Search Results | 'AO 5 s., 2012'

Bunkhouses in Davao Oriental not overpriced — DSWD

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) today clarified reports that the bunkhouses that will serve as temporary shelters for families left homeless by typhoon “Pablo,” being constructed in Davao Oriental are not overpriced as compared to the bunkhouses being built by other groups specifically the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

DSWD’s statement came after a recent news report mentioned that a DSWD bunkhouse costs P550,000 while an IOM bunkhouse is P259,653.

Based on a comparative matrix, the DSWD pointed out that the cost estimates made by both DSWD and IOM are more or less the same. The difference in total cost was mainly due to varying design features. The DSWD bunkhouse is bigger in floor area, it has thicker floor slabs (1 inch thicker), with more roofing ( 159 GI sheets while IOM  has 96 GI sheets,), with pathway, wash areas, and kitchen compared to the IOM bunkhouse which has no provisions for pathway, electrical, kitchen and concrete wash, and toilet and bathroom.

The DSWD explained that there was no  alleged “ double payment” to soldiers who helped in the construction of the bunkhouse in San Rafael, Cateel. In lieu of the voluntary service of 20 AFP Engineering Brigade soldiers,  the DSWD provided them food allowance not salaries in the amount of P100 per day per person.  Brigade officials acknowledged receipt of P30,000 which was released in two tranches. The first tranche in the amount of P20,000 was released on December 15, 2012  and the second tranche in the amount of P10,000 was released on December 30, 2012. Copies of the receipts and names of soldiers are in the regional office in Davao City. The DSWD further said that with the soldiers volunteering their services, the Department saved P17,465  in labor.

With regard to the allegation that the DSWD  saved on cement as the bunkhouse in San Rafael was constructed on top of a basketball court which has an existing concrete floor,  the Department stressed that the materials are kept in the central warehouse in Poblacion, Cateel. The DSWD staff assigned in Cateel is keeping the inventory and utilization report of the construction materials delivered in the municipality. This document is subject to final inspection and audit by DSWD fiscal staff.

“We would like to emphasize that all transactions and activities of the regional office on the construction of the bunkhouses are supported by documents which are submitted to the Commission on Audit for Post-Audit. Rest assured that should there be findings of irregularities, the DSWD management will deal with these accordingly upholding the tenets of full accountability and transparency,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman said. ###

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DSWD IN 2012: Moving Ahead With Its Convergence Strategy

In 2012, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) remained focused with its objective of fulfilling the millennium development goal to halve poverty incidence by 2015. As the leader in the social welfare and development sector, the Department currently implements three major social protection programs which are the key poverty reduction projects targeting the poor municipalities and poor households in the country using the Convergence Strategy.

The Convergence Strategy complements programs which aim to help specific sectors, such as poor individuals, families, households, and communities.  It involves pooling of expertise and resources, and the channelling of efforts in pursuit of a commonly agreed goal or objective.   It calls for the synchronization, complementation, and coordination of all government interventions (national and local) and the private sector in one geographical area to ensure that reforms in terms of poverty alleviation and social protection, among others, are achieved.

Convergence strategy gains grounds

The DSWD’s Convergence Strategy addresses poverty through the harmonized implementation of   three of its major programs, namely; Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid Pamilya), and the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), continued to gain headway in 2012.

KALAHI-CIDSS provides funding for community-driven infrastructure projects such as school buildings, health centers, farm-to-market roads, foot bridges, and water systems, among others.  In 2012, KALAHI-CIDSS expanded its coverage to reach up to 50 percent of the poorest municipalities in targeted provinces, utilizing the Additional Financing (AF) of the World Bank (WB) and a grant from the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). To date, the project covers a total of 328 municipalities in 48 poorest provinces in the country.

Pantawid Pamilya gives cash grants to poor families to ensure their education, health and nutritional needs. As of December 26, 2012, Pantawid Pamilya has 3,121,530 household-beneficiaries from 1,410 cities and municipalities in 79 provinces nationwide.

SLP extends capital assistance and capability building to beneficiaries to start their own income generating projects. As part of the Convergence Strategy,  Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who are graduating from the program may avail of the SLP.

Some 321,624 beneficiaries who were enrolled in Pantawid Pamilya in 2008, are residents of KALAHI-CIDSS areas, and who are under the Convergence Strategy will graduate in 2013.

Juvy Pentes (2nd from left) works hard for her family and community

Juvy Pentes (2nd from left) works hard for her family and community

Juvy Pentes, 43, from Barangay Pagsangahan, San Francisco in Quezon Province, a beneficiary of all three programs, is a living example that DSWD’s convergence strategy works.

It used to be that saving money is not an option for Juvy since the income she earns from vending food products combined with her husband’s meager salary from construction work is barely enough to provide for the needs of her seven children.

“Saving money is not an option because everything that we earn goes to food and the school expenses of five of our children. Even if it’s raining or the sun is scorching hot, I had to walk far to sell food, I was willing to endure all these hardships just to feed and send the children to school,” Juvy narrated in the vernacular.

But when Pantawid Pamilya came to their village, Juvy says, “Little by little, our living conditions improved.  My children now have allowance for school.  They also have new uniforms and shoes. I can also buy vitamins for them. What’s more, I am able to save some money in my coin bank. “Eventually, Juvy also became a community volunteer who helps her neighbors in identifying their priority needs for possible KALAHI-CIDSS funding.

KALAHI-CIDSS provided P846,933 to fund the construction of the health center, a big help to Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who can now religiously comply with the health requirements of the program.

As a beneficiary of the Convergence Strategy, Juvy received P5,000 as capital assistance from the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program  which she used to expand  her food business.

According to Secretary Soliman, the Convergence Strategy is an innovation developed by DSWD for a more wholistic implementation of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.  Unlike CCT programs in other countries that merely provide cash grants, the Philippine CCT has a livelihood component and infrastructure support to complement the cash grants, which makes it truly effective.

“Our goal is to prepare the beneficiaries to achieve self-reliance even before their enrollment in Pantawid Pamilya ends after five years,” the Secretary stressed.

Strengthening Partnerships

The DSWD upholds the principles of transparency and accountability. The Department has been actively engaging various civil society organizations (CSOs), non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations and volunteer groups in the implementation and monitoring of its core programs, such as Pantawid Pamilya, Kalahi-CIDSS, SLP, centers and institutions and other programs

Moreover, DSWD’s engagement with these groups is in accordance to President Benigno S. Aquino III’s   thrust on strengthening public private partnership (PPP) in the fulfillment of his platform of Good Governance and Poverty Reduction.

For the past year, the DSWD also focused on empowering and capacitating the parent leaders to be active partners in implementing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, sustaining the engagement of the community volunteers in different levels of decision making, encouraging entrepreneur-leaders to enter the larger markets, and involving victims of disasters in their own rehabilitation and rebuilding of communities and their lives.

To achieve these goals, the DSWD built collaborative systems to make convergence even more real at the level of the municipalities by strengthening convergence teams through bridging leadership programs.

To enhance the participation of CSOs and volunteer groups, DSWD adopted four mechanisms of engagement, which are ‘bantay’, (watchdog) to help the DSWD in the conduct of anti-corruption campaigns and activities; ‘gabay’ (guide) is the provision of technical assistance especially during the trainings of the beneficiaries;  ‘tulay’ (bridge),  is the implementation of feedback and monitoring mechanisms; and ‘kaagapay’ (helpmate or partner)  focuses on disaster risk management, and  anti-poverty projects and activities.

In 2012, the DSWD signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with 368 local CSOs, faith-based and civic organizations and nine national organizations in monitoring the transparency and augmentation of DSWD core programs and other projects.

Youth participants in the Family Camp for MCCT-HSF in NCR listen to a resource person from the Philippine National Police talk about drug awareness. (Right) Cash pay-out of grants to MCCT beneficiaries held in San Andres, Manila.

Youth participants in the Family Camp for MCCT-HSF in NCR listen to a resource person from the Philippine National Police talk about drug awareness. (Right) Cash pay-out of grants to MCCT beneficiaries held in San Andres, Manila.

From a life in the streets to a brighter future

Despite the series of calamities, the DSWD successfully launched the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families (MCCT – HSF) which covers poor families who were not included in the regular Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program because of their mobile lifestyle.

The MCCT-HSF project provides a complete package of assistance to street families that include education and health grants, and shelter assistance with access to social services and economic opportunities to improve their lives.

Rolando Masayda, Malyn Navarro, Maureen DeLa Cruz, Mr. and Mrs. Angelo, and Jerlyn De La Cruz who used to live and eke out a living on the streets, now have their own rented  homes through the MCCT-HSF project.

As Malyn explained, “Aside from the financial assistance provided by DSWD for six months to enable us to pay for our rent, we are also undergoing livelihood skills training  that will capacitate us and eventually become economically self-sufficient.”

The DSWD conducted three batches of Family Camp for the homeless street families in November 2012 at Island Cove, Kawit, Cavite to provide a venue where they can enjoy new experiences and opportunities.  The beneficiaries participated in various camping activities which fostered family bonding and camaraderie, and served as venues for learning.

Comfort in their twilight years

An elderly woman receives her pension from a social worker during an onsite pay-out.

An elderly woman receives her pension from a social worker during an onsite pay-out.

One of the priorities of the DSWD is the provision of social protection programs and services to its center-based and community-based clients, such as senior citizens, abused women and children, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and children in conflict with the law (CICL).

The government’s Social Pension Program (SPP) implemented by the DSWD provides a monthly stipend of P500 to indigent senior citizens as mandated by Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

For Benedicto and Geronima Asis, social pensioners and residents of Poblacion, Veruela, Agusan del Sur, the monthly pension they receive is an unexpected blessing.  Their grandson Albert, who lives with the elderly couple, is thankful for the pensions of his sickly grandparents which he uses to buy their food and medicines.

“My grandparents are slowly getting stronger because we can already provide their medicines, nutritious food, vitamins, and milk,” relates Albert.

The priority beneficiaries of the Social Pension are senior citizens 77 years old and above who are frail, sickly and disabled, without a regular source of income and/or support from any member of the family, and not receiving other pension benefits from government and private agencies.

At 114 years old, Lola Francisca M. Susano from Puerto Princesa City is the oldest recipient of the social pension program, who considers herself lucky, because, at her age, she is still strong. Lola Francisca lived alone until she turned 114, and she moved in with one of her children.

“Before I became a pensioner, I preferred to live alone because I do not want to be a burden to my children who are also in difficult situations.  But when one of my children invited me to live with them, I did not hesitate anymore because I  know that even when I stay with them, I can still support my basic needs with the monthly pension that I receive. I can even share with them a little,” says Lola Francisca.

The indigent senior citizens are identified through the DSWD’s National Household Targeting System.

As of end of December 2012, a total of 180,710 indigent senior citizens or 97 percent of the 185,914 qualified beneficiaries for 2012 received their P500 monthly social pension from the DSWD.

The DSWD continues to hold meetings with senior citizens groups particularly the Confederation of Older Person’s Association of the Philippines (COPAP) and Coalition of Services for the Elderly (COSE) to address issues and concerns raised by senior citizens themselves to effectively and efficiently implement the program.

Keeping children healthy through the Supplementary Feeding Program

Day-care children enjoy the hot meals served by Day Care workers during a supplementary feeding activity.

Day-care children enjoy the hot meals served by Day Care workers during a supplementary feeding activity.

Another major program being implemented by the DSWD is the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) which provides school children

with hot meals if they are enrolled

in day care and supervised neighborhood play (SNP) in school.

In 2012, a total of 1,567, 119 or 89 percent of the targeted 1,755,034 children in 41,042 day care centers nationwide availed of the SFP. Under this program, the parents of day care children are the ones to prepare the food following the menu of locally available foods.

Empowering the disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors

The DSWD provides livelihood assistance for victims of trafficking to assist them in their recovery towards a normal life. Shown in photo is a sari-sari store which a beneficiary manages with her mother from the P10,000 livelihood assistance.

The DSWD provides livelihood assistance for victims of trafficking to assist them in their recovery towards a normal life. Shown in photo is a sari-sari store which a beneficiary manages with her mother from the P10,000 livelihood assistance.

As the agency mandated to assist those in need, the DSWD served its various clientele by implementing community-based and center-based programs and services for abused and trafficked women and children,  older persons, solo parents, and persons with disabilities.

As co-chair of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT), the DSWD continuously implements protective, recovery, rehabilitative, and reintegrative programs for victims of trafficking. “We are committed to protect our people from trafficking and provide the victims with the necessary recovery and reintegration program,” Secretary Soliman emphasized.

As a strategy to combat trafficking, the DSWD assigned social workers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Diosdado Macapagal International Airport to detect and assist possible victims of trafficking.

Likewise, continuous advocacy and prevention activities are being done to inform the public on the dangers of trafficking.

Trafficked women and minors are provided with wholistic programs and services in DSWD centers, such as Home for Girls and Nayon ng Kabataan, and in community-based programs in coordination with local government units.

Rescued trafficking victims expressed their gratitude to DSWD for helping them turn a new leaf, “We have learned our lesson and we are thankful to DSWD and all the other agencies and organizations which freed and protected us from the illegal recruiters, and are continuing to help us,” Tamara from Region XII enthused.

As of September 2012, DSWD assisted 705 women-victims and 317 children-victims of trafficking.

Aside from victims of trafficking, the DSWD also served 45,283 women in difficult circumstances including physically/emotionally abused, women, and victims of rape, incest, illegal recruitment and involuntary prostitution. Services for them include counselling, livelihood, skills training, and legal assistance.

For persons with disabilities (PWDs), the DSWD continues to implement community-based and center-based programs and services to empower this sector and help them improve their lives.

In 2012, the DSWD served a total of 911 PWDs. Of this number, some 119 children and youth with disabilities availed of the Tuloy Aral Walang Sagabal (TAWAG) program.

A total of 1,959 PWDs also availed of livelihood skills training and psychosocial counselling, among others in DSWD-managed centers and institutions.

A brighter future for children in conflict with the law

Since the passage of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 or RA 9344, scores of children have been released from jails nationwide. However, there remains a need

A Bahay-Pag-asa (house of hope) for children in conflict with the law will soon rise in Valenzuela City as part of the local government’s programs for CICL. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in July 2012.

A Bahay-Pag-asa (house of hope) for children in conflict with the law will soon rise in Valenzuela City as part of the local government’s programs for CICL. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in July 2012.

for stronger advocacy to explain to the public that these children are victims themselves. According to RA 9344, children 15 years old and below are exempted from criminal liability, however, they will undergo diversion and rehabilitation programs and not go scot-free.

To provide temporary homes for Children in Conflict with the Law (CICL), DSWD, in coordination with local government units (LGUs) constructed “Bahay-Pag-asa” in Regions I, III, IV-A, VI, X, XII, NCR and CAR.

The DSWD chairs the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC) created to address the concerns of CICL.  Among their accomplishments is the crafting of a Comprehensive National Juvenile Intervention Framework to help LGUs in developing their programs for the children in their locality.

In 2012, DSWD served some 2,884 CICLthrough Released on Recognizance, Released on Bail, and Custody Supervision.

The advocacy for CICL  was given impetus through   Presidential Proclamation No. 489 which was signed by President Aquino on October 11, 2012 declaring the fourth week of October as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week.  Henceforth, the JJWC Week will be observed in conjunction with the annual celebration in October as the National Children’s Month.

The 1st Juvenile Justice and Welfare Consciousness Week was held from October 22 to 27, 2012 highlighted by a Youth Flash Mob held at SM Mall of Asia.

Proclamation No. 489 affirms that the government of the Philippines commits its obligations to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC), a legally binding international instrument establishing the minimum entitlements and freedom of children respected by various governments worldwide.

Assisting victims of disaster

DSWD Region XI Director Priscilla Razon with movie star and World Food Programme Ambassadress KC Concepcion and WFP Director Stephen Anderson  distribute relief goods to typhoon ‘Pablo’ victims in New Bataan, Compostela Valley. (Right) DSWD staff man the disaster relief operations desk at DSWD Region XI in Magsaysay Avenue, Davao City.

DSWD Region XI Director Priscilla Razon with movie star and World Food Programme Ambassadress KC Concepcion and WFP Director Stephen Anderson distribute relief goods to typhoon ‘Pablo’ victims in New Bataan, Compostela Valley. (Right) DSWD staff man the disaster relief operations desk at DSWD Region XI in Magsaysay Avenue, Davao City.

As the year 2012 closed, the  DSWD also rose to the challenge of addressing the myriad  concerns brought about by the “Habagat” monsoon rains which flooded Metro Manila and Region III in August, and the severe devastation  wrought by typhoon ‘Pablo’ which struck Regions IV-B, VI, VII, XI and CARAGA on December 4. As of November 12, 2012, DSWD provided a total of P82.62 million worth of relief assistance to the families affected by ‘Habagat’ monsoon rains.

On the other hand, Region XI bore the brunt of typhoon Pablo’s destruction with the towns of New Bataan, Monkayo, and Montevista in Compostela Valley; and Boston, Cateel, and Baganga in Davao Oriental,  virtually wiped out. The DSWD together with other government agencies, such as the Departments of Health, Education, Public Works and Highways, Labor and Employment, Agriculture, Philippine Army, and Philippine National Police, immediately activated mechanisms and combined their resources to aid the thousands of displaced and distressed families.

To cope with the herculean task of helping the survivors rebuild their lives, DSWD dedicated staff worked during   the holidays, assisting the affected local government units in running the relief operations, from managing the evacuation centers to monitoring and assessment of the various needs of the displaced families.

Donations from local and international humanitarian organizations poured in for the victims and survivors. Volunteers heeded the call of DSWD and came in droves to the Disaster Relief Operations Center at the DPWH Depot, Panacan, Davao City to assist in the repacking of relief goods. The DSWD Regional Office continues to accept volunteers.

To foster the yuletide spirit in the typhoon-hit areas, DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, together with local officials distributed Noche Buena packs to the affected families on December 22.

The DSWD provided a total of P1,487,475,380.00 cost of assistance to 204,464 families or 806,307 persons affected by typhoon “Pablo.” This figure covers DSWD food and non-food items as well as ‘noche buena’ packs, bunkhouses, financial assistance, and Cash-For-Work.

“Even while we are continuously providing the displaced families with food packs until March, we also want to give them a sense of dignity by providing them with means to support themselves and  their families through the cash-for-work program. Beneficiaries of the Cash-For-Work in Davao Region will receive the minimum regional wage of P226 a day in return for repairing community facilities damaged by the typhoon, and in helping in the construction of bunkhouses,” Secretary Soliman explained.

Forging Ahead

For this year, the DSWD will continue to forge ahead with the implementation of its core poverty reduction programs while assisting the families displaced by typhoon ‘Pablo’ and the series of flooding incidents in Davao region.

The Department’s priorities remain the same – keeping children in school and healthy, providing the needs of indigent senior citizens, while helping and empowering other sectors at risk and in need of special protection. But the passion of DSWD personnel to deliver the much needed services for the sectors it has vowed to serve will continue to burn brightly.

As always, DSWD’s work force remains steadfast, resilient, committed and dedicated ready to respond to emerging and immediate needs  ###

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Relief goods sent to Davao Oriental – DSWD

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has mobilized all members of its Quick Response Teams and Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Teams in the regions affected by ‘Pablo’ especially in hardest hit Region XI to continuously monitor the effects of the typhoon, and to ensure that relief goods are delivered on time in the affected areas, according to Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman.

As of 8 a.m. today, December 6, the DSWD has released a total of P12.83 million worth of relief assistance to Davao Region.

Some 7,760 family food packs were released to families in Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and Davao City.

DSWD Field Office XI OIC-Regional Director Priscilla Razon and Davao Oriental Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon yesterday visited the municipalities of Boston and Cateel, Davao Oriental and handed over 3,000 family food packs to the affected families.

An additional 1,000 family food packs were released today to Mati; 2,000 packs to Boston; 2,000 packs to New Bataan; and 500 packs to Davao City.  Also, DSWD FO XI provided financial assistance of P10,000 each for the families of casualties.  Moreover, DSWD has deployed generator sets and family tents to Davao Oriental.

Secretary Soliman also said that “We are eyeing building bunk houses to help residents who lost their homes during typhoon ‘Pablo.’ These bunk houses will be used as temporary dwelling places in disaster-hit areas after the typhoon destroyed most of the houses there.” ### 6 December 2012 (DSWD-Social Marketing Service)

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One out of five women, aged 15-49, has experienced physical violence, 14.4 percent of married women have experienced physical abuse from their husbands; 37 percent of separated or widowed women have experienced physical violence, according to Department of Social Welfare and Development, quoting the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the National Statistics Office.

In 2011, some 15,104 cases of domestic violence were recorded by the Women and Children Protection Center of the Philippine National Police. The 2011 figure is 5,619 cases more than the 2010 figure of 9,485 cases. For 2012, some 12,948 cases were recorded covering January to August.

“Violence against women is one of the challenges the world is facing today. It has turned into a pervasive human rights violation. It violates the fundamental freedom of women and impedes the development of their full potential,” Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman said.

In an effort to address the growing phenomenon of violence against women (VAW) especially in the Asian region, member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will gather for the Training Workshop on Strengthening Capacities of Communities, Practitioners and Policy Makers to Address Violence Against Women (VAW) on November 27-29 in Manila.

The training is part of DSWD’s commitment to advance the goals of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25.

The three-day training workshop is organized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It will be participated in by social workers, law enforcement officers and non-government organizations (NGOs) involved in managing cases of victims-survivors of violence against women, from the ten ASEAN member-states, namely; Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.

The gathering aims to provide a venue for participating countries to share their initiatives, strategies, gains, challenges, and recommendations on strengthening capacities of communities, practitioners and policy makers in addressing VAW focusing on victims-survivors,  perpetrators and  enabling mechanisms.

The workshop hopes to identify common approaches that service providers and practitioners can adopt to effectively address violence against women in the Asian region.

ASEAN member-states have been undertaking different measures to study and address violence against women. At the national level, measures undertaken include legislation and legal reform, action plan formulation, implementation of programs and projects, setting up of referrals and linkages and working closely with NGOs.

Previously, the Philippines conducted two ASEAN Training Workshops, in 2003 and 2005, as part of the strategies to address VAW collectively undertaken by the ASEAN member-states. The previous activities sought to strengthen effective mechanisms to prevent domestic violence, and increase the competency of ASEAN member-countries in addressing the gaps on VAW interventions focusing on the treatment and rehabilitation of the perpetrators of domestic violence.

“This time, we need to focus on the service providers and stakeholders, particularly on strengthening the capacities of communities, practitioners and policy makers as the next step to eliminate violence against women.  We are looking forward to a fruitful sharing of ideas and strategies that will effectively eliminate this social malady in the Asian region,” Secretary Soliman emphasized. ###

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New study shows Mindanao challenges

(reprinted from, May 3, 2012)

by Lila Ramos Shahani

Over the past 12 years, cycles of violent conflict in Central Mindanao have displaced nearly a million people from their homes.In October 2011, thousands of families had to leave their homes yet again when fighting escalated in parts of Zamboanga Sibugay and Basilan. Currently, several thousand people across Mindanao remain displaced, particularly in Maguindanao.

These disrupted lives present major challenges to both government and affected families, particularly since these displaced individuals do not always return to their own homes, a recent study by the WB and the WFP revealed.

It found displacement to be detrimental to livelihoods, social cohesion and welfare across virtually every key indicator: food security, access to basic services, income poverty and housing.

The survey, launched by the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster (HDPRCC) last Friday, was conducted during the last quarter of 2010.

A total of 2,759 randomly-selected households from a total of 231 barangays across 5 provinces — Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as well as Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat — were interviewed.

Families displaced by conflict

The study, “Violent Conflicts and Displacement in Central Mindanao: Challenges for Recovery and Development, ” revealed that 4 in every 10 households in the surveyed areas experienced displacement from 2000-2010, with 1 in 5 displaced 2 or more times, and 1 in 10 forced to leave their homes up to 5 times during this period.

The long-term effects of conflicts have been destructive indeed: they have repressed the growth of investments while diluting government resources needed for development, basic services and human capital.

But government firmly believes that war is not a solution to this long-term historical problem, and that much can ultimately be resolved by addressing the deeper problems of poverty and underdevelopment.

Inequality has been a primary reason for the insurgency’s continuation through so many generations: certainly, the human development index in ARMM is arguably the worst in the entire country, part of a legacy of decades of armed struggle.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary and HDPRCC head Dinky Soliman welcomed the report’s “important insights on the inter-related dimensions of conflict, displacement and economic growth” in Central Mindanao.

“The data provides a basis to allow the relevant departments in government and other development partners to offer targeted recovery and render extensive development support in affected areas, especially the most vulnerable households,” she said.

In a statement read by Undersecretary Luis Montalbo, Secretary Ging Quintos-Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) also lauded the study, finding it to be a “very relevant guide” for government’s efforts in conflict-affected communities under the current Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities or PAMANA) program.

“It is also important that interventions under PAMANA be based on detailed knowledge of livelihood opportunities and access to land, credit availability and food supply. These indicators vary from place to place,” Deles noted.

World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi said the report shed considerable light on the nature and extent of vulnerability across provinces, population categories and livelihood groups in affected areas.

“It can shape the operational choices of humanitarian, recovery and development agencies, in addition to improving outcomes for the population on the ground,” he said. Konishi was represented by Mark Woodward, senior social development specialist at the World Bank.

WFP Country Director Stephen Anderson, meanwhile, said the study will help agencies like WFP “better target food assistance and help communities strengthen their resilience to conflict and natural disasters.”


Not enough food

Photos by Philipp Herzog, WFP

Photos by Philipp Herzog, WFP

Anderson noted that “the 2 ARMM provinces in Central Mindanao – Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur – suffer the highest levels of food insecurity. This is exacerbated by high levels of exposure to shocks, such as recurrent flooding and crop disease that make people poorer and more food insecure.”

The study found out that households in Central Mindanao most vulnerable to displacement have been “frequently exposed to violence.”

Movements of armed military and rebel groups were cited by 29% of surveyed households as one primary cause of their displacement, while 9%blamed it on clan conflict or “rido.”

Host families also felt additional pressures, resorting “to selling goods or assets to provide food and support” for the displaced people they were hosting.

Of the areas surveyed, Maguindanao accounted for the highest degree of vulnerability, with about 82 percent of all households in the area affected by displacement due not only to violent conflict but also to weather-related disasters.

These displacements represented the 2 poorest wealth quintiles, where households suffered the highest levels of food insecurity and the lowest incomes.

Money as top priority

When asked to identify their top priorities, surveyed households ranked money, employment, food, health and education, in that order. Respondents called for government attention to these basic needs, as well as the construction of roads and the need for electricity.

Respondents also identified economic development, the signing of a peace agreement, and ending impunity as critical interventions that are urgently needed.

Peace is crucial for human wellbeing, economic development and nation building. Deeper problems of poverty and underdevelopment propagate and sustain conflict — which we therefore should be focusing on instead.

Many sources of disagreement are now generations old, no longer amenable to short-term solutions.

Peaceful resolution will now therefore require much greater give-and-take, carefully crafted policies and a great deal of goodwill on all sides.

But policies and mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of political disputes must be coupled with programs that accurately target socio-economic, political and environmental vulnerabilities.

By increasing access to services and infrastructure, these areas of conflict can potentially be transformed into peaceful and progressive communities.

In line with President Aquino’s thrust for more participatory government, this publication provides a wellspring for greater dialogue and collaboration in the future. This is just the start of a creative new partnership between the Philippine government and its international partners to work towards more humanitarian conditions — and more lasting peace and development — in central Mindanao .

Lila Ramos Shahani is assistant secretary and head of communications of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster. She is also adjunct faculty at the Center for Development Management at the Asian Institute of Management.


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DSWD’s Kalahi-CIDSS saved Iloilo town from ‘Yolanda’

The crack on the sea wall is the only sign that Typhoon Yolanda caused the waters to rise in Barangay Mangorocoro, as it protected the villagers from the wrath of the typhoonKung wala po iyong sea wall na ginawa sa ilallim ng Kalahi-CIDSS, madami na po ang patay dito dahil sa ‘Yolanda’ (If we did not have the seawall Kalahi-CIDSS, a lot of the residents would have died because of ‘Yolanda’).”

These were the words by Rogelio Labsan, the former Barangay Captain of Brgy. Mangorocoro in Ajuy, Iloilo. His tone was bas fearful as it was proud as he went on to describe how Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the three main poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), was able to protect their community from the savagery of Typhoon Yolanda.

Impact in Ajuy

Ajuy was one of the municipalities in Iloilo that was hit hard by the super typhoon, affecting 11,510 households, 7,064 of which totally lost their homes because of the disaster.

As a coastal community, Brgy. Mangorocoro was no stranger to being affected by the elements.

Prior to the construction of the sea wall, current Barangay Captain Conrado Fernandez said that it was normal for the elementary school campus, where a Kalahi-CIDSS school building now stands, to be flooded during high tide, even on normal weather.

It was the constant fear of being flooded that pushed the residents of Brgy. Mangorocoro to raise for the construction of the sea wall during a KALAHI-CIDSS assembly.

They were able to complete the construction of the sea wall in 2010. When presented with another opportunity by Kalahi-CIDSS, they upgraded their sea wall, having it cemented to make it even more durable to better protect them from harm.

It was this foresight that protected them from experiencing the full impact of “Yolanda”.

While some flooding occurred in Brgy. Mangorocoro at the height of the typhoon, their village did not suffer from any casualties because the sea wall protected them from the rising waters.

Simon Hagurin, one of the senior citizens in Brgy. Mangorocoro who served as a volunteer in Kalahi-CIDSS, shared that he did not want to think about what would have happened to their village had the sea wall not been constructed.

This was echoed by Ajuy Mayor Juancho Alvarez, who said, “Kung wala ang ‘Kalahi’ sea wall, washed out na ang Brgy. Mangorocoro (If the sea wall had not been there, Brgy. Mangoroco would have been washed out).”

The thin crack on the sea wall serves as a silent testament of the ferocity of the typhoon.

Community strength

While the residents of Brgy. Mangorocoro are thankful for the construction of the sea wall, what they are more grateful for is how Kalahi-CIDSS has ingrained in them the spirit of participation and cooperation within their village.

As a project that uses the Community-Driven Development (CDD) strategy, Kalahi-CIDSS seeks to develop the skills and capacities of the citizens, even as it strives to teach them to work together in partnership with their local government units (LGUs) to improve their lives.

By empowering them, Kalahi-CIDSS enables them to become active agents in local development. In effect, the project builds up communities so citizens will be able to work together to lift themselves from poverty.

It is this sense of communal support that the residents of Brgy. Mangorocoro keenly felt.

As Sister Alona Marie Abunda, a local pastor who also served as Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer, shared, “Sa Kalahi-CIDSS, dumami ang friends. At dahil dumami ang friends, tumaas ang cooperation (In Kalahi-CIDSS, we gained more friends. And since we now have more friends, we cooperated more).”

This was completely different from their situation before Kalahi-CIDSS entered the community, when the residents did not really work together, according to Sis. Alona.

When Kalahi-CIDSS started, the Project staff had a hard time gathering the residents together.

According to Teacher Cherry Santiago, it was difficult to conduct barangay assemblies at first.

She said, “Bago ang Kalahi-CIDSS, ang hirap mag-barangay assembly. Kailangan mo pang ipatawag isa-isa ang mga tao, tapos kakaunti pa ang nag-a-attend (Before Kalahi-CIDSS, it was difficult to conduct barangay assemblies. You had to invite the residents one by one, and even then, only a few would attend).”

Since then, conducting barangay assemblies was no longer a problem.

Teacher Cherry proudly shared that their attendance rate is at least 90%, because the residents have since learned through Kalahi-CIDSS that these gatherings are opportunities for them to discuss their concerns and how to solve these.

More importantly, they now understand that each one of them has a personal stake in helping their barangay develop.

As Mayor Alvarez said, Kalahi-CIDSS opened the eyes of the LGU and the residents to the reality that “development is a shared responsibility.”

Editha Labsan, who was one of the Procurement Team (PT) volunteers of Kalahi-CIDSS, stated strongly that the Project opened their eyes on what their community needs.

She said that she preferred having sub-projects constructed by Kalahi-CIDSS than by contractors.

She stated, “Baka kung contractor sub-standard. Kapag kami, sigurado ang quality (If a contractor did it, their work may be sub-standard. If we did the work, we can be assured of the quality).”

She continued, “May transparency sa Kalahi-CIDSS (Kalahi-CIDSS has transparency),” explaining that every phase of project construction is open to perusal by anyone, including concerned citizens and even third-party groups and individuals.

Editha’s sentiments were echoed by Lolo Simon, who said, “Sa Kalahi-CIDSS sigurado kami (In Kalahi-CIDSS, we have assurance).”

This self-assurance, as described by Lorelyn Biogos, a teacher in Mangorocoro Elementary School, was because the residents themselves have a personal stake should they encounter problems with their Kalahi-CIDSS sub-projects.

She said, “May sense of ownership ang community (The community has a sense of ownership for these).”

Teacher Lorelyn shared that the reason why she served as one of the Kalahi-CIDSS volunteers in the construction of the school building is because she knew she had a role to play in helping her community.

She said, “This is part of my legacy. May parte ako sa proyekto (I have a part in the project).”

She continued, “Generations will benefit from this project,” a strong statement coming from someone who works in a profession that ensures the protection of future generations.

Kalahi-CIDSS did not just mobilize the residents to work together. It also made them more sensitive to the different needs of the citizens. One such example is on gender.

As Teacher Cherry said, “Ang mga babae nag-pa-participate na. Nakakatulong na sila sa komunidad sa pamamagitan ng Proyekto (Women now participate. They are able to help out the community through the Project).”

The participation of Teacher Cherry and Teacher Lorelyn, as well as that of the others who helped in the implementation of the school building, also played a role in helping protect residents from “Yolanda”, as the structure was used as one of the evacuation centers following the storm.

Teacher Lorelyn is responsible for managing the bank account that will be used for the operations and maintenance of the school building.

“Medyo nabasa (It got a little wet)”, she said, smiling sheepishly as she presented the passbook, explaining how the status of the booklet, which got slightly damaged because of the torrential rains brought by “Yolanda”.

She said that some funds in the account were taken out for minor repairs to the school following the storm.

Continuing partnership between Ajuy and Kalahi-CIDSS

Ajuy, Iloilo is no stranger to Kalahi-CIDSS. The municipality has been implementing this since 2004, almost from the time of the Project’s inception in 2003.

The implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS has earned Ajuy several recognitions, including a DSWD award for being a model LGU in practicing participation, transparency, and accountability for two straight years in 2011 and 2012.

Mayor Alvarez said that the main reason why Kalahi-CIDSS was successful in Ajuy was because it was able to capacitate and empower the people to actively participate in local decision-making processes.

He said, “The people are given the capacity and power to decide instead of maghintay lang (simply waiting).”

He described how Kalahi-CIDSS has taught the residents that their involvement is important, saying, “It influenced their way of life. The people became assertive because they know what is best for themselves more than anyone else does.”

Mayor Alvarez concluded, “Kalahi-CIDSS taught them to dream again.”

From being a fourth-class municipality in 2001, it has since been re-classified as a second-class municipality in 2009, the change of which is Mayor Alvarez attributes partly due to the interventions introduced by Kalahi-CIDSS.

Since the start of the partnership between Kalahi-CIDSS and Ajuy, 115 community sub-projects were constructed in the municipality, all of which address needs for basic services. These small-scale infrastructures include school buildings, day care centers, health stations, and water systems.

When asked if Ajuy can stand even when Kalahi-CIDSS pulls out of the municipality, the residents were one in saying that they can, because they have already embraced the CDD strategy and will work doubly hard to ensure that they will continue following the processes instituted by the Project.

According to them, disasters will not keep them from working together as a community. On the contrary, CDD helped them respond to the problems better, because they were able to help each other in the recovery operations in the aftermath of “Yolanda”.

One volunteer sums up appreciation with CDD, saying, “Na-in love na kami sa Kalahi-CIDSS (We fell in love with Kalahi-CIDSS).” ###

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Adopt a child the right way through legal adoption – DSWD

Filipinos celebrate February as Love Month. For childless couples, what better way to express this than to provide a needy child with a loving and stable family through legal adoption.

This is the message of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman as the Department leads the celebration of Adoption Consciousness Week from February 15 to 23.

The week-long event aims to disseminate basic information about adoption including the processes, requirements, and its benefits and effects.

Adoption Help Desks will be set up in selected SM and Ayala Malls in Metro Manila to provide information on adoption to interested individuals and families.

These will be manned by social workers from DSWD-Field Offices IV-A  and IV-B, National Capital Region, as well as accredited child-placing agencies, such as Norfil Foundation Inc. and Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF).

This year’s theme, “Legal na Pag-aampon sa Lahat ng Pagkakataon”, emphasizes the importance of adhering to the legal adoption process in every situation, including during disasters.

“This is especially true in the situation of orphaned children in Eastern Visayas where some Typhoon Yolanda survivors have taken custody  of some orphans in their localities,” Sec. Soliman stated.

“Children orphaned by ‘Yolanda’ deserve to get the proper psychological and material support needed for their recovery,” Sec. Soliman underscored.

DSWD, in partnership with local government units, international and local non-government organizations, has initiated the Rapid Family Tracing and Reunification Program (RFTRP) for the registration of orphaned children.

As of December 2013, DSWD has initially registered 87 children who were orphaned due to the disaster.

Sec. Soliman said that by registering, the families and individuals who are taking custody of orphaned children can become foster families or parents, and may avail of the benefits provided for under the Foster Care Act of 2012.

In 2012, DSWD issued the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Foster Care Act or Republic Act 10165 which includes qualifications for those interested in being a foster parent or providing temporary care to abused, abandoned, neglected children, and children with special needs.

The law also includes provisions on adopting a foster child.

“Legal adoption offers security and ensures the best interest of the child. This is why DSWD discourages direct placement and is against simulation of birth certificates,” Sec. Soliman emphasized.

Adoption Consciousness Week is observed annually based on Presidential Proclamation No. 72 dated February 3, 1999.

Other activities include launching of the adoption dashboard, photo exhibit of adoptive families and their adopted children, and a forum on the professional practice of social work on adoption in different settings.

DSWD celebrates the event in partnership with SM Cares; SM City Manila, Fairview, Marikina, Southmall, Megamall, Market Market in Greenbelt; Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA); Metro Rail Transit Authority (MRTA); Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA); Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO); and, Quezon City Government.

Other participating agencies are the Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines (ACCAP), Norfil, KBF, Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB), and Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC).

ICAB and CWC are attached agencies of the DSWD. ###

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One year after – New moon shines over ‘Pablo’-hit towns

The Alvar couple talk with a DSWD Field Office XI staff regarding livelihood ventures.

Cateel, Davao Oriental- It is 9 o’clock in this cold December evening but Barangay Poblacion, the center of this town is still teeming with people, specifically at Eduard’s Grill, the most popular dining place in the entire municipality.

Decorative lights, in keeping with the Yuletide season, adorn homes and establishments.

Overhead, a full moon glows, bathing the town in an ethereal light prompting one resident to exclaim, “Tapos na talaga ang unos, nakabangon na ang Cateel (The storm has passed. Cateel has risen).”

This is the cheerful scenario that now greets visitors and travelers here. Hardly are there signs that this picturesque coastal town comprising of 16 barangays once bore the brunt of Typhoon Pablo’s fury as it struck Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley provinces on December 4, 2012.

Year of trials and challenges

Sarah I. Bulala, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO), acknowledged that the year following ‘Pablo’s’ devastation has been “full of trials and challenges.”

She notes however, that “with the help of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the provincial government, non-government organizations (NGOs) and various local and international organizations, [the town has] recovered.”

According to Bulala, DSWD continues to provide Cash-for-Work (CFW) for the victims.

CFW is the provision of compensation based on prevailing regional wage to disaster victims in exchange for doing community work, such as clearing roads of debris, declogging of canals, and repair of small community facilities.

Aside from CFW, the DSWD, together with International Organization for Migration (IOM), Red Cross, Plan International, and other humanitarian and government organizations, provided seminars on livelihood.

“Women’s groups were also organized to engage in gardening, which is both therapeutic and income-generating,” Bulala added.

“Likewise, DSWD’s other programs such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino, Supplemental Feeding, and Social Pension for indigent senior citizens, helped us a lot in achieving normalcy,” she said.

On the other hand, Cateel Vice-Mayor Isidro S. Castro emphasized the fast-tracking of livelihood assistance as the local government’s priority, along with the ongoing construction of new houses and repair of damaged government facilities, such as day care centers.

“We have rebuilt 25 out of the 40 destroyed day care centers in the municipality,” Vice-Mayor Castro said.

“We are halfway to total recovery but much still needs to be done. It will take maybe three to five years for us to fully recover and achieve economic self-sufficiency,” the Vice-Mayor further explained.

A second-class municipality, it mainly depends on palm oil production and planting of fast-growing trees like Falcata and rubber trees. Peanuts and vegetable farming are the people’s main source of livelihood.

The residents were trained on farming methods suited to the town’s terrain.

Focus on recovery

The struggle towards economic sufficiency after the onslaught of ‘Pablo’ was a concern shared by the local government units (LGUs) of Boston and Banganga, two other towns in Davao Oriental badly hit by the typhoon.

As Ma. Consolacion P. Cabrera, MSWDO of Boston puts it, “We are still recovering, specifically with the loss of our livelihood, but with the help of the national and provincial governments, it will not take us long to achieve our goals.”

Cabrera cited the Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehesive and Integrated Delivery of Social-Services-Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (KALAHI-CIDSS-PAMANA) program implemented by the DSWD as instrumental in the town’s recovery.

The program is implemented in all eight barangays of Boston and is responsible for the construction of day care centers, barangay health stations, water systems and mini-market.

For his part, Banganga Mayor Arturo Monday stated, “By next year, we will be fully recovered. Our priorities now are ensuring food security and the livelihood of the people.”

Mayor Monday imparted this message to the LGUs and residents of Leyte and Samar provinces devastated by typhoon ‘Yolanda’ last November 8, “Let us set aside politics so help and recovery will easily reach the affected populace.”

“You have to be very strong, forget the past and focus on recovery as we have done,” the Mayor emphasized.

New homes for the New Year

Earlier this month, the provincial government and DSWD-Field Office XI turned over some 72 permanent housing units under DSWD’s Modified Shelter Assistance Program (MSAP) to the beneficiaries in Better Living Village at Purok Madre de Cacao.

Gerry S. Tabura, newly-elected President of the Neighborhood Shelter Assistance Association (NASA) expressed their gratitude to the DSWD, and to the municipal and provincial governments for their new homes, saying, “Now that we have permanent houses to live in, we can really start anew.”

Each of the pink, yellow and white houses in the village measures 80 square meters and can withstand extreme wind and rain.

Cash grants

Couple Renie and Mila Alvar of Brgy. Dapnan, Banganga, on the other hand, chose to have their permanent house built on the site where their destroyed house used to be.

The couple is also thankful that aside from the housing assistance, they are also beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya.

Renie said that the program has helped them a lot during those critical times of starting anew.

Of their eight children, two are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

Their daughter Mia, 12, was chosen as the Exemplary Child of Pantawid Pamilya and has participated in the National Children’s Congress held last October in Manila.

Their children became Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in 2011.

Renie and Mila shared that the things they learned during the Family Development Sessions (FDS) helped them recover after the typhoon.

“We were taught responsible parenthood and disaster preparedness which proved valuable before, during and after the typhoon,” Mila said in the vernacular.

“We also believe in sariling sikap na hindi parating umaasa sa tulong ng iba (doing things on our own, and not just relying on other people’s help),” the couple explained.

With their savings, they expanded their modest sari-sari store beside their new house.

Lessons learned

The three worst ‘Pablo’-hit towns in the province are adjacent to each other. From this town, it takes only 30 minutes to reach Boston travelling towards Surigao Sur, and an hour to Banganga.

These are also the farthest towns in the province.

The local officials are one in saying that they have all learned some valuable lessons from the disaster.

Mayor Monday reflected, “We need to work together to build the capacities of LGUs for disaster preparedness. Likewise, we must reform by ensuring that there is equal delivery of services to everyone regardless of political affiliation, religion, gender, and social status.”

Rudy A. Monday, Chairman of Brgy. Dapnan, Banganga, stated, “What happened is a wake-up call to us so we may conserve and protect the environment.”

This viewpoint was shared by Vice-Mayor Castro who underscored, “The issues concerning climate change and environmental protection must now take precedence over everything else, or else we may yet suffer from more devastating calamities.”

Better communities

DSWD-FO XI Director Priscilla N. Razon summed it all up in saying, “It was our first experience in handling a massive disaster, and it was not easy for all of us. We have encountered several challenges along the way like telling various sectors what the government has been doing.”

“Through it all, I feel so blessed for having the full support of the DSWD management, a responsive and cooperative staff and the overwhelming response of the local and international groups which stood by us and helped us from disaster relief operations to recovery and rehabilitation stage.”

She adds, “I also admire the resiliency of the affected LGUs and residents. They held fast to our promise not to lose hope because the government is on hand to assist them, and we delivered, new homes and livelihood opportunities.

“More blessings will be coming, and together with our LGU partners and the people themselves, we are now building better homes and better lives.” ###

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