Posted on 25 January 2013.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ###