SULU – Thousands of people on Thursday participated on a caravan launched in Sulu province by the Department of Social Welfare and Development or DSWD in the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao.
Regional Vice Governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman, who is also the DSWD regional Secretary, led the Caravan 2016, along with Sulu Governor Totoh Tan, who was the guest of honor.
Tan, in his speech, quoted Indian politician Pratibha Patil, and said: “Our foremost priority is the removal of poverty, hunger and malnutrition, disease and illiteracy. All social welfare programs must be implemented efficiently. Agencies involved in the delivery of services should have a strong sense of duty and work in a transparent, corruption-free, time-bound and accountable manner.”
He said the government is focusing its efforts towards narrowing the gap between the haves and the have-nots and to ease somehow the burden of this sector. Various government programs have been implemented and one of these is the so-called Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, but this will not dramatically change the equation, according to the governor.
“The people cannot continue to rely on government for dole outs and subsidies and long-term solutions are called for. A challenging situation where trials and tribulations are abound, perhaps it is our attitude, our mind set that we ought to change. When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves,” he said.
Both Lucman and Tan also led the ceremonial pay out of social pension to beneficiaries. They also distributed food packs and relief goods to the locals and turned over a proposed livelihood facility of PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program, and children’s supplementary feeding program.
The DSWD-ARMM thanked Tan for his unconditional support to the programs of the agencies and cited the provincial government as a “good partner in any endeavour towards peace and progress in Sulu.” (Ahl-franzie Salinas)