Koronadal City, South Cotabato – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 12 partnered with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) 12 and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) 12 to provide livelihood opportunities to the Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) in Region 12.

The collaboration dubbed “Skills Innovation and Knowledge Adaptation of PDLs in Entrepreneurship” or “Project SIKAP Entrep” aims to synergize the different services of the partner agencies, DTI-CHR-BJMP, in providing technical assistance to the PDLs of Region 12 through the conduct of inventory of PDLs engaged into producing homestyle and wearable products, provision of product assessment and development consultation, business management training, and marketing and promotion.

As an initial endeavor, the collaborating agencies engaged in a two-day visit to jail facilities around Region 12 to conduct an inventory of products and preliminary assessment through DTI’s One Town, One Product (OTOP) Program.

The conduct of product inventory and assessment which was made on October 13 to 14, 2022 in the cities of Kidapawan, Tacurong, General Santos, and Koronadal and the municipality of Polomolok, adopted the OTOP’s Assessment, Consultation and Triage (ACT) paradigm where technical staff from DTI provided recommendations on how to further improve the products with seen high market potential, as well as give recommendations for a halt in the production of products with high production cost, intensive labor need, and low market viability.

OTOP is a priority stimulus program for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as the government’s customized intervention to drive inclusive local economic growth through provision of assistance to capacitate MSMEs and provide market access.

In an interview, DTI 12 OIC-Regional Director Flora Politud-Gabunales said that the collaboration is both a novel and noble initiative as it will provide an avenue for the PDLs to earn income to support their families even though they are within the confines of the jail and detention facilities.

“This endeavor is a welcome partnership with CHR and BJMP to employ the technical expertise of DTI to develop the products of the PDLs to make them marketable and competitive in terms of quality and pricing. We are also very happy to extend our assistance in honing the talents of the PDLs and provide economic opportunities for them so they can still support their families,” said Politud-Gabunales.

Politud-Gabunales also added that DTI 12 will hold the Treasures of Region 12 Trade Fair on November 15 to 20, 2022 in General Santos City where a special setting booth will be mounted to showcase and offer for sale the improved products of the PDLs.

The Treasures of Region 12 Trade Fair is an annual trade exhibit organized by DTI 12 to promote and market test the products of the MSMEs being assisted by the agency through its various business, and product development programs.

Meanwhile, Mae Galong, Attorney IV of the CHR, said that aside from providing technical assistance to the PDLs, the project will also enhance the coordination and cooperation among government institutions with mandates to improve the living conditions of the jail and detention facilities.

Across the region, the BJMP has assigned Unit Welfare and Development Officers under the PDL Welfare and Development Program to provide the initial assistance to the PDLs in producing products so they can earn for their upkeep and financial support for their families.

With the implementation of the Project SIKAP Entrep, the said officers play a vital role in the monitoring of the PDLs’ product development progress and will be closely coordinating with DTI and CHR for the continuity of the project.

Among the potential products of the visited PDLs are bamboo and wood decors, knitted rugs, tie-dye shirts, macramé products and knitted mobile, and paintings and sketches. ♦

Date of Release: 19 October 2021