SoCot overflows with Social Services

Koronadal City, South Cotabato – In terms of social services, from 2019 to 2020, the Provincial Government of South Cotabato (PGSC) was able to help and assist a total of 42,968 individuals through the Office of the Governor and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), Governor Reynaldo S. Tamayo, Jr announced during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) on February 8, 2021.

The Office of the Governor at the Provincial Capitol is open every day, from Monday to Sunday, including holidays. This is to ensure that the provincial government’s services are readily available all the time, especially in times of need.

In 2019, the HOPE (Holding Opportunity for Productive Entrepreneurship thru Credit Assistance) Program was launched. It is a new livelihood program that aims to provide business opportunities for South Cotabateños at the grassroots level, in order to have a chance to increase their daily earnings.

During its first year, six (6) associations were given a total cash assistance of P1,650,000.00, and in 2020, eleven (11) groups received an amount of P3,225,000.00 from the PGSC.

“Ngayong taon, dahil sa pandemic at alam nating hirap ang ating mga kababayan at kinakailangang makabangon, gumawa tayo ng isang programang posibleng aangat sa kanilang pamumuhay. Ito ang ANGAT (Alalay sa Negosyo, Ginhawa at Trabaho),” said Governor Tamayo.

Under the ANGAT Program, the provincial government allocated at least eleven million pesos (P11M) which was granted to different associations all over the province. The governor made sure that the distribution in every local government unit (LGU) in South Cotabato was fair and equal.

In 2020, Governor Tamayo initiated the Free Funeral Services for indigent families, wherein coffins, embalming services, and the transfer of bodies of deceased patients from the funeral homes to their respective houses, and even up to the cemeteries are all provided by the provincial government. Regardless of the distance, these services may still be availed of for free.

For Muslim patients, on the other hand, the PGSC provides pieces of cloth, since under the Islamic faith, the body is washed and covered with a cloth/sheet by family members immediately after death.

The governor also reported that before the occurrence of COVID-19, he was able to finish visiting seven (7) barangays in South Cotabato. This program is called “Probinsya sa Barangay” wherein basic social services of the provincial government are being delivered to the barangays, especially the far-flung ones.

Through this initiative, Governor Tamayo personally inspects and monitors every barangay, and sees to it that through his conversations with the barangay officials and sitio leaders, he would be able to know which services are primarily needed by their residents. He also inquires regarding their personal circumstances and the recent happenings around these communities in order to be updated and involved with their affairs.

“Bago pa man nagkaroon ng pandemic ay nakapagtapos tayo ng pitong barangayan o Probinsya sa Barangay na kung saan dinadala natin ang serbisyo ng probinsya sa mga barangay. Ito yung pamamaraan na pinaparating natin sa ating mga kababayan na ang serbisyo ng probinsya ay abot-kamay ng taong bayan.  Pagkatapos ng pandemyang ito, sisiguraduhin kong dadalhin ko ang buong serbisyo ng probinsya sa lahat ng mga barangay sa buong lalawigan,” he proudly declared.

The governor added, “Kung mapapansin ninyo, umiikot ako sa mga barangay. Kinakausap ko ang mga barangay officials at ang kanilang mga organisasyon upang direkta kong malaman ang mga problema at sitwasyon ng lahat ng mga barangay sa probinsya. Nakipag pulong pulong din tayo sa mga kababayan natin doon upang ang mga programa ng gobyerno ay akma sa mga pangangailangan ng taong bayan.”

Meanwhile, to give equal opportunities to all the ethnic groups and tribes in the provincec, deputy governors for Muslim Affairs and the Indigenous People were appointed by the governor.

“Sina Sultan Rahman Ibrahim at Fulong Arnold Palate Guerero ang magiging katuwang ko upang maparamdam sa kanilang mga nasasakupan na ang administrasyong ito ay walang diskriminasyon at ang lahat ay may pantay-pantay na oportunidad sa ating probinsya at walang rason na hindi tayo magkaisa,” said the local chief executive.

In terms of peace and order, one hundred ninety seven (197) members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were successfully encouraged to surrender and return to the fold of the law in a span of only one (1) year.

The governor described this as an indication that the provincial government has regained the trust and confidence of these former rebels.

In the same way, the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office (SCPPO) was recognized as the best police provincial office in the entire region for its efforts in maintaining the peace and order in the province.

Finally, one of the greatest accomplishments of the governor’s first year in service is its own “Balay Silangan” Reformatory Center. It is one of the few rehabilitation centers in the country established for the reformation of youth who were once involved in illegal drugs. It provides holistic approach among its clients through various programs and activities, such as continuing education, skills and livelihood training, health awareness activities, psychological, spiritual, physical activities, and moral recovery values formation.

“Naniniwala ako na ang lahat ay may panahon pang magbago. Sa ngayon ay meron nang 125 na mga kliyente ang ating naireporma at nakabalik na sa kanilang pamilya,” Governor Tamayo stated.