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UNICEF’s unconditional cash grants to benefit Pantawid Pamilya families in E. Visayas

MANILA, 30 July 2014—The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), will extend financial assistance to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Eastern Samar who were worst affected by super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

UNICEF’s Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) program will benefit 5,801 4Ps households in Eastern Samar, namely the municipalities of Guiuan, Hernani, Mercedes, Balangkayan and Salcedo. The identified beneficiaries come from vulnerable households who are unable to meet their food and essential non-food needs.

Through a Memorandum of Agreement signed by UNICEF and DSWD, each household beneficiary will receive P4,400 monthly, on top of the regular cash grant provided by the 4Ps. The cash distribution will run concurrently with 4Ps pay-outs. The additional cash grant will cover six months starting July until December 2014.

The UNICEF-DSWD partnership expands from the 10,000 households currently supported by UNICEF’s UCT programme in Leyte. Implemented with UNICEF partner, Action Contre La Faim (ACF), it provides a similar cash grant over six months.

“The unconditional transfer of cash to carefully selected families allows them to take a step back from the decisions they have to make after Haiyan/Yolanda, given their loss of property, savings and livelihoods, said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative.

The UCT programme in Leyte shows that with very low household incomes, half of the transfers are being spent on food, while the rest are spent on shelter, health care, education and savings.

“These efforts complement the recovery efforts of the 4Ps toward improving the country’s human capital by keeping poor children in school, and giving them medical assistance, while extending immediate financial support to their families,” Sylwander said.

“Eight months after Haiyan/Yolanda, we continue to receive support from our partners whose mandate involves empowering children and families. We are grateful to UNICEF for extending assistance to 4Ps beneficiaries in selected areas in Eastern Samar. With our strong partnership with UNICEF, we can significantly contribute to positive changes in the lives of our beneficiaries,” said DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman.

Through the UCT program, UNICEF supports the 4Ps in its current recovery phase activities and remains committed in its work to advance the welfare of children.

“Through our collaboration with DSWD, we demonstrate our commitment to reach more children and families in the most direct way possible, including advancing their rights to determine and fulfill their immediate recovery needs,” said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative.

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Aussie officials admire DSWD beneficiaries’ efficient use of funds

Australian officials interact with children during their visit to one of the classrooms constructed using Australian grants.

Australian officials interact with children during their visit to one of the classrooms constructed using Australian grants.

Sibagat, Agusan del Sur -  Australian officials expressed their admiration to the beneficiaries of Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community Driven Development Project (KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP) for their judicious use of project funds.

This came after the foreign officials visited earlier this month the KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP project  site in this town and interacted with the beneficiaries.

KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP is the national expansion of Kalahi-CIDSS, which started in 2003 as the flagship poverty alleviation program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

It enables poor and vulnerable communities to identify their own needs to address their common problems. These include local infrastructures such as water system, roads, bridges, health stations, and school buildings, among others

The visiting officials were Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Assistant (DFAT) Secretary for Southeast Asia Maritime Division Allaster Cox, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell, Philippine-Australia Community Assistant Program (PACAP) Counselor Geoff King, and Governance Adviser Paul Hutchcroft.

In CARAGA Region,  about 68 community projects comprising of 18 day care centers and 50 school buildings with 91 classrooms worth P88.4 million were partly funded by the Australian Government shelling out P72.74 million.

Amb. Tweddell said that through the visit, the officials will learn more about Australia’s assistance to the development of the country, specifically to the recipient barangays in the province.

“We want to personally look at the completed classrooms and interact with the community beneficiaries,” he added.

El Rio site visit

Accompanied by DSWD-Field Office CARAGA Director Minda Brigoli, the visiting group proceeded to Barangay El Rio.

Community volunteers here showcased a completed school building with two classrooms and other facilities. This project was funded by a grant from the Australian Aid for Development (AusAid), now DFAT.

Amb. Twedell expressed admiration with the improvements in the barangay.

“I am really impressed with the completed classrooms. The grant was apparently judiciously managed by the community volunteers,”  Amb. Twedell said.

Mayor Thelma Lamanilao also expressed gratitude to the Australian Government for entrusting and giving the grant to the municipality.

“The school building project is indeed the basic social service greatly needed by the residents of El Rio as this will provide an avenue of learning for their children,” said Mayor Lamanilao.

Community volunteer Dolores Padin assured the Australian officials that the community has already organized groups which shall be responsible for maintaining the project.

She said that parents have agreed that they will require a collection of P2 per household which will be used for minor repairs of the school building.

Dir. Brigoli also added that the site visit of the development partners affirms the thrust towards convergence as the beneficiaries of the school building are also grantees of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Seeing the success of Australian funded projects, the Australian Government has provided another AU$12 million to the country for the construction of  day care centers and school buildings through the KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP using the community-driven development approach. ###

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From a ‘simple mother’ to an empowered woman

Mrs. Milagros Dizon, a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary from  Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City, shares her story of transformation from a ‘simple mother’ to an empowered woman, while DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, listens intently.

Mrs. Milagros Dizon, a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary from Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City, shares her story of transformation from a ‘simple mother’ to an empowered woman, while DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, listens intently.

Quezon City -  “Ako noon ay isang simpleng ina lamang, na hindi alam kung paano ko matutulungan ang aking asawa upang maitaguyod ang mag pangangailangan ng aming pamilya. Ngunit salamat sa programang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino, marami akong natutunan na mga bagay na ngayon ay nagagamit ko para sa pag-unlad ng aming buhay (I was a simple mother before who does not know how to help my husband take care of our family’s needs. But thanks to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, I have learned a lot of things, which I can now use to improve our lives).”

This was the gist of Milagros Dizon’s testimony during the flag raising ceremony held this morning at the Central Office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) at Batasan Hills

Aling Mila, is a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilya since 2008. She is married to Matt Dizon, with whom she has five children, aged 5-11.

Aling Mila’s family is one of the  4,090,667 beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya in the country, as of June 25.

In front of DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, other officials, and employees, Aling Mila shared her life story, most notable in which is her transformation from ‘a simple mother’ to an empowered woman.

“Noon ay parati kong inaaway ang aking asawa kapag wala nang makain at wala nang pambaon sa eskwela ang mga bata. Hinahati-hatiko ang kanyang sweldo pero hindi talaga magkasya dahil maliit lang naman ang kanyang kinikita para matustusan  ang lahat ng aming mga pangangailangan (I was always nagging my husband then, especially when there is no longer food and the children have no snacks to bring to school. I allocate his salary, but it is really not enough because his wages are just small to cover all our family’s needs),” Aling Mila related.

She narrated that their lives entirely changed for the better when she became a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary, and was chosen as a parent- leader by her fellow beneficiaries.

“Marami akong natutunan at naging kaibigan. Noon ay  hindi man lang ako lumalabas ng bahay. Dahil sa Pantawid Pamilya ay naranasan kong maka-attend ng mga training at mga Family Development Sessions (FDS), na nakapagdagdag ng aking mgakaalaman (I have learned a lot and had many friends. If before, I do not even get out of the house, because of Pantawid Pamilya, I have experienced attending trainings and FDS which added to my knowledge),” she added.

Ensuring that the cash grants she receives go to the education and health needs of her children, Aling Mila added that they now have school  supplies, such as bags, shoes, and uniforms.

She also buys them vitamins, and happily shared that, “Hindi na sila madalas nagkakasakit (They do not get sick often).”

The best part was when she was also chosen as a beneficiary of the Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

She used the capital provided by SLP to expand her home-based business selling native delicacies and dressed chicken to her neighbors.

Aling Mila also joined the SEA-K Association (SKA) in their barangay composed of 15 women. Again, she was chosen as the leader, and although she kept saying “hindi ko kaya (I can’t do it),” she was able to perform the tasks accompanying her position as President which included registering their SKA to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ensuring that they were able to pay on time the P94,000 loaned to them as capital.

Such was her dedication and enthusiasm that their association paid their loan even before the one year time period for repayment was over.

According to Sec. Soliman, Aling Mila is a living testimony of how the poverty reduction programs implemented by DSWD. It has empowered her to become a contributor to the family income, entrepreneur, productive citizen, and an active community leader.

“Isa si Aling Mila sa mga maituturing na pioneers ng Pantawid Pamilya  at ang kwento niya ng pagbabago ay patunay na  talagang nakakatulong sa pag-angat ng kabuhayan ng mga benipisyaryo ang mga programang pinatutupad ng pamahalaan (Aling Mila can be considered as one of the  pioneers of Pantawid Pamilya and her story of change is proof that the programs implemented by the government really helps uplift the lives of beneficiaries),” Sec. Soliman said.  ###

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Almost 100 beneficiaries from Pasay receive safer homes

Pasay City – After many years of living dangerously along the Tripa de Gallina creek in this city, Gildo Cajuntoy and his family will now have their own home, safe from floods and fires common in informal settlements.

The Cajuntoy Family is one of the 98 informal settler- families (ISFs) from Brgy. 156, Tripa de Gallina, Pasay  who was  awarded with a new  housing unit on Friday, July 25, through the government’s Oplan Lumikas para Iwas Kalamidad At Sakit (LIKAS) project.

The Cajuntoys and the other families were relocated to safer homes in Trece Martires, Cavite.

A GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP. DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas III and Pasay Mayor Tony Calixto (2nd from right) with Gildo Cajuntoy (left), one of the beneficiaries of Oplan LIKAS.

A GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP. DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas III and Pasay Mayor Tony Calixto (2nd from right) with Gildo Cajuntoy (left), one of the beneficiaries of Oplan LIKAS.

Oplan LIKAS, spearheaded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government Unit (DILG), resettles ISFs residing on top of or within the three-meter easement of a waterway.

The goal is to relocate families in danger and high risk zones to safe and humane housing close to their sources of livelihood and also to lessen flooding in Metro Manila.

Called “Voluntary Pre-Emptive Evacuation” by DILG, the project is supported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Public Works and Highways ( DPWH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), National Housing Authority (NHA), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), and local government units (LGUs).

Brgy. 156, located along the 920-meter long Tripa de Gallina creek,  was identified by the LGU as one of the city’s 42 danger zones. The soil in the area was becoming loose and houses were starting to lean.

DENR was in charge of the demarcation of the area while DPWH, MMDA, and Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) dismantled the structures.

The Relocation Action Center was bustling with activity as the 98 ISFs lined up to get their documents evaluated. They received an entry pass from NHA and Resettlement and Development Services Department, food assistance from the LGU, a medical kit from DOH, the P18,000 Interim Shelter Fund from DSWD. Their biometrics were also processed by MMDA and DSWD.

PREPARATIONS. Families line up to get their documents processed at the Relocation Action Center, right before they travel in vans to Cavite.

PREPARATIONS. Families line up to get their documents processed at the Relocation Action Center, right before they travel in vans to Cavite.

Present in the event were DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas III, NHA General Manager Chito Cruz, DSWD Assistant Secretary Javier Jimenez,  Mayor Tony Calixto,  Representative Emi Calixto-Rubiano, and barangay officials.

Mayor Calixto, Rep. Calixto-Rubiano, and Brgy 156 Chairman Serrano all expressed their gratitude for the project.

They emphasized that the participation of their constituents was crucial in making the project a success.

Rep. Calixto-Rubiano also mentioned that President Benigno S. Aquino expressed his concern for the safety of the residents of the city especially for those living along the city waterways who are always in danger during typhoons and storms.

Assec. Jimenez said that more than 1,000 families here have already received financial assistance from DSWD since the project began last year.

According to  Sec. Roxas, this was clear proof that the Aquino administration was fulfilling its promises.

“Sa ilalim ng pamahalaan ni Pangulong Aquino, maari nang muling mangarap. Ngayong gabi, halos 100 pamilya ang makakatulog nang mahimbing, malayo sa kapahamakan  (Under the administration of President Aquino, it is now possible to dream. Tonight, almost 100 families will be able to sleep soundly, far from danger),” Sec. Roxas said.

Headed by Sec. Roxas, the officials then proceeded to inspect the voluntary dismantling of houses by the ISFs.

Afterwards, the families bid goodbye as they travelled in vans to Cavite, carrying their belongings to a new way of life.

Cajuntoy said that after so many years of suffering in their homes – always fearful of fires, storms, and floods – they would now get to live in a place they can call their own.

“Ngayon, mayroon na kaming minimithing tirahan. May maipapamana na po kami sa aming mga anak (We now own our dream house. Finally, we have something to pass down to our children),” Cajuntoy stated. ###

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Vegetable farmer harvests the fruits of his labor

Mang Dyoni is proud of his accomplishments such as this bell pepper business.

Mang Dyoni is proud of his accomplishments such as this bell pepper business.

T’boli, South Cotabato – Caretaker and vegetable farmer, Johnny Tolentino, never imagined himself to be a never imagined one day, he would be called an expert in agriculture.

Manong Dyoni, as he is fondly called, was in disbelief when the local government informed him that he was chosen to be the municipal agricultural technician.

Manong Dyoni ‘s  family became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Later on, they were given seed capital assistance through the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) which they used to start a vegetable enterprise.

Mang Dyoni’s family is one of the 9,210 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries from  Central  MIndanao who received seed capital assistance from the DSWD as of June 2014, since it began in January 2011.

Nationwide, there are 4,090,667  beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya, as of June 25.

From backyard gardening to bell pepper business

The couple used to tend a simple garden in the backyard of their neighbour, the Tanco Family. They grew okra, string beans, and sweet potatoes in the small parcel of land.

Since 2005,  this had been the family’s main source of income, but it was not sufficient for their growing family.

In 2011, Mang Dyoni became a recipient of P10,000 seed capital assistance from DSWD’s SLP.

The couple decided to venture into vegetable gardening enterprise.

Manong Dyoni started sowing bell pepper crops on a half-hectare land they rented even before they received the capital assistance.

When the seed capital was released, the bell pepper plants already had small fruits and fully-grown leaves.

Mang Dyoni got a big relief when Mr. Tanco, who is also the Muncipal Officer, contributed money for the venture. With the money at hand, Mang Dyoni purchased fertilizers for his plants.

Soon, the plants grew and bore fruits. The family was able to harvest their crops.

Manong Dyoni could not believe the big gains he earned.

Annalee already started imagining having their own house and sending their three healthy kids to school.

“Ngayon, kami ay mga simpleng magtatanim lamang, pero balang araw ay makaka-angat din ang aming buhay (We are simple tenants and caretakers today, but soon we can move up to a better economic condition),” she said with high hopes.

In 2012, they were finally able to expand the enterprise and eventually purchased a truck to transport their harvest to the market.

Remembering their humble beginnings

Before receiving the livelihood assistance from DSWD, Manong Dyoni could not afford to buy household appliances. Furthermore,  the couple had to entrust their eldest daughter to Annalee’s  parents so that she would be able to attend school.

They  would endure the 23-kilometer walk on rough road to visit their daughter because they could not afford  the 20-peso fare to Surallah, the town where Annalee’s parents live.

Manong Dyoni can still recall the times when he would silently cry while walking to his daughter.

Persevering amidst adversity

The couple also had their share of difficulties with their bell pepper business.

On some occasions, they experienced having to spray detergent soaps on their crops using a bamboo stem because they could not afford to buy insecticide.

There were even times when the bell peppers were washed out by floods and typhoons.

During such times, Manong Dyoni’s paningkamot  (hard work) and optimism were his weapons in overcoming those difficulties.

Reaping the fruits of their labor

At present, the family’s income depends on the vegetable harvest.

Manong Dyoni has devoted much of his time to the vegetable garden. He spends the entire day tending the crops and only goes home to take his meals.

Their bell pepper harvest in the half-hectare land can earn as much as P300,000  in six months. Their income is then reinvested back into the business for expansion.

Today, the couple can proudly send their children to school because of their bell paper business.  In addition to that, they have finally been able to buy household appliances, which have made their lives easier and more enjoyable.

The Tolentinos plan on purchasing their own land to expand their enterprise. Manong Dyoni has also considered growing coffee. With a heightened interest in agriculture and support from the government and their neighbors, his family is a step closer to the life they imagined.

“Sa anumang pagsubok, kaya natin ito. Kaya natin ang pagbabago (In every challenge, we are sure to prevail as long as we are determined to change),” Mang Dyoni concluded. ###


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Agcons due north

The Agcon couple was able to invest in a piggery/poultry business through the assistance provided by DSWD’s programs.

The Agcon couple was able to invest in a piggery/poultry business through the assistance provided by DSWD’s programs.

Conner, Apayao –She does not know how to read and write but through hard work and perseverance she successfully fulfilled her dreams.

Intan was born into a poor family from Jolo, Sulu. She never had formal education and, at an early age, had to work to support her family. At 15, she married Hiyawata Agcon, with whom she now has 10 children.

She promised herself that she would build a home for the family and send all the children to school.

Ayoko na maranasan ng mga anak ko ang naranasan namin, gusto ko makaahon sila [sa kahirapan] at [maging] maganda ang kanilang kinabukasan (I do not want my children to go through the same experience I had. I want them to move up and have a better future), she says.

Intan and Hiyawata relocated to different places wherever job opportunities were available. They lived in makeshift houses or lived with relatives. Hiyawata worked as a security guard in Tawi-Tawi, while Intan took odd jobs to help with the expenses.

The couple eventually migrated up north and settled in Apayao, willingly going through all the difficulties to provide a brighter future for their children.

Receiving help from DSWD

In 2008, after finding a home in Conner, Apayao, Intan’s family was included in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. As a beneficiary, she eagerly complied with the conditions set by the program, actively participating in Family Development Sessions conducted in their municipality.

Eventually, she received a P10,000 loan from DSWD when the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) was first implemented.. Without any hesitation, Intan grabbed this chance to continue her existing small enterprise – selling snacks near the Apayao Stage College. In addition to the loan she received, Intan underwent various capability building activities for entrepreneurs.

With help from the DSWD, she was able her to sell more food products like cooked meals for lunch. According to Intan, her earnings peak during school days. Hiyawata, who is now retired, and the children are her partners in operating their small carinderia.

Participating in the Pantawid Pamilya and SLP gave Intan an opportunity to send her children to school. At present, four of her children have already earned college degrees. The other two finished short courses, while the seventh, Annie, is now in college taking up Education. The eighth, Ay-ann, is in high school, while the remaining two are both in elementary.

Intan believes that her dreams are finally coming true. Aside from being able to send the children to school, the family now has two houses in Conner. Intan attributes the fulfillment of her dream to hard work and perseverance.

The secret is in saving

Aside from the positive attitude showed by the Agcon family, Intan said that another secret to their success is that she remembers to save.

Importante mag-ipon,” (Saving is very important) she happily shares. “Dahil sa pag-iipon ko, napalago ko ang aking negosyo”( Because of saving, I was able to expand my business)

Dahil sa tulong ng programa ng DSWD, malaya ko na nagagawa ang mga bagay para sa kapakanan ng kanyang pamilya (With the help of the DSWD programs, I am now more empowered to freely do things better for my family),” which she was not able to do before, she shared.

They no longer ask for help or financial assistance from any of their relatives. There is money saved in case of an emergency. Some of her savings were also used as capital to raise pigs and poultry, from which they gain additional income. Furthermore, the bond among the family built the foundation of a strong workforce, which resulted to the expansion of their business.

Intan believes that without DSWD, her children would not have been able to finish college. Moreover, she may not know how to read or write, but her hard work and perseverance have made Intan successful in her own right. Intan has proven that everybody has the chance to turn their dreams into reality.

SLP in figures

Intan’s family is one of 7,480 Pantawid Pamilya families from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) provided with seed capital assistance through the SLP between January 2011 to June 2014.

Other Pantawid Pamilya families who ventured into micro-enterprises were served through micro-finance institutions, national government agencies, and local government units. Others were provided with physical assets such as infrastructure for their micro-enterprises, while others utilized their savings.

A total of 15,829 families from CAR were served through the SLP for the given period, including non-Pantawid Pamilya families. ###

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From challenges to changes

Timbasil Jumdail (in orange shirt) leads the community in preparing seedlings for the mangrove rehabilitation project in their community.

Timbasil Jumdail (in orange shirt) leads the community in preparing seedlings for the mangrove rehabilitation project in their community.

To embrace it with optimism is what the 33-year-old Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary Atiya Enting Jumdail always does whenever she faces a new challenge on her life.  She says that every challenge that comes her way brings a perfect opportunity to learn through change. To her, learning through challenges is a strategy that has long helped her through the countless trials that she  experienced ever since she and his husband started their lives together.

Atiya has been married for eighteen years to Timbasil Jumdail, a fisherman. With the meager income of P3,000 a month, the couple struggled to support even the studies of their six children. Atiya, however, carried the challenge devotedly and surpassed it together with her husband.

“Simula nang masama kami sa Pantawid Pamilya, marami ang nagbago sa buhay namin. Nagkaroon kami ng karamay sa pinagdadaanan namin (Since we became beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya, many changes came in to our lives. Now we are not alone on our struggles),” Atiya recounted.

Positive change

Jumdail family is among the first beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya in Hadji Panglima Tahil, Sulu. According to them, receiving their first grant from the program in 2009 brought changes to their lives. 

Noong nakuha namin ‘yung una naming cash grant, tuwang-tuwa kami dahil naramdaman namin na may kaagapay kami sa pagpapaaral sa mga anak ko (We were very happy when we got our first cash grant because we finally felt that we are supported on sending our children to school),” said Atiya.

Pantawid Pamilya did not only help the couple send their children to school. Part of the first grants that they received was used as well in upgrading his pump boat, which then gave him a boost on his fishing.

Small successes

The boost on Timbasil’s fishing gave the family a head start on their life. His added earnings were able to add up to the capital of Atiya on their sari-sari store.

With the small but sustainable income of the couple, they were able to ensure that the studies of the children are continued.

For the couple, the education of their children is a paramount consideration. This is why they insisted on sending to school even their married son and his wife. The changes that happened in their lives, no matter how small, were able to contribute to their family’s development.

For them, diligence is key.

Convergence of help

Thankful for how their lives were able to develop through DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilya, Jumdali family yet again received another support by being the first batch of families to avail assistance from Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

SLP is another project of DSWD that provides zero-interest capital assistance loan to eligible individuals or groups.

“Napakalaki ng pasasalamat namin sa DSWD kasi hindi lang isang program ‘yung tumutulong sa amin. ‘Yung nahiram namin na pera sa SLP, ginamit namin pandagdag na puhunan sa tindahan namin (We are very grateful to DSWD because we are supported by more than one of their programs. The loan that we got from SLP was used as added capital to our store),” said Atiya.

Through the combined income from the sari-sari store and fishing, the couple was able to buy a house in mainland Jolo for their children who are in high school and college.

“Dati, nakakaya naming mag-survive pero ‘nung dumating ‘yung Pantawid Pamilya at SLP, naramdaman naming mag-asawa na kayang magbago ang buhay namin. Hindi man namin inasahan pero malaki ang naitulong ng gobyerno sa aming mga mahihirap (Even if our family survives before, the moment Pantawid Pamilya and SLP went to our life made us feel that we are capable of changing our lives. We did not expect it but the government really gave a big help to us),” they gladly told.

The couple also actively joins different community-based activities such as mangrove planting funded by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, organic planting funded by the Department of Agriculture, and cash-for-work activities wherein they were able to build a seawall for their community. All these activities not only gave the couple an additional income but a deeper sense of purpose as well that transpires to their community.

Mutual gratefulness

According to Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, the changes that happened to the lives of the beneficiaries of the different programs of the Department are not solely brought by the assistance of the government, but because of the willingness of the individuals, families, and communities as well towards change.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa aming mga benepisyaryo sa panininwala na kaya nilang mabago ‘yung aspeto ng buhay nila. Ang mga programa ng DSWD at ng gobyerno ay tulong sa mga nangangailangan – tulong natin para sa mga taong hindi lang handa, kung hindi ay gusto ng pagbabago (We are thankful to our partner beneficiaries for believing that they are capable of changing their lives. The programs of DSWD and of the government are only assistance – assistance that we give not only to those who are capable of, but are willing as well to change),” Sec. Soliman said.

For Atiya and Timbasil, their success cannot be measured based on their current state of living. It is when they look back at what they were before and see the changes in their lives, which they embraced in full willingness. ###

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DSWD embarks on massive info campaign to highlight ‘change’

The core poverty reduction programs being implemented by the national government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, (DSWD) has changed the lives of millions of beneficiaries nationwide.

Their stories showcasing hope, courage, and determination to rise above poverty are chronicled in testimonies attesting to how the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community Driven Development Program (KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP) and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) have changed their lives for the better.

These transformational stories are packaged in Kaya Ko ang Pagbabago,  an information and empowerment campaign that aims to communicate the stories of change (pagbabago) in the lives of the beneficiaries of DSWD’s  programs and services.

According to DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, the campaign empowers not only individuals and communities, but also key stakeholders in supporting the convergence of programs and services of the Department, and the government in bringing positive change and significant development to the lives of the poor and the vulnerable.

The campaign also aims to popularize the expansion of Pantawid Pamilya covering the 15-18 age group in view of the K-12 curriculum implemented by the Department of Education.

Beneficiaries speak out

ChristianChristian Taglucop, 21,  from Barangay Nipa, Palanas, Masbate is a beneficiary of the Student Grants-in-Aid for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA), a mechanism which reflects the government’s thrusts in effectively addressing poverty.

SGP-PA is implemented by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in partnership with DSWD as a long-term instrument and commitment to break the vicious cycle of poverty afflicting the poor.

Christian stated, “Malaking tulong po ang pagiging benipisyaryo ko ng SGP-PA upang maipagpatuloy ko ang aking pag-aaral sa kolehiyo. Nag-aaral po ako nang mabuti dahil gusto ko pong makatulong sa mga kapatid ko na makatapos sila hanggang kolehiyo. Ito po ang istorya ko ng pagbabago. Dahil kaya ko ang pagbabago! (Being a beneficiary of SGP-PA is a big help, it enables me to continue my college studies. I am studying hard because I wanted to help my siblings, so that they too, can finish college. This is my story of change, because I can!).

“Nagpapasalamat po ako dahil tinupad po ng DSWD ang pangarap kong makapasok sa kolehiyo  (I am grateful to DSWD for making my dream of entering college come true), Christian affirmed.

IntanIntan and Hiyawata Agcon from Conner, Apayao, beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya and SLP also shared how these programs transformed their lives, enabling them to move up from the level of subsistence to self-sufficiency.

Due to poverty, Intan was not able to go to school, but she realized her dreams of sending all her 10 children to school, even until college, through the help of DSWD.

“Ayokong maranasan ng mga anak ko ang naranasan kong hirap. Gusto ko silang sumulong sa buhay at magkaroon ng magandang kinabukasan  (I don’t want my children to experience the hardships I encountered. I want them to move up in life and have a bright future),” she shared.

“Dahil sa tulong ng mga programa ng DSWD tulad ng Pantawid [Pamilya] at SLP, napagtapos ko ng college ang apat kong anak. ‘Yung dalawang anak ko naman ay nakatapos ng vocational course. ‘Yung pang-pito ay kasalukuyang kumukuha ng Education. ‘Yung pang-walo ay nasa high school at ‘yung dalawa pa ay nasa elementary  (Because of DSWD’s programs, like Pantawid and SLP, four of my children have already earned college degrees. The other two finished vocational courses, while the seventh is taking up Education.  My eighth child is in high school, while the last two are both in elementary),” Intan added.

“Maraming salamat sa DSWD dahil nakaya namin na mabago ang aming buhay. At alam ko na madami pang darating na magandang pagbabagong mangyayari sa buhay namin dahil kaya namin ang pagbabago (Many thanks to DSWD because we were empowered to change our lives, and I know that many more positive changes are going to happen. We have it in us to change for the better), she enthused.

jorivicJorivic Bautista, a volunteer of Kalahi-CIDSS from Barangay Dangay, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, shared how the program helped transform their community.

She narrated how she gained new knowledge and skills through Kalahi-CIDSS.

“Bilang volunteer, lahat ay sinasalihan ko kahit yung mga orientation sa munisipyo at mga seminar sa mga kooperatiba, sa BFAR, at sa Malampaya Foundation. Kumukuha ako ng ideya kung paano magpatakbo ng negosyo, kaya talagang nagpupunta ako pag may mga orientation ang mga kooperatiba  (As a volunteer, I joined all the activities, including the orientation at the Municipal Hall, seminars at the cooperatives, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources [BFAR] and Malampaya Foundation. I get ideas on how to run a business, so I really go to the orientations conducted by the cooperatives.)

“Sobrang tuwa ko talaga dahil mauumpisahan na ang aming proyekto. Dama ko na lahat ng paghihirap naming mga volunteers ay unti-unti nang nababawi. Magandang umpisa ito para sa lahat sa amin, hindi lang dito sa Brgy. Dangay kundi sa buong Roxas. Kaya namin ang pagbabago  (I am very happy because we have started our project. I feel that all our hardships as volunteers are worth it. This is a good start for all of us, not only here in Brgy. Dangay, but in the entire town of Roxas. We can change! ),” Jorivic said.

Christian, Intan, Hiyawata, and Jorivic are just some of the beneficiaries whose lives were  transformed for the better through the convergence of programs implemented by the government, through the DSWD.

There are many more out there, and as Sec. Soliman puts it, “As long as we know that we are keeping children in school and healthy, sending the older ones to high school and college to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to improve their lives, empowering women, and helping communities achieve progress and development, we are assured that we are on the right track of making people change for the better.” ###

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