipao, Parang and Pandami in Sulu; and Tandubas, Simunul and Sibutu in Tawi-Tawi.

Alba said that the program would take a special focus on food sufficiency as a key tool to address poverty.

“Ensuring food sufficiency and livelihood are the first of the four components of the Apat Dapat program, involves four modalities: satisfying every families’ recommended dietary allowance for protein and energy;  identifying what livelihood is best for the families and providing the necessary livelihood training; encouraging families to put up small livelihood activities, such as backyard gardening and poultry raising, that can support food sufficiency; and gradually transitioning the livelihood activities from being food security measure to also being a source of income for the families,” she said.

“Along with continued support in construction of solar dryers and warehouse, as well as the provision of equipment and machineries, we are making sure that every family in a community can live a life where their needs are met through the Apat Dapat program,” Alba added, referring to the highly rural character of the region, where the poorest also reside.

The World Food Program, she added, will likewise participate “to ensure the sustainability of the food security program, with inputs from the World Bank.”

“We hope that the Apat Dapat program’s focused approach will prove to be a good fit alongside the broader approaches taken by our existing antipoverty initiatives, all of which are community-driven development projects,” Alba added.

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