Grade-schooler gets simple life’s perks, admiration through Pantawid Pamilya

Mark Lovel Bedona of Bugasong, Antique dreams to be an architect someday. With him is his mother Merlyn. The family has been receiving aid from the government under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Mark Lovel Bedona of Bugasong, Antique dreams to be an architect someday. With him is his mother Merlyn. The family has been receiving aid from the government under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Mark Lovel Bedona, 11, of Bugasong, Antique, and a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program has expressed how thankful he is for being a recipient of the program

Pantawid Pamilya has paved the way for Mark to experience new things, such as riding an airplane, going to a mall, and riding in an air-conditioned vehicle

More than that, he earned the admiration of his schoolmates, teachers, and townmates when he won the 2014 Regional Search for Exemplary Child of Pantawid Pamilya.

A pupil of Lacayon Elementary School, Mark represented the Westerm Visayas Region in the National Children’s Congress (NCC) in Manila along with other regional winners in the country last year.

“I strive to be a good model as a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilya. I am running for the top spot in the class this year,” said Mark, son of Merlyn, a solo parent.

Being last year’s regional winner, he was given the special treatment as guest of honor during the 2015 Regional Search for Exemplary Child of Pantawid Pamilya at the Harbor Town Hotel in Iloilo City to provide inspiration to other exemplary children who vied for the title.

“Simple lang ang akon handum. Ini ang makatapos kang akon pagtu-on kag mangin bantog nga arketekto (I have a simple dream. I want to finish my studies and be a known architect),” he said.

Young environmentalist

Mark won the hearts of the Ilonggos when he advocated for the protection of the environment during last year’s search.

“I will plant trees and I will not throw plastic products in my surroundings,” he said in Kinaray-a local dialect, when asked about how he could help save the environment.

Mark has been on top of his class since kindergarten. He also earned awards as best in writing, math, reading, and, spelling. He is only on his fifth grade but displays prowess in painting.

When asked how he could change their present life as a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary, the young Antiqueno answered, “I will study hard so that I will find a good job. That way, I could change our lives,” he said.

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18. It provides cash grants to beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers for checkups, and attending the monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS).

To date, around 4.4 million households continue to reap the benefits of the program.

As part of the nation’s celebration of Children’s Month every year, the National Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children, carrying the tagline, “Kaya Ko ang Pagbabago,” is part of the National Children’s Congress that aims to emphasize the importance of the role of the child within the Filipino family and in nation-building.

The search will also identify a pool of children advocates who will talk about their experiences as program beneficiaries.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman said, “Through Pantawid, children-beneficiaries are able to stay in school. The program also keeps them healthy since regular check-ups in health centers are included among the conditions that beneficiaries have to comply with.”

“Children like Mark have experienced positive changes in their lives which motivate them to strive hard to finish their studies”, Sec. Soliman emphasized.

The annual search encourages children to become responsible not only in complying with the conditions and the ideals of the program but more so in becoming outstanding citizens who will be emulated by children and even adults. ###

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DSWD celebrates family day for Pantawid Pamilya

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will once again gather around 5,000 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program at the Philippine Sports Arena ​(ULTRA) in Pasig City​​ ​to celebrate Family Day today, October 4.

With the theme, “Tuloy ang Pagbabago”, the event aims to affirm the positive change of the program on the lives of the poor beneficiaries.

“We have heard of so many anecdotal stories of change which are consistent with the results of​​ ​the first and second wave impact evaluation of the program affirming that the Pantawid Pamliya  is on track in achieving its goals and objectives,” said DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman.

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households with children aged 0-18.

Commonly known as the Philippine version of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), the Pantawid Pamilya provides cash grants upon compliance to the set of responsibilities which the beneficiaries committed to undertake. This includes school attendance of at least 85% of  children aged 3-18; pre- and post- natal care for pregnant women based on the government protocol; regular health check-ups for children aged 0-5; deworming for children enrolled in the elementary; and, attendance to Family Development Sessions.

Currently, the program covers 4.4​ million households.

“Apart from the program, we have also invited other government agencies to set-up booths so that our beneficiaries will be able to access their services. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) will have satellite registration booths while the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will lead the Jobs Fair. The Department of National Defense (DND) on the other hand will hold a medical and dental mission,” added Sec. Soliman.

Private companies such as Bernabest will raffle 5 pedicabs while Reyes Haircutters will give free haircut services. CDO company will have free hotdogs for the beneficiaries.

Celebrities Karla Estrada and TJ Marquez will also grace the occasion.

“This event was first launched last year and we hope to do this annually. The people who are with us today are the mothers and fathers who are working hard for their children. They  are our partners in ensuring that children of today will have better opportunities tomorrow,” concluded Sec. Soliman. ###

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DSWD awards Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will award today the winners of the Search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya 2015 during the celebration of the Family Day at the Philippine Sports Arena (ULTRA) in Pasig City.​

Fifteen families  from the different regions competed for the search.

The Search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya is an annual activity of the Pantawid Pamilya which aims to recognize families who have religiously followed the conditions of the program and have been  active and model families in their respective communities.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that there are five finalists vying for the ​grand winner. These families are the Tam-awen  of Benguet; Achuela  of Ilocos Norte, Gojo-Cruz of Laguna, Calipusan  of Antique, and the Torrentira of Bohol.

The family who will emerge as the grand​ winner will receive P30,000  The first runner-up will receive P25,000, and the second runner-up will get P15,000.  A consolation prize of P10,000 will also be given. The families will also receive their Plaques of Recognition. ###

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Reaping the fruits of good governance

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program commonly known as the Philippine version of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) was first implemented in 2008 and was continued after the presidential election in 2010.

From the more than 300,000 household- beneficiaries, the program now covers around 4.4 million households. In 2013, the program was expanded further to cover children aged 0-18 from the original 0-14. The expansion of age coverage is in response to the study showing that children have better chances of being gainfully employed after finishing their high school based on the new curriculum being implemented by the Department of Education.

Last April, Pantawid Pamilya held a recognition activity for the first batch of high school graduates which was attended by more than 18,000 students from the National Capital Region (NCR). More than 300,000 high school program- beneficiaries graduated last March.

“These significant numbers reflect the progress of the program in terms of changing the lives of our beneficiaries. This program has given them hope and chance to improve their lives,” shared DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano- Soliman.

As the country is holding another presidential election come May 2016, the viability of continuing the program beyond the present administration is also being asked by the partner- beneficiaries.

“I have been openly asked several times by many of our beneficiaries. From my standpoint, the only assurance that the program will be continued is through our partner-beneficiaries. We at the Department will only serve as facilitators to ensure that their voices are heard by our policy makers,” said Sec. Soliman.

At present, there is a move by  the Senate and Congress to institutionalize the Pantawid Pamilya, creating a law to govern it.

“We are grateful for this initiative coming from the Senate and Congress, most especially to the sponsors of this bill who are one with us in believing that the Pantawid Pamilya will have a positive impact on the lives of our beneficiaries. We are confident that with the passage of this bill into law, we will have more children who are assured of finishing their high school and will grow up healthy,”  Sec. Soliman  stated​. ###​

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Chinese Ambassador visits ‘Yolanda’ survivors in transitional homes

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua gets a warm welcome from children at a transitional site in Tacloban City during his visit to the area.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua gets a warm welcome from children at a transitional site in Tacloban City during his visit to the area.

Tacloban City, Leyte – People’s Republic of China Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua flew to Tacloban earlier this week to visit Typhoon Yolanda survivors staying in transitional shelters in the villages of Tagpuro and Cali.

The Ambassador was accompanied by officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Field Office VIII who also briefed him on the current situation of the families in the transitional sites and the plan of the government to move them soon to permanent resettlement sites.

During the visit, Ambassador Zhao  distributed relief packs to the families. He also consoled  two families staying at the Cali transitional site who lost several family members at the height of ‘Yolanda’.

“I can see from your smiles that you are confident and you have a better life.  The Chinese  Embassy in the Philippines would like to continue this kind of assistance. This is my first time here but I promise that it won’t be the last,”  Ambassador Zhao said.

The families  were grateful as the supply of goods brought by the Ambassador will last them a month.

The Ambassador continued, “Please remember that you are not alone. You have China, you have the International Organization for Migration (IOM). We will always stand by you  and make sure that you will have a better life.”

Upon learning of the warm welcome accorded to the Ambassador, DSWD-Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman thanked Ambassador Zhao for  meeting the survivors in the transitional shelters and remarked that his visit indicates the strong ties that continue to bind both countries.

She assured the Ambassador that a more decent life awaits the families when they transfer to their permanent homes.  ###

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DSWD disaster teams on alert for ‘Kabayan’

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has a total of P34.7 million standby funds, 148,772 family food packs, and P71 million worth of food and non-food items that can be tapped to augment the resources of local government units (LGUs) that will be affected by Tropical Storm Kabayan.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that all disaster teams in DSWD-Field Offices along the path of ‘Kabayan’ are now on alert status ready to provide technical assistance to LGUs along relief distribution and management of evacuation centers.

Based on the forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA), families in the National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Regions I, II, III, IV-A, V, and VI will be affected by the tropical storm.

Sec. Soliman reiterated that families in the said regions especially those in the low-lying areas should follow the orders of their local authorities for their own safety. ###

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The rise of women leaders in Apayao town

An old adage says, “What men can do, women can also do it, even better.”

Such is the case of four women from a small village in Conner, Apayao, who dispelled the image of women as the weaker gender when they led the construction of a women’s center in their town.

Thanks to the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), which paved the way for the women of Cupis to prove their mettle.

Setting the change

Cupis is one of the 21 barangays of Conner, Apayao, and a second-class municipality that has been implementing Kalahi-CIDSS since 2012, under the funding of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and through the Millennium Challenge Account Philippines.

Kalahi–CIDSS is a community-driven development (CDD) program that helps alleviate poverty by capacitating people so they will have the opportunity to identify, implement, and manage community projects and resources that will address their most pressing needs.

Through the CDD, community residents are encouraged to participate in all aspects of the project implementation from planning process, proposal development, construction estimates, community finance, and to procurement.

Skills training are given to the residents to prepare and empower them in managing, as well as sustaining the project.

The community projects identified by the citizens usually come in the form of small-scale infrastructure projects that address basic social service needs, such as school buildings, day care centers, health centers, pathways, rice or corn mills, or electrification projects.

Kalahi-CIDSS also seeks to improve local governance by tightening the ties between local government units (LGUs), and communities so that they can work together to ensure sustainable local development, even after the program.

Since the first year of Kalahi-CIDSS implementation in Conner, a big change in the community has been noted, beginning with the empowerment of women.

The challenge as women leaders

In Conner, the men used to be regarded as the only capable leaders. This timeworn norm, however, is no longer the situation in the town.

“Noong sinimulan ang Kalahi [CIDSS] dito, pinag-uusapan na nila ang posibilidad ng magkaroon ng mga kababaihang lider. Naisip namin na parang napakalaki itong hamon para sa aming mga kababaihan (When Kalahi [CIDSS] started here, they were talking about engaging women as leaders. We always thought back then, that being a leader feels like it was a very big challenge for us women),” said Jocelyn C. Pascua, Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) Chairperson.

“Sobrang pasasalamat ko nga po sa DSWD dahil sa sobrang dami ng mga trainings at seminars ng Kalahi [CIDSS]. Ang laki po ng tiwala na binibigay ng mga tao sa akin. Maka-ilang beses na po akong nagpa-training ng weaving sa mga ibat-ibang grupo sa loob at labas ng Apayao (I am thankful to DSWD for all the opportunities, trust, and skills trainings provided to me through Kalahi-CIDSS. I have already served as resource person in various trainings on weaving within and outside Apayao),” Jocelyn said.

She also proudly shared that she was the vice-president of the Kalipi Women’s Organization in Cupis last year, and just this year, she represented Conner in the recent Women’s Month celebration.

Lahat po ng kababaihan ay nagtataglay na nang kani-kanilang sariling lakas para mabago ang kanilang buhay nang dahil po sa Kalahi [CIDSS] (All women here in Cupis are already empowered, all because of Kalahi [CIDSS]),” shared Lilia L. Andaya, another BSPMC Chairperson.

“Noon, talagang mga kalalakihan ang nasa posisyon. Ngayon, makikita na ‘yung balanse sa parehong gender. Hindi na issue ngayon ang taas ng pinag-aralan. Ngayon, nakadepende na sa puso at kung hanggang saan ang kaya mong gawin para makapagsilbi ka sa kapwa mo at sa bayan (Before, only the males were given positions of leadership.  Now, we have seen gender equality.  It is no longer an issue of educational attainment.  It now depends on the commitment to serve),” Lilia shared her thoughts on promoting gender equality through Kalahi – CIDSS.

Women’s center

Through the leadership of Jocelyn and Lilia as BSPMC chairpersons, they led other women and men in the implementation of their chosen CDD project, which was a women’s center.

With a P2.6-million gender incentive grant (GIG) from MCC plus the local counterpart contribution (LCC) of the local government unit of Conner, the 126-square meter women’s center was built.

As soon as they were able to complete the project, the women continued to plan and source out additional funds for the acquisition of materials and equipment, which they can use for the facility.

Today, various women’s groups in Conner are using the center for skills enhancement trainings.

“’Yung mga natutunan namin sa Kalahi-CIDSS, hindi natatapos sa Kalahi-CIDSS. Ngayon, alam na namin na mas marami pa kaming kayang gawin. Madami pa kaming pwedeng matutunan. Hindi kami pwedeng tumigil dahil lang babae kami. Kaming mga kababaihan ay parte rin ng komunidad, kaya’t may boses kami sa pagpapaunlad nito (What we learned from Kalahi-CIDSS goes beyond the program.  We realized that there are still many things to learn and explore.  We should not stop learning just because we are women. We will continue the change that we have started. We are a part of the community, thus, we should work at improving our lives),” Lilia said, sharing her commitment for change.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that women like Jocelyn and Lilia if given the right opportunity can also become leaders in their own right.

“This is the essence of inclusive growth. All sectors, from children to older persons, can take part in nation building and become part of development,” Sec. Soliman added. ###

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Revamped response centre ready to produce 50,000 emergency family food packs

(Left photo) Sec. Soliman leads the unveiling of the marker of the warehouse that houses the mechanized repacking system at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City during this morning's inauguration of the equipment. Also in photo are Undersecretary Parisya Taradji ( left), United Kingdom Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad (center), and World Food Programme Country Director Praveen Agrawal. (Right photo) Sec. Soliman, WFP Country Director Agrawal, and Ambassador Ahmad witness the ceremonial repacking of relief goods using the mechanized production system.

(Left photo) Sec. Soliman leads the unveiling of the marker of the warehouse that houses the mechanized repacking system at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City during this morning’s inauguration of the equipment. Also in photo are Undersecretary Parisya Taradji ( left), United Kingdom Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad (center), and World Food Programme Country Director Praveen Agrawal.
(Right photo) Sec. Soliman, WFP Country Director Agrawal, and Ambassador Ahmad witness the ceremonial repacking of relief goods using the mechanized production system.

MANILA – A revamped and modernized repacking system has been set up by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which will speed up the production of emergency family food packs next time the country faces a disaster.

New rice bagging machines, case erectors, a conveyor system and a pallet racking system, which were inaugurated today at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City, will allow the government to produce more than 50,000 family food packs per day next time a disaster occurs in the Philippines – enough to feed more than 250,000 people for three days.

Also known as the Mechanized Production System, which is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), will help improve the national response capacity in the Philippines. Built in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), it will be ready for swift response next time there is a disaster.

“We learnt some important lessons as we mobilised relief for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda,” said Asif Ahmad, UK Ambassador to the Philippines today. “Speed is of the essence in delivering essential survival requirements to people in desperate situations following a natural disaster. This UK government-supported programme will mean that food in the right condition will be delivered quicker and more efficiently.”

“We are pleased to introduce the mechanized production system here in the country,” said Praveen Agrawal, WFP Philippines Representative and Country Director. “This will make a huge difference in the aftermath of a disaster as we are now able to significantly expand the number of people to which we can provide immediate life-saving food.”

The family food pack, which consists of rice, canned goods and coffee, can be packed in a small box for one family, with the newly mechanized production system able to assemble all of the rations in one streamlined process.

“We thank the WFP and DFID for this support,” said DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman. “This is just one of the many efforts we are undertaking to improve the country’s disaster management program.  The new system will enable the Department to become more responsive in meeting the food needs of survivors of disasters.”

The modernisation of the family food pack production facility is the result of a partnership between DSWD, the Office of Civil Defense and WFP, to enhance disaster preparedness in the Philippines. Other projects include establishing a network of disaster response facilities in Clark, Cebu, and General Santos, as well as running a training programme that focuses on emergency logistics and the disaster response supply chain.  ###

About DSWD
The Department of Social Welfare and Development is the government institution responsible for the protection of social welfare rights and promotion of social development.

About WFP
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

For more information, please contact:

Department of Social Welfare and Development (Email:
Ms. Genalor DV Fischer, Information Officer IV, Tel. +63 (02) 951-7440, Mobile +63916-703-3840

World Food Programme – Philippines (Email:
Ms. Faizza Tanggol, Communications Assistant, Tel. +63 (02) 750-2561 local 2420, Mobile +63 917-880-9368

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