Archive | August, 2013

DSWD to conduct 2nd nationwide assessment to identify poor families

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman explains the mechanics of “Listahanan” or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) during the press conference held today at La Breza Hotel, Quezon City. With the Secretary in the panel are DSWD Undersecretary Florita R. Villar and Director Vincent Andrew Leyson of the National Household Targeting Office (NHTO).

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman explains the mechanics of “Listahanan” or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) during the press conference held today at La Breza Hotel, Quezon City. With the Secretary in the panel are DSWD Undersecretary Florita R. Villar and Director Vincent Andrew Leyson of the National Household Targeting Office (NHTO).

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced that the 2nd nationwide assessment in the last quarter of the year will be conducted to identify poor families needing assistance of anti-poverty programs and services.

The assessment will be undertaken through the DSWD’s project dubbed as “Listahanan” or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR). Listahanan is an information management system that identifies and assesses who and where the poor are. Listahanan makes available to the national government agencies and social protection stakeholders a pioneer database consisting of comprehensive information about poor families nationwide.

The assessment will cover 15.3 million households estimated from the 2010 Census of Population results for both rural areas and pocket of poverty in urban areas.

It can be recalled that the DSWD conducted the first assessment in 2009 where 10.9 million households were assessed resulting in the identification of 5.25 million as poor using the Proxy Means Test (PMT), a statistical formula that estimates family income based on observable family characteristics.

Beneficiaries of government programs such as Pantawid Pamilya, National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), Social Pension fund, among others, were taken from the 2009 database of Listahanan.

In preparation for the upcoming assessment, DSWD will be hiring 47, 644 field staff comprised of 31,908 enumerators for one month, 6,383 area supervisors for two months, 1,277 area coordinators for three months, 4,038 encoders and 4,038 verifiers for one month. They will undergo rigorous training and will be deployed in different provinces and municipalities and cities all over the country.

Innovations for the 2013 Assessment

DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said that for this year’s assessment, the DSWD will use android tablets instead of paper and pencil as the primary data collection tool in urban areas.

“The use of tablets as data collection tool and encoding device will minimize the risk of losing the family assessment forms (FAF) during shipment and expedite the data collection process in urban areas,” Secretary Soliman explained.

However, due to the absence of a reliable internet connection, enumerators assigned in rural areas will continue to use paper and pencil.

Another innovation is the inclusion of the barangay community characteristics derived from the 2009 Census of Population and Housing (CPH) as determinants of poverty status in the new PMT model. Among these are access to mobile phone signal, availability of commercial establishments, and recreational facilities. The new PMT model will also use the non-income variables such as housing features, family assets and access to water and sanitation facilities, among others which were sourced out from 2009 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) and Labor Force Survey (LFS) as income predictors.

Listahanan will also be able to classify occupation of family members into 431 specific categories consistent with the Philippine Standard Occupation Classification (PSOC).

Budgetary Requirements

The 2nd Nationwide Assessment has a total budget requirement of P1.9 billion which includes the cost of service of field staff, procurement of IT equipment, production of FAFs, and conduct of validation activities, among others.

The result of the 2nd nationwide assessment is expected to become available in 2014, after the data has been finalized with the results of validation and ODA. ###

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From cash grantees to cash builders

The danggit producers of Pangasinan

The danggit producers of Pangasinan

Some 390 Pantawid Pamilya cash grant recipients from Bolinao, Pangasinan, have turned into cash builders as their livelihood projects funded through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development continue to grow.

From being small scale producers, the families were able to scale up their livelihood projects after receiving a P5,000 capital assistance each from the DSWD’s SLP.

Rochelle Pardon, 35-year old mother of five children, is  a dried “danggit” producer.  She is now earning at least P920 for 10.5 kilos of danggit produced in a day. She sells this at P280 per kilo or P2,940 as her gross sales.

Likewise, Nory Lalaguna, 48-year old mother of eight children, is now earning an average of P500 a week for her shellcraft making project. Recently, she produced 500 pieces of necklace bought by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The  SLP is a poverty reduction program of the DSWD, along with Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Both programs are part of the Convergence Strategy of the DSWD.

The SLP assists the conditional cash transfer beneficiaries by helping them establish micro-enterprises through the provision of loans and skills enhancement training. The program also provides employment opportunities for non-entrepreneurial beneficiaries by linking them to private and public partners of the DSWD.

To maximize assistance for budding entrepreneurs like Pardon and Lalaguna, the DSWD in Region I organized the Self-Employment Assistance Kaunlaran Workers (SEA-K Workers) Association of Bolinao, a federation of  20 SEA-K groups composed of dried danggit producers.  The DSWD will assist the federation in setting-up the Sheltered Processing of  danggit at Barangay Goyoden, in Bolinao.

External convergence

The DSWD tapped partner- agencies to help the federation with  production. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will train the danggit producers on fish processing, salting, drying and storage. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will facilitate the federation’s participation to trade fairs to penetrate wider market. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will assist them on packaging and labeling.

The federation will also be registered with the Department of Labor and Employment  (DOLE) to enable them to access needed equipment or raw materials for greater production.

“This is proof that Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries are not just passive recipients of  cash grants. When given the needed assistance and motivation, they can also create their own income,” DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said.

“The success of the beneficiaries also demonstrates that when programs are converged, there is better impact,” Secretary Soliman said referring to the internal and external Convergence Strategy that the Department is undertaking.

Meanwhile, DOT-Region I Director Martin Valera also commended the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries for their hardwork and determination to improve their plight saying “it is good to help these people especially that they have potentials of being entrepreneurs.” ###

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57 evacuation centers still open for “Labuyo” victims

Some 57 evacuation centers, 55 in Region III and one each in CAR and Region II,  remain open providing temporary shelter to 2,641 families affected by “Labuyo.”

Relief distribution  continues for displaced families, including those who chose to stay with their friends and relatives.

As of August 14, 2013, a total of P3,709,266.39 worth of relief assistance from the combined resources of DSWD, LGUs and NGOs were provided to the affected families.

In Casiguran, Aurora, 550 family food packs were delivered through boats as the town  remains isolated.

Repacking of relief goods is likewise on-going in DSWD regional offices along the path of “Labuyo.” In Region II, 34 volunteers, nursing and psychology students and teachers of St. Paul University in Tuguegarao City volunteered in the repacking of relief goods at the DSWD compound.

To date, 5,866 damaged houses have been reported of which 737 were totally damaged and 5,129 were partially destroyed. Most of these damaged houses were in Regions  II and  III.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman has instructed the DSWD National Resource Operations Center (NROC) to provide 5,000 family food packs augmentation support to Region III, and for all DSWD offices in affected regions to continue to coordinate with concerned LGUs  to ensure that the needs of the victims are addressed. ###

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Persons with Disabilities Call for 2016 Disability Inclusive Election

DSWD Undersecretary Parisya Taradji expressed hope that persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens will have better voting experience with the passage of RA 10366

DSWD Undersecretary Parisya Taradji expressed hope that persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens will have better voting experience with the passage of RA 10366

Initiatives to make the polling places accessible for voters with disabilities and senior citizens did not get remarkable impact in the last May 2013 elections, according to the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), an attached agency of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The NCDA added that many voters with disabilities were still disenfranchised because polling places lacked ramps or access and volunteers to assist them.

With these observations, organizations involved in promoting the welfare of persons with disabilities (PWDs), advocates and supporters reiterate their call for all stakeholders to brace up and start preparing for the needed infrastructure and support services for PWD-voters during the 2016 Presidential Election.

In a press conference during the culminating activity for the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week, PWD groups urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to establish accessible polling places and provide other forms of assistance to PWDs in voting centers on Election Day to ensure that they enjoy the right to suffrage on an equal basis with others.

According to election watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente), out of the 365,000 registered PWD voters, only 82,000 were able to cast their votes in the 2013 polls.

Republic Act 10366, otherwise known as “An Act Authorizing COMELEC to Establish Precincts Assigned to Accessible Polling Places Exclusively for PWDs and Senior Citizens,” enables persons with disabilities and senior citizens greater ease in casting their votes during elections.

The law which took effect on July 1, 2013, mandates the Comelec to establish a precinct that will be accessible for PWDs and senior citizens. Likewise, there should also be reasonable accommodations for PWDs and senior citizens, including assistance in the accommodation of the ballot.

The law also provides for sensitivity training programs for people who perform electoral duties, including field officers, members of the Board of Election Inspectors, and accredited citizen’s arms to familiarize themselves with the needs of PWDs and senior citizens.

NCDA has been closely working with the Comelec in formulating the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10366 in consultation with leaders of PWD organizations, civil society organizations, and other government agencies to ensure that all disability issues and concerns will be addressed in upcoming elections. ###

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DSWD prepositions P160M emergency relief for ‘Labuyo’ victims

DSWD prepositions P160M emergency relief for ‘Labuyo’ victims

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has prepositioned P160.35 million in emergency relief resources for families affected by typhoon ‘Labuyo.’

According to DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, the prepositioned emergency relief goods consist of P27.45 M standby funds; 51,567 family food packs worth P12.84 M, and other food items and non-food items worth P43.15M and 76.90 million, respectively.

Secretary Soliman said that the DSWD, together with local government units (LGUs), has started the needs assessment of affected areas.

As of August 13, 12N, 30,782 families with 154,962 persons in Regions CAR, I, II, III and V were affected by typhoon Labuyo.  To date, 85 evacuation centers (ECs) remain opened providing temporary shelter to 7,309 families with 33,928 persons.   Some 5,404 other family –evacuees with 25,545 persons who opted to stay with their friends and relatives’ houses are continuously being served by the DSWD.

In Region III, 24,506 families with 123,437 persons from 99 barangays in the municipalities of Aurora, Zambales, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan were affected.  The municipalities of Casiguran, Dilasag and Dinalungan in Aurora remain isolated and communication systems are cut off.

Sixty-three ECs evacuation centers are operational in Region III, and providing temporary shelter to 6,811 families composed of 32,060 persons.  The DSWD has also started repacking and preparing 3,197 family food packs and P3 million standby for typhoon victims.

Meanwhile, in Region II, some 5,236 families composed of 23,115 persons coming from 92 barangays, 20 municipalities in the provinces of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino were affected.   Affected LGUs in the region opened ten evacuation centers with six ECs remain opened providing temporary shelter to 184 families or 774 persons.  DSWD regional office in Tuguegarao City prepared 2,108 family food packs and P3 million standby funds for augmentation to disaster affected families.

In Region I, a total of 645 families with 2,956 persons were affected by the typhoon.   The Social Welfare Action and Development (SWAD) and Quick Action and Response Teams of Region I are continuously monitoring the situation in the field for assistance.

In CAR, 252 families composed of 1,061 persons were affected. To date, 48 families with 208 persons are still in evacuation center in Tublay, Benguet.

“Local disaster management units have been activated and the DSWD will continue to mobilize its resources to help affected residents,” Secretary Soliman assured.  ###

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PH hosts Global Consultation on Child Welfare Services

The Philippines, through the Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB), an attached agency of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), will host the 12th Global Consultation on Child Welfare Services from August 14 to 16, 2013 at the Manila Hotel.

The international event will focus on the theme “Post Adoption Services: The Way Forward.” Post adoption services include measures to assist adopted children preserve their cultural links with their country of origin, and assist adoptive parents to recognize the value and importance of such links for the child’s future development.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman who will deliver her keynote address on the opening day (August 14) explained that the event is a bi-annual consultation of local and international adoption specialists which aims to discuss issues and concerns affecting children placed for adoption around the world.

“The multi-country collaborative consultation is envisioned to ensure a most substantial and timely sharing of trends and practices in inter-country adoption,” Secretary Soliman said.

The meeting will bring together representatives of Central Authorities of Andorra, Australia, New Zealand and Canada and our partner foreign adoption agencies from USA, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.  Local participants are social workers from child caring institutions, court social workers and judges from Regional Trial Courts as well as adoptive families.

Secretary Soliman emphasized that “adoption is not a single event, but a life-long process.”   The Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption requires States to undertake a range of other general functions such as the provision of counseling or post adoption reports, preservation of information, child’s right to information, and access to records, data protection and post adoption services.

According to ICAB, the Philippine Inter-Country Adoption has been in existence way back in the 60’s under the auspices of the DSWD.  Over the years, an increasing number of Filipino adoptees have been returning to the Philippines for Motherland tours and for search and reunion with their birthparents.

The first Motherland Tour of Filipino adoptees to Manila was in 1987.  The group was composed of four boys and one girl, 18-22 years old, who were placed for adoption in the USA through Holt International Children`s Services. Three came from Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC) in Quezon City, one from Hospicio de San Jose and another from Home of Joy.  They left for the USA to join their respective adoptive parents at a very young age.  One of the boys was re-united with his grandfather in Baguio, the other adoptees had “unknown” backgrounds, hence were only able to meet their social workers and caregivers.

Since 1986, approximately 600 adoptees visited the Philippines for Motherland tour, search and reunion.   Every year, there is an increasing number of children, teen-ager, and young adults coming back to see their previous agencies, caregivers, foster parents and to experience first-hand the Filipino culture or do a search and eventually a reunion meeting with their birthmother/family.

Just recently,  four adoptive families and six adoptees with ages ranging from 11-19 years old had a successful Motherland Tour in the Philippines.  One adoptee, Francis, 19 years old, shared that the Motherland Tour helped him learn more about where he came from and that the trip was his chance to meet his birthmother.  He shared that the “Philippines is a beautiful country full of pride and color and warmth.  The people I have met, stories I have heard, and the places I have seen made me proud to have come from this country”.

“Three adult adoptees who will be speaking/presenting in the Global Consultation desire to not just visit and see their motherland but intend to search and reunite with their birthparents,” Secretary Soliman concluded.  ###

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Why we should support the 4Ps

By: Ronald Mendozaby Ronald U. Mendoza (A repost article from

At a recent forum on the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (or 4Ps) held at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, experts from different government agencies and academic institutions discussed the rationale and the feasibility of extending and expanding the program.

Under the management of Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD), the 4Ps is widely known to be the lynchpin of the government’s anti-poverty efforts. One of its key interventions is the provision of small cash transfers to mothers, as long as they commit to investing in their children, such as by ensuring their children go to school, as well as get deworming, vaccination and regular health check-ups to name a few other aspects of the program. 4Ps operates in 79 provinces covering 1484 municipalities and 143 key cities in all 17 regions nationwide.

As of June 2013, the program covered almost 4 million households. The planned extension of the 4Ps program will include an additional 2 million children to the current 8.5 million in the program. A special emphasis will be placed on providing additional support to children from poor families who would like to go to high school.

Yet, even as the budget for 4Ps is set to increase, some people seem impatient about its pay-off, which most assume will be immediate—such as reducing the number of poor and hungry people in the country. Several opposition politicians have even resorted to calling the government program a “dole-out”. And some question the size of the allocations dedicated to the 4Ps. Their typical argument is that there are better alternative uses for these funds.

At that forum, I argued otherwise—noting that the 4Ps program is and continues to be a good investment. Here’s why.

Ending poverty

First, the 4Ps is NOT the only program in the anti-poverty strategy of the government, yet it’s quite possibly the most important component. The reason is that this program attacks one of the root causes of poverty—weak education, health and other human development characteristics that disadvantage a poor person.

No amount of job creation will employ and lift out of poverty millions of under-skilled and unhealthy citizens. No business would get into such an enterprise, and no government can sustain economic growth and job creation on such a weak foundation. Therefore, human capital build-up is, first and foremost, the key ingredient in the strategy.

What is often poorly understood about the 4Ps program is that it’s less focused on adults, and more focused on the next generation. The economic pay-off from these investments, therefore, will take some years to fully manifest—in the form of more educated and healthy citizens and more productive workers.

If we are serious about poverty reduction (and dare I say, poverty eradication), investing in children is where we should really begin. Otherwise, a never ending stream of people with weak education and health will add to the ranks of the poor.

Of course, human capital is not enough. Access to the other factors of production and growth will also need to dramatically improve for the vast majority of the population—such as through microfinance and lending to SMEs (improving access to capital); and true agrarian reform (access to land).

Preparing for the country’s youth bulge

According to the United Nations, our country is expected to reach its peak number of young people by around 2040-2050, roughly 25-30 years from today (see Figure 1). This means the brunt of our future labor force is comprised of infants already being born today—and their future capabilities depend heavily on the policy choices we make.

4Ps can help ensure that the majority of our young people do not fall through the cracks. For every 1.8 to 2 million children born every year in the Philippines, at least about one-third (or up to six hundred thousand) are born to poor families according to some estimates. Because of 4Ps, children will grow up to be educated, healthy, and productive members of Philippine society, contributing to the country’s economic competitiveness in the longer term. Therefore, the 4Ps is not merely a matter of charity for poor children as far as the country is concerned—our long run economic growth depends in large part on how successfully we equip our future citizens and workers to compete.

Nevertheless, the 4Ps prepares future workers; but it does not in itself create jobs. It is imperative that more jobs are created and more entrepreneurship encouraged in order to spur economic development that is inclusive for the vast majority of the youth.

                                                          Figure 1. Philippine Youth (Aged 15-24), 1950-2100 (In Millions)

Source: UN Population Division (World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision).

Source: UN Population Division (World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision).

Fueling economic and political transformation

Improved human capital will definitely be useful for improving wages and productivity—but it could also help sustain “matuwid na daan”. This is possible if a strong social protection system underpinned by 4Ps truly “emancipates” over 4 million poor families from patronage politics.

Patronage has become a way of life for many of our citizens, because the conditions of poverty force our people to seek help. And before 4Ps, poor families typically only had the local political patron as their main option. Table 1 provides a tongue-in-cheek outline of the major differences between professionally managed and evidence-based social protection vs. patronage politics.

As I noted in another Rappler article on reforming pork barrel politics, politicians are not the only ones addicted to pork—poor families actively seek the support of politicians, and they will continue to do so unless a proper social protection system is able to help poor and low income families mitigate risks and empower them in a systematic, fair, and evidence-based manner.

The 4Ps contains key accountabilities in helping the poor to break free from the poverty trap—it is targeted at the poorest households (and not merely political allies); the cash support is less than what is necessary to be technically non-poor but enough to matter for child investments (so it is specifically designed to mitigate the risk of dependency); and beneficiaries (typically the cash is given to mothers) are required to deliver on conditions that are linked to investing in children (and not merely conditioned on voting for the patron).

On top of all this, the 4Ps is among only a small number of government programs that are actually evaluated for their impact. In fact, the impact evaluation evidence suggests that the design of the 4Ps seems to successfully mitigate any possible dependency effects—poor families actually further increase child investments, over and above the cash transfer itself.

These are all good reasons to continue to expand and improve the program. Killing this program will bring us back to the previous status quo: no evaluation; poorly targeted; riddled with leakages (so that non poor people also benefit, and far less reaches the poor); and likely to be dominated by patronage politics.

The author is Associate Professor of Economics at the Asian Institute of Management and Executive Director of the AIM Policy Center. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the institution. Questions and comments could be addressed to –

Reprinted from www.

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DSWD braces for “Labuyo”

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman directed all DSWD regional offices along the path of typhoon Labuyo to be ready to assist local government units in relief distribution and management of evacuation centers in typhoon-affected areas.

Secretary Soliman said that the DSWD has pre-positioned relief emergency resources to all affected regions amounting to P160.35M consisting of

P27.45 M standby funds; 51,567 family food packs  worth P12.84M, other food items and non-food items worth P43.15 M and P76.90 million, respectively.

Secretary Soliman added that all identified evacuation centers  in areas along the path of typhoon “Labuyo” are ready for forced evacuation or whenever evacuation is necessary.

In Region III where “Labuyo” made a landfall in Casiguran, Aurora early this morning, the DSWD regional office prepared 3,197 family food packs and P3 million standby funds for augmentation to disaster affected families in the province. As of August 12, 10 am, 94 families with 416 persons from Aurora province sought temporary shelter in 16 evacuation centers.  Initial report by the DSWD in the region said that 78 houses in Aurora province were damaged of which five were totally damaged while 73 were partially destroyed.

In Region V,  the DSWD regional office reported that evacuation centers in Pioduran, Albay  have already closed with the evacuees returning to their places of origin.  The 3, 485 persons who were stranded in various ports were provided hot meals by the Catanduanes local government unit.  To date, the strandees have proceeded to their respective destinations as sea vessels have been allowed to sail.

Further, the DSWD Region V continues to preposition family food packs for families living in coastal areas.  Food packs are also readied for distribution to LGU of Matnog in case there will be strandees.

Secretary Soliman assured that all members of  the Social Welfare and Development teams in concerned regions have been alerted to continue to coordinate with local government units for significant reports, technical assistance, and augmentation support. ###

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