Solo parent finds ‘partner’ in Pantawid Pamilya

Amelia Quinto, 47, a resident of Barangay 10-B in Cavite City struggles to support her five children by herself since separating from her husband four years ago.

“Nakaka-apekto na rin sa pag-aaral ng mga bata ang hindi pagkakasundo naming mag-asawa, kaya nag-desisyon na ako at pinili kong suportahan silang mag-isa (My children’s studies are already affected by constant disagreement between me and my husband so I decided to support them by myself),”she shared.

Hence, when her eldest told her she wanted to enroll in college, Amelia had scary thoughts.

“Alam kong hindi madali ang magpa-aral sa college dahil nakakakwentuhan ko naman dati ‘yung mga nanay na nagpapa-aral  (I know it is not easy to finance my child’s college education because I have also talked to other mothers who have children in college),” she recalled.

Despite her limited income as a vendor, Amelia was able to send her daughter Maria Elena to college. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy in April this year.

For Amelia, the journey towards this achievement is not easy, but she is glad she took the chance. Despite being a solo parent, she never felt alone in any way.

Finding a ‘partner’

Amelia shared how lucky she is that her children are hard working.

“Sabi ng mga anak ko, magtutulungan kami para makamit nila ang pangarap nila na makapag-aral. Hanggang sa school nila, nagtitinda ang mga anak ko para lang masuportahan ang aming mga pangangailangan  (My children said we will help each other so they may achieve their dreams to finish their studies. My children sell things in school to provide for our needs),” Amelia continued.

When their family became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2012, Amelia felt she has found a partner in raising her children.

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

She narrated, “Naging malaking tulong ang programa para sa pag-aaral ng dalawa kong anak. Nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataon para mas mapagtuunan ang pagpapaunlad ng aming kabuhayan (The program is a big help in the schooling of my two children. I had the opportunity to expand our business).”

“Yung dating isang tinda ko lang, nagiging dalawa na. May gulay na, may kakanin pa. Yung kinikita ko dito ay malaking tulong na para suportahan ang aming pamilya, lalo na at dalawa ang nagkokolehiyo ko (I doubled the items that I sell,  aside from vegetables, I also sell snacks. The earnings I derived here is a big help in supporting my family, especially since I have two children studying in college),” Amelia related.

As an added source of income, she also rents 20 units of ‘pero-pero’ (a battery-operated lamp) to her neighbors who have no electricity in their houses, earning additional P200 daily.

“Ang mga customer ko dito sa amin, mga walang kuryente sa bahay nila dahil mahirap lang din sila. Minsan, kahit yung pang-renta na P20 sa pero-pero kada gabi, hindi nila mabayaran, pero ayos lang ‘yun sakin  (My customers here have no electricity in their houses because they are also poor. Sometimes, they cannot even afford to pay the P20 rent for ‘pero-pero’ every evening, but this is fine with me),” she said.

“Naranasan ng mga anak ko na mag-aral sa tapat ng street lights, o kaya nagbabantay ako hanggang matapos silang mag-aral gamit ang kandila para makasigurong hindi kami masusunugan. Alam namin ang hirap kaya gusto ko namang tulungan ‘yung mga kapitbahay namin sa munting paraan  (My children experienced how it is to study beside street lights, or I watched over them until they finish their assignments using candles to ensure that our house will not catch fire. We know how difficult it is so I want to help our neighbors even in a small way),” Amelia pointed out.

Building a strong family

Other than the cash grants being provided by the Pantawid Pamilya, Amelia is thankful because this program taught her to be a better parent through her regular attendance to the Family Development Session (FDS).

FDS is a gathering of parent-beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya. It is conducted monthly by DSWD and partners-NGOs in coordination with the private sector and civil society organizations. It serves as a venue where topics on effective parenting, husband and wife relationships, child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, gender and development, home management, active citizenship, and electoral education are discussed.

“Sa aking pag-attend sa mga buwanang FDS, marami akong natutunan, na ang pinakamahalaga ay ang tamang pag-intindi sa mga bata at tamang komunikasyon sa pamilya  (In my monthly attendance to the FDS, I learned a lot of things, the most important of which are understanding and properly communicating with our children),” she pointed out.

According to Amelia, she used to not care about her children’s feelings or opinions.

“Dati, ako lang lagi ang nasusunod. Kailangang intindihin nila ang sinasabi ko. Pero ngayon, alam ko na ang importansya ng maayos na komunikasyon. Bukas ang pag-uusap sa pagitan naming lahat kaya mas naging maayos at malakas ang aming pamilya kahit wala ang tatay nila dito  (Before, my children should always follow and understand what I am saying, but I know now the importance of smooth communication. We maintain an open line of communication, that is why our family became stronger even if their father is not around),” she said.

For Amelia, the happiness they share today because of their good relationship at home and the accomplishments of her children in school reflects her success as a solo parent. This is what keeps her going every day and continuously inspires her to work harder until all her children achieve their dreams.

Amelia is one of the 281,800 solo-parent beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya nationwide, as of April 27. ###

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Poor families benefit from DSWD, business sector partnership

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) has partnered with Holcim Philippines, Inc., a leading cement company in the country, to provide livelihood opportunities to poor families in Davao City.

Under the partnership, a total of 129 families were provided with livelihood skills training on welding and hollow blocks production.

Holcim paid for the tuition fees of the beneficiaries as well as provided starter kits to ensure that they can immediately utilize their newly-acquired knowledge to build their entrepreneurial activities.

Of the total beneficiaries, 36 are also grantees of Pantawid Pamilya like the Momfil Family of Barangay Sasa, Davao City.

The Momfil Family receives the monthly conditional cash grant of P1,400 under the program.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa Pantawid Pamilya dahil sa pagbibigay niya sa aking pamilya ng bagong pag-asa para mapabuti ang aming kalagayan (I am thankful for the program which gave my family the spark of hope to improve our lives),” Merlinda 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 monthly cash grants to beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers, and attending the Family Development Sessions.

However, Merlinda said that it was still a struggle to meet all the needs of the family. That is why, she is thankful that her husband Junito was identified as a beneficiary of the DSWD-Holcim livelihood partnership which started last year.

Junito participated in the shielded metal arc welding and in the hollow blocks production.

Recognizing the success of the partnership, DSWD and Holcim expanded their engagement with the later providing an additional funding of P10 million for the skills enhancement training on masonry, plumbing, carpentry, and concrete hollow blocks production.

Holcim also donated a three-hectare residential lot for the relocation of families in disaster-prone areas.

The beneficiaries who underwent skills training were also the ones hired to build the houses at the relocation site, which provided them with a source of income.

Aside from the livelihood opportunity, the Momfil Family was also among the recipients of the newly constructed disaster-resistant houses.

Merlinda said, “Alam ko na kahit anong sabihin ko ay di pa rin sasapat para ipahiwatig ang aking pasasalamat sa tulong na ito ng ating Panginoon sa pamamagitan ng DSWD (I know that whatever I say to express my gratefulness would never be enough for the Lord’s generous blessings given to us through the DSWD).”

She vowed that she would take good care of their new home and to always put to good use the trainings that they have learned to further improve their plight.

Forging partnerships

Recognizing the importance of engaging the business sector in nation building especially in complementing government resources, the DSWD through SLP continues to forge partnerships with business organizations to implement various programs and services for poor families especially beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

“SLP is an important intervention provided to needy families as livelihood is important in sustaining progress,” Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said.

SLP is a community-based capacity building program that seeks to improve the program participants’ socio-economic status. It is implemented through two tracks: Microenterprise Development and Employment Facilitation.

Since 2011, when SLP was first implemented, a total of 1,036,786 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries have been assisted by the program. ###

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Housewife leads flourishing businesses of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries

Realizing that mothers, not just the fathers, have the duty to provide for their families, some 25 enterprising mother-beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program from Dingras, Ilocos Norte grouped together and availed of livelihood assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and started their broiler production business.

“Ito ang natutunan namin sa aming regular na pagdalo sa Family Development Session ng Pantawid Pamilya. Ayon sa aming mga speakers ang mga nanay daw ay hindi lang pala sa bahay lang, dapat ay madiskarte rin sa buhay para matulungan ang pamilya (We learned this during the Family Development Sessions of Pantawid Pamilya Our speakers emphasized that mothers should not be limited to their domestic role, but should also be resourceful and enterprising to help their families),” Marilyn Malvar, one of the 25 mothers said.

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

FDS is a gathering of parent-beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya. It is conducted monthly by DSWD and partners-NGOs in coordination with the private sector and civil society organizations. It serves as a venue where topics on effective parenting, husband and wife relationships, child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, gender and development, home management, active citizenship, and electoral education are discussed.

Marilyn added that demonstrating self-confidence in dealing with people is one of the positive ​values she learned during FDS, which eventually pushed her to become the President of their livelihood organization, the San Marcelino SLP Association.

From housewives to businessmoms

As Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, the association is eligible for livelihood assistance from the DSWD through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

SLP is a community-based capacity building program that seeks to improve the program participants’ socio-economic status through microenterprise development and employment facilitation.

Opting for the microenterprise development track, the association was provided by DSWD-Field Office 1 (FO1)​ with a livelihood capital assistance of P430,000 to jumpstart their broiler production business.

The group chose this enterprise since they can immediately see a return of their investment. The broilers were sold after 35 days, with the association earning a monthly profit of P2,500 from their sale of P6,000 to P8,000.

​Partnership ventures with business industries

​Engaging private corporations has been one of the major goals of the DSWD-SLP that will provide skills training and market access to beneficiaries.

​In October 2015, DSWD-​FO1  partnered with B-Meg and St. Ruiz Agro Merchandise,  two well-known brands in the hog raising industry,  for the conduct of a training to help the members of the association gain skills and hands-on experience on broiler production.

The group immediately put to use the business skills they have acquired.  Each of the 25 members raises 50 broilers, with a total of 1,250 broilers. After which they will again buy 50 broilers for production.  By December 2015, the association already had a bank savings of P44,000,  which has grown to P134,000 in April.

As part of the agreement between DSWD-FO1 and B-Meg, the latter procures half of the production and the remaining will be sold at the market and to other customers.

Cognizant of their social responsibility, Marilyn also shared that association members and even non-members  but are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries can avail of  loan from the proceeds of their businesses with minimal interests of 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Members can also avail of medical loans with a 4 percent monthly interest.

To inculcate responsibility among members, each is required to contribute P120 a week with P100 as additional savings and P20 for their operational fund.

The income of the business will then be equally divided among the group members.

Inspired by the success of their broiler production, the San Marcelino SLP Association decided to embark on another livelihood project.

Cashing in on the booming tourism industry in the province, the 25 enterprising housewives started their cottage rental business in March.

They started with one cottage in March, which they rented out for P400 a day.

Only two months in the trade, they now have a modest bank savings of P5,710 which they hope to increase in the coming days similar to what they accomplished with their first business venture.

Today, Marilyn is happy that she is able to help bring food on the table. Her income from the group business is a huge help especially that her husband has no regular job taking on construction work when offered.

Saan ko nga inpagarup nga uray saan ko a naileppas ti panagadalko ti kolehiyo ket maysa ak kadagiti mangimatmaton itan ti bukodmi (organisasion) a negosio ken mangidadaulo ti grupo mi (I did not expect that though I failed to finish my studies, I am now one of the managers of our association’s business and also a group leader),” Marilyn said in the vernacular.

Marilyn’s family is happy and proud of her accomplishments. She has gone a long way from being a housewife to an active and empowered citizen in their community, inspiring other women to aspire for better things.  Likewise, with Marilyn’s involvement in the business,  her family now has a stable source of income to ensure their daily survival.

The rest of the group members also expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to improve their perspectives in lives​ as well as their economic status.

From 2011 to 2015, SLP has assisted a total of 1,185,091 Filipino families. Of this number 1,036,786 are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries nationwide which include Marilyn and her group members. ###

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Women take on non-traditional jobs

KC CAR womenAbout 21 women from three barangays of the municipality of Langiden, Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) try their hands at construction jobs after completing the Non-traditional Skills Training on Masonry, Carpentry and Plumbing through the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), a core program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Conducted ​in May 2016, the skills training is part of the Kalahi-CIDSS capacity building activities to empower women by developing skills which will make them competitive in ​male-dominated areas.

Through the joint collaboration of Kalahi-CIDSS and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), around 3,865 women in Kalahi-CIDSS areas nationwide served as paid laborers during the construction of their community sub-projects so they can earn ​additional income to help support their families.

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the core programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that aims to empower communities through enhanced participation in local governance and poverty alleviation projects. The program also promotes the inclusion of women in paid physical labor, planning and decision making for social development issues at the community level.  ###

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PH shares disaster management experience in 1st World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey

A 13-man Philippine Delegation, led by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, took part in the first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in  Istanbul, Turkey on 23-24 May 2016, to share its vast experience in disaster risk reduction and management.

“Our participation in this Summit is a commitment to continue the Philippines’ long tradition of humanitarian assistance… This tradition lives on,” said Sec. Soliman as she delivered the Philippine statement during the first day of the United Nations (UN)-organized summit.

Along with Sec. Soliman were senior officials from the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Embassy in Turkey, National Mapping and Resource Information Agency (NAMRIA) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

The Philippine delegation to the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on 23-24 May 2016.

The Philippine delegation to the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on 23-24 May 2016.

The delegation was also joined by representatives from civil society organizations such as the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), Philippine Support Services Agencies (PHILSSA), People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network (PDRRN), Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DRRNet) Community Disaster Preparedness (CDP), UFS, Socio-Pastoral Institute, PKKK, and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF).


The Philippines delivered the following core commitments: (1) to address the root causes of conflict by sustaining political engagement; (2) to uphold international human rights and humanitarian laws to protect civilians in conflict situations; (3) work on the passage of its Internally Displaced Persons Bill and fulfill the objectives of Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, passed into law to improve the care and protection of children affected by disasters; (4) to accelerate the reduction of disaster and climate-related risks through  sharing of risk information and operational data sets, capacitating local actors governments and CSOs and harnessing in-country resources, prioritizing disaster-resilient
and community-driven infrastructure and continuing its Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) engagement with the private sector; continue with the Conditional Cash Transfer Program to empower and enhance the resilience of poor families; and, (5) to enhance financing and social support to vulnerable communities, implement disaster  risk financing and insurance strategies, increase investments for risk resilience, and mobilize climate financing.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman delivers the Philippine statement in the plenary session of the 1st World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on 23 May 2016.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman delivers the Philippine statement in the plenary session of the 1st World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey on 23 May 2016.

“We call on all to put people at the heart of the agenda for Humanity, uphold their dignity and empower them so that no one is left behind,” Sec. Soliman concluded the country’s plenary statement.

Rich experience

The Philippine delegation and local CSOs that participated in the various Roundtable discussions, special sessions and side events cited the Philippines’ advanced and rich experience in DRRM efforts and continued to advocate the following key concepts and practices, namely: a rationalized planning system for DRRM following the “one assessment, one plan” strategy; stronger coordination at different governance levels; the centrality of local people and humanitarian actors; states as the main drivers of DRRM; focus on disaster-resilient infrastructure; continuing engagement with the business sector
with added emphasis on financing; accessibility issue of persons with disabilities; innovation in disaster risk financing and insurance strategies; and piloting new solutions to
urban crises.

A video of Secretary Dinky Soliman delivering the Philippine statement in the World Humanitarian summit can be viewed in the following link: philippines-world- humanitarian-summit-istanbul-2016- member-states- and-stakeholders- announcements/4907734504001

The WHS , which gathered 9000 participants from 173 countries, including 55 heads of States and Governments, and hundreds of private sector representatives, civil society and non-governmental organizations, was a global response to the call of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to chart a new and coherent multi-stakeholder course in address present-day humanitarian crises.##

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Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act marks 10th year of passage, celebrates milestones

“Today marks a significant day, not only for us in the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council  (JJWC), but most importantly for the children, especially those at risk and in conflict with the law. A decade ago, our law makers enacted Republic Act (RA) 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, a landmark child protection law in Asia, and it has been a colorful and meaningful journey.”

This was the message of  JJWC Executive Secretary Atty. Tricia Clare A. Oco as the Council celebrated on May 20 the milestones in the implementation of  RA 9344 which established a comprehensive juvenile justice system in the Philippines.

Prior to the enactment of the law, data showed that more than 52,000 Filipino children are in detention or under custodial setting. They suffer from all kinds of abuses and some were meted out with capital punishment.

As part of the celebration, the JJWC recognized the invaluable support and contribution of member and coordinating agencies and other stakeholders. Thirteen local government units also received awards for actively implementing the law in their respective jurisdictions.

Atty. Oco related that the implementation of the law is both fulfilling and challenging.

“It has been a decade of ensuring that children’s rights are upheld and their welfare is promoted. At the same time, we also work for the reparation and healing of victims, building of safer communities, and prevention of juvenile delinquency,” Atty. Oco shared.

She acknowledged concerted efforts of all the duty-bearers in the successful implementation of the law.

Modest strides

As a policy-making, coordinating and monitoring body tasked to ensure the implementation of RA 9344, the JJWC has achieved various milestones for the law.

In 2015 alone, the JJWC has developed/updated, issued and disseminated 31 national policies, plans, and programs which include the Department of Education (DepEd) Guidelines and Procedures on the Management of children at risk (CAR) and  children in conflict with the law (CICL), Philippine National Police (PNP) Manual on Handling and Treatment of CAR and CICL, and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Guidelines for the LGUs on the development of Comprehensive Local Juvenile Intervention Program, among others.

Some 34 Bahay Pag-Asa have also been constructed nationwide for the rehabilitation of CICL.

In 2015, the JJWC has assisted 5,934 local government units nationwide in developing their juvenile intervention programs through the newly-created Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Committees (RJJWC).

As a result of the monitoring and inspection visits facilitated by the JJWC and the RJJWCs, 69 children were transferred from detention facilities to child institutions or to their parents and guardians in the same year.

Furthermore, RA 9344 has also been nominated in the World Future Policy Awards as one of the policies that aims to protect and strengthen the rights of children.

For 2016 and in the coming years, the JJWC is set to ensure a more efficient, effective and better implementation of the law by continuing the strong coordination with all the duty-bearers and capacitating them to properly perform their roles.

A National Juvenile Justice Information Management System is also being developed to ensure proper recordation and management of all data related to children at risk and children in conflict with the law.

“What keeps us going is the number of lives that we are able to help change and bring hope to,” Atty. Oco emphasized. ###

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DSWD champions law protecting children during disasters

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman lauded the signing into law of Republic Act (RA) 10821 or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act by President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday at the Malacanang Palace.

The law mandates the DSWD to formulate a comprehensive emergency program for children during disasters.

“The rights and welfare of the children, especially in times of disasters, must be the utmost priority of the government. Though that is already being done, this law institutionalizes that,” Sec. Soliman said.

She added that in times of disasters, the children are among the most vulnerable to further danger and abuses.

The law was championed by the Department as part of the lessons learned during the past disasters and other emergency situations, especially during Typhoon Yolanda.

Aside from the DSWD, the law also mandates the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to promote and conduct a children-responsive training program for all responders in the calamity areas such as barangay leaders, community members, and rescuers, among others.

Under the law, a transitional shelter to cater to the orphaned, separated, and unaccompanied children must be established to be spearheaded by the National Housing Authority (NHA) in coordination with DSWD.

Stronger measures to ensure the safety, protection, health, and nutrition needs of disaster/emergency-affected children must be put in place.  The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Health (DOH) are the key agencies for the provision of safety and health services, respectively.

The Department of Education (DepEd), for its part, needs to come up with a plan of action for the prompt resumption of education-related services for the children victims of disasters to prevent longer period for them to be out of school.

President Aquino stressed that the different measures are  already being implemented in the overall government’s disaster risk reduction and management strategies.  However, RA 10821 ensures the institutionalization of the mechanisms for the protection and prioritization of the children sector during and after a crisis situation.

He added that the law provides for a stronger mandate and clearer roles and accountabilities of the different agencies in government in protecting disaster-affected children.

All of the programs and interventions mentioned in the law are also to be integrated by the local government unit​s ​in their Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) budget and program plans.

Presently, the DSWD is spearheading the crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) in coordination with the Department of National Defense (DND), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), DepEd, DOH, Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other child-focused civil society organizations. ###

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DSWD leads PH celebration of Int’l Day of Families

​Sec. Soliman addresses some 500 family-advocates who came together to celebrate the 2016 International Day of Families.  With the theme, "Families, healthy lives, and sustainable future", Sec. Soliman inspired the participants to consider the family sector in the work towards sustainable development.

Sec. Soliman addresses some 500 family-advocates who came together to celebrate the 2016 International Day of Families. With the theme, “Families, healthy lives, and sustainable future”, Sec. Soliman inspired the participants to consider the family sector in the work towards sustainable development.

“Families are the foundation of sustainable development. It is my hope that the incoming administration will continue to implement family-oriented programs like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino to ensure that families can attain progress and development.”

This was the message of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman during the celebration of the International Day of Families (IDF) at the SM North Skydome on Sunday.

The IDF is observed annually worldwide on the 15th of May based on the 1993 Resolution of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

Together with the global community, DSWD spearheaded the Philippine observance of IDF in partnership with other government agencies, civil society organizations, local government units, and the SM Foundation.

With the theme, “Families, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Future”, around 500 families and family-advocates came together to celebrate this important day which highlighted the importance of family unity and togetherness.

Inspiration from Pantawid Pamilya

To inspire the audience, Sec. Soliman shared stories of family-beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya who have achieved tighter family relationships through the program.

“May isang nanay na nagsabi na dahil sa isang session ng FDS kung saan tinalakay ay pagiging responsableng magulang ay naging maayos ang kanilang pamilya (A mother shared that through the FDS on responsible parenting, their family relationships became better),” Sec. Soliman shared.

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

FDS is conducted monthly by DSWD and partners-NGOs in coordination with the private sector and civil society organizations. It serves as a venue where topics on effective parenting, husband and wife relationships, child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, among others.

Through the FDS, parents also learned about the benefits of positive disciplining versus corporal punishment.

International environment

Dr. Mariella Castillo of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Philippines also joined the activity to share the solidarity message of the international organization for Filipino families.

She emphasized the importance of the IDF’s theme which focuses on the significance of  families in global development.

“Families should remain at the center of social development whether in the conceptualization or implementation of policies and programs,” Dr. Castillo stated.

On the other hand, seasoned news anchor, Alex Tinsay also shared his thoughts on work-family balance during the event. He said that it is important to strive hard at working for the family’s future, but giving quality time to family relationships is also equally vital.

“The challenge for the Filipino family is to turn unattractive moments of family conflict into happy times of warm bonding. No amount of success could compensate our failure in our own families,” Tinsay emphasized.

A strong family advocate, Engineer Emerito Rojas shared his personal and family life story to inspire the participants in continuously upholding the Filipino tradition of strong family relationships.

Engr. Emerito, who is a cancer survivor, together with his wife and four children, has embarked on a unique advocacy to help fellow cancer survivors. As a result of this advocacy, the Rojas family became the 2015 Jollibee Family Values Awardee.

Engr. Emerito enjoined all families to work together to achieve progress and also to initiate change in the society.

“Change should start with the family, the smallest unit of the society. The government can only lead and show us the way,” he stressed.

Also present during the event were Commissioner Earl Saavedra of the National Youth Commission (NYC), Colonel Taharudin Piang Ampatuan of the National Defense Colleges of the Philippines (NDCP), and host-actor Robi Domingo, who came with his family.

As a follow through activity for the IDF,  DSWD also celebrates National Family Week every 3rd week of September. ###

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