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10,000 Pantawid Pamilya high school grads demonstrate success amid poverty anew

In an effort to prove further that determination and perseverance coupled with a little help from the government are the key to success, more than 10,000 beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program who have graduated from high school in the National Capital Region will participate in the second post-graduation event at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Cubao, Quezon City tomorrow, April 23.

The event with the theme, “Pagtatapos Niyo, Tagumpay ng Pilipino,” is being organized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to recognize the beneficiaries for working hard to fulfill their dreams of finishing high school.

It can be recalled that the first event was held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on April 9 with 4,000 graduates from the National Capital Region.

“The activity is our way of expressing our appreciation for the Pantawid Pamilya students who never wavered in their determination to improve their lives,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said. “I am proud to say that these students are among the first high school graduates of the Pantawid Pamilya.”

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 partner-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).

In 2013, the DSWD expanded the coverage of the program to include the 15-18 age bracket to ensure that the children-beneficiaries will graduate from high school, and have a higher rate of employability.

The Secretary also shared that the post-graduation event will serve as the venue to give citations to those who graduated with honors.

She added, “These students are proof that given the little assistance, they too can excel.”

Graduating valedictorian from Maligaya High School in Novaliches, David Louie Manansala will give a valedictory address to inspire his fellow graduates.

Furthermore, partner agencies, business sector, and civil society organizations are also expected to participate in the event to present their programs and services which the graduates may avail of.

To give the students an orientation on academic and career opportunities, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Joel Villanueva, and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair Patricia Licuanan will share their respective programs and services.

As the event is a celebration of the students’ accomplishment, selected Pantawid Pamilya graduates will also showcase their talents and will share their inspiring stories.

“The more than 300,000 graduating high school children of the Pantawid Pamilya are a confirmation that development can indeed be achieved.  All we need to do is help them continue dreaming and striving for a better life.  It is important to tell these children to never give up,” Sec. Soliman enthused.

The Secretary said that whether in academic, technical skills, or other talents, the Pantawid Pamilya youth show that, “Kaya din nila ang pagbabago (they too can achieve change and development).” ###

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DSWD, Smart solidify partnership for disaster management

To further seal the partnership, DSWD Assistant Secretary Vilma B. Cabrera and Smart Communications Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto lead the ceremonial toast in today’s agreement signing.

To further seal the partnership, DSWD Assistant Secretary Vilma B. Cabrera and Smart Communications Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto lead the ceremonial toast in today’s agreement signing.

In an effort to provide communications support to communities affected by disasters and emergencies, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Smart Communications, Inc. forged a partnership today, April 21, that will extend free calls, internet use, and charging of mobile phones in DSWD operations centers, as well as in designated evacuation centers.

“In times of disasters, the need for communication is as important as the need for food. People in disaster-stricken areas need to immediately communicate with their loved ones to assure them that they are safe or to ask for help,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said.

“Through this partnership with Smart, the Department’s visibility and capability to respond to the most urgent needs of the affected population will be enhanced,” Sec. Soliman added.

Sec. Soliman cited the important role played by information and communications technology in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

For his part, Smart Public Affairs Head Mon Isberto said, “Communications has become an important component of disaster response.  We have committed to support the relief operations of the DSWD by providing the agency our host of communications solutions so that they are able to effectively deploy resources on the ground, and other services that will provide psychosocial relief to disaster-stricken communities.”

“Our libreng tawag services will help families in affected areas reconnect with their loved ones and reunite with other family members who may have been displaced by disasters. These services have become part of our post-disaster relief and response as we recognize the need of people to communicate with loved ones and family in difficult times,” added Isberto.

Both the DSWD and Smart will work closely in formulating the guidelines for the implementation of this partnership anchored on the country’s National Disaster Response Plan.

“This partnership with the DSWD will further boost our response efforts. [With DSWD as] the lead agency tasked with the national government’s disaster response, this tie-up will allow us to serve more people and ensure that our resources are deployed to areas where they are most needed,” said Isberto.

Smart, through its year-round disaster preparedness and response umbrella program #SafePH, has strengthened its internal capabilities to prepare for disasters and help in post-disaster response, including the recalibration of its network infrastructure, and training of its on-ground personnel on surviving adverse conditions.

This partnership effort will also actively promote the culture of preparedness to partner-communities, including religious organizations, schools, local government units, and even households in high-risk areas to build their capacities to prepare for, deal with the impact of, and bounce back from, disasters.

DSWD is a member of the Disaster Response Pillar under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and is the lead agency for the Camp Coordination and Camp Management, Protection, and Food and Non-Food Clusters. ###

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DSWD takes lead in convergence of gov’t programs

In its continuing effort to effectively harness the convergence strategy in ensuring that the poor have access to social protection programs, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will hold the 9th Regional Directors Consultation Workshop (RDCW) on April 21-24, 2015 at Ramada Central in Binondo, Manila.

The theme of the workshop, “Getting Near, Getting There: The Convergence Benchmark in Propelling 2.3 Million Households into an improved-level of well-being by 2016,” reflects the renewed commitment of the DSWD and its partner agencies  to act on shared plans and goals to improve the lives of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries.

DSWD conducted the first RDCW in 2010 to reinforce convergence planning and identify specific areas of collaboration with partner agencies.

In recognizing the need to complement programs and strategies, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman stated, “Our partnership with various agencies is vital in the implementation of social protection services to ensure that no household will be left behind.”

“The DSWD and its partner-agencies will continue to optimize the convergence of government programs and resources to help 2.3 million poor households move from subsistence to self-sufficiency,” Sec. Soliman added.

The event will be attended by Regional Directors from nine national government agencies, namely: Departments of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Education (DepEd), Health (DOH), Labor and Employment (DOLE), Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform (DAR), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Trade and Industry (DTI), and one attached agency of DOLE – the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Pantawid Pamilya is the flagship social protection program of the government, which is being implemented by the DSWD.

The program invests in human capital through conditional cash grants that aim to keep children [0-18 years old] in school and keep them healthy.

To date, there are 4.43 million household Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries nationwide.###

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Sacada’s daughter graduates as valedictorian

Arlyn beams after receiving her awards as top achiever of her class at Sagay National High School.

Arlyn beams after receiving her awards as top achiever of her class at Sagay National High School.

Sagay City, Negros Occidental –  With only her dreams and determination as her motivation, a 17-year-old daughter of a ‘sacada’ or sugar cane worker, bested 832 other graduating students of Sagay National High School and emerged as valedictorian.

Sacadas can be found in Negros Occidental, known as the ‘sugar bowl’ of the Philippines.

Living in a remote village in the city, Arlyn Martinez narrated that every day, she has to walk for an hour or ride on a carabao borrowed by her father to get to the main road and then take a tricycle to reach the city’s public high school.

She said that she may not have lived a luxurious life, like living in a comfortable house or riding in a car just like some of her well-off classmates and schoolmates, but she is happy with her  simple and poor life.

“Masaya ako dahil puno ng pagmamahalan ang aming pamilya. Pinapahalagahan ko din ang sakripisyo ng aking ama para sa aming sampung anak niya (I am happy because love abounds in our family. I also appreciate my father’s sacrifices to provide for all of us his 10 children),” she said.

Help through Pantawid Pamilya

Arlyn’s family is a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

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 partner-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).

In 2013, the DSWD expanded the coverage of Pantawid Pamilya to include the 15-18 age bracket to ensure that the children-beneficiaries will graduate from high school, and have a higher rate of employability.

Arlyn, together with her two other siblings are covered by the program.

She said that the P500 cash grants she receives monthly as well as the P300 received by each of her two siblings helped them meet their daily expenses, such as their school allowance, school supplies, and uniform.

“Nakatulong ang programa sa akin para maging valedictorian (The program has helped me be the valedictorian of our class),” she enthused.

Proud to be a sacada’s daughter

For Arlyn, there is great pride in being a sacada’s daughter.

“Bilang karga tapas sa tubuhan, tinitiis ng aking ama ang bigat ng trabaho pero kinakaya niya, at sa gabi ay nag-aararo pa para lang matugunan ang aming mga pangangailangan  (As a `karga tapas’ in the sugarcane field, my father endures gruelling manual labor, yet he even plows the farm at night to sustain the whole family’s needs),” she narrated.

Now that she finished high school, Arlyn is a step closer to her dreams of uplifting her family’s condition.

“Gaya ng pangako ko sa aking sarili, susuklian ko ang mga sakripisyo ng aking ama. Kaya po ako ay nag-aral ng mabuti (I promised myself that I will repay my father’s sacrifices.  This is why I studied hard),” she said.

If given an opportunity, Arlyn wants to be an engineer or a teacher. She promised that when she gets a job and gets her first salary, she wants to buy a carabao for her father so he could finally own one and not borrow from neighbors anymore.

During her valedictory speech, Arlyn told her parents how lucky she is to have them and how thankful she is to them for making sure that she would graduate from high school. Her parents only finished elementary education.

“Sa kabila ng kahirapan, huwag tayong mawalan ng pag-asa. Ipagpatuloy nating mangarap at magsumikap dahil magbubunga rin ang ating pagpupunyagi (Despite poverty, we should not lose hope. Let us keep on dreaming and continue working hard because it will definitely pay off in the end),” Arlyn stated as she proudly stood on the stage wearing her white academe gown.

Recognizing the likes of Arlyn who graduated with honors, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman stressed, “Pinatunayan ng mga benepisyaryo na nagsipagtapos ng high school sa taong ito, at ang iba ay nagkamit pa ng honors, na hindi hadlang ang kahirapan upang makamit ang tagumpay. Ang kaunting tulong mula sa gobyerno ay napayabong nila upang mapabuti ang kanilang katayuan sa buhay (Those who graduated from high school this year, others even graduating with honors, have proven that poverty is not a hindrance towards achieving success. They were able to make good use of the little help from government).” ###

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DSWD, Leyte local execs identify sustainable industries for ‘Yolanda’ survivors

Gov. Dominic Petilla presents to the mayors and heads of national line agencies the challenges and opportunities for poverty reduction in the province.

Gov. Dominic Petilla presents to the mayors and heads of national line agencies the challenges and opportunities for poverty reduction in the province.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will continue to extend livelihood assistance to some 90,078 Typhoon ‘Yolanda’-affected families in Leyte under its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

DSWD has allocated more than P547 million for SLP implementation this year.

“The Department will continue to support the economic activities and enterprises of ‘Yolanda’ affected families in Leyte to lift them from poverty,” DSWD Assistant Secretary Camilo Gudmalin said during the ‘Salubungan’, a workshop conducted under the  Accelerated and Sustainable Anti–Poverty Program (ASAPP) of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPR) Cluster.  The workshop was held in Palo, Leyte recently and organized by the DSWD as head of HDPRC.

Asec. Gudmalin together with Leyte Governor Dominic Petilla, 40 municipal mayors of the province, and 26 heads/representatives of national agencies attended the ASAPP workshop.

During the workshop, the local government units identified lead enterprises that have the capacity to employ, while representatives of national government agencies presented their respective poverty–related programs that could be harmonized and synchronized for ASAPP implementation.

The lead enterprises identified to be undertaken along with ASAPP are eco-tourism and agriculture for the municipality of Kananga; chicharon production for Tunga; port development for San Isidro, Calubian, and Tabango; water-refilling, hot spring development, and electricity expansion for Burauen; soft broom and hollowblock-making for Julita; and eco-tourism and peanut production for Dulag.

Asec. Gudmalin also shared that aside from the SLP, DSWD’s Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services – National Community-Driven Development Program (Kalahi-CIDSS), the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Social Pension Program will also contribute to the ASAPP framework to reduce poverty.

Governor Petilla, for his part, shared the provincial government’s interventions, specifically after ‘Yolanda’ hit the region.

“We talked about recovery, rehabilitation, trauma, healing, but one thing we have to fight is poverty caused by the typhoon,” Gov. Petilla said.

He further said that prior to the disaster, Leyte ranked as the 4th biggest producer of rice and the second for coconut, adding that coconut farmers belong to the poorest sector even before ‘Yolanda.’

Gov. Petilla shared that the province received some 63,000 sacks of certified rice seeds from Europe in December 2013, and that rice production has fully recovered.

He further shared that six million coconut trees were damaged by ‘Yolanda’ but the Philippine Coconut Authority is already helping them rebuild the industry.

The local chief executive expressed his optimism that with the local and national government agencies converging their services, the province is on the way to total recovery. ###

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DSWD training of field staff for household assessment ongoing

DSWD Regional Information Officer Leah Quintana talks about effective communication during the Listahanan training for area coordinators and area supervisors for the 2nd round of household assessment.

DSWD Regional Information Officer Leah Quintana talks about effective communication during the Listahanan training for area coordinators and area supervisors for the 2nd round of household assessment.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, through the Listahanan, is currently conducting simultaneous training across all regions for field staff who will implement the 2nd round of assessment in the 2nd quarter of 2015.

In 2009, the DSWD conducted the first assessment which resulted to the identification of 5.2 million poor households out of the 10.9 million assessed. These poor households have since become beneficiaries of the Philhealth Indigent Program. Around 4.4 million of them have also been enrolled in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

The upcoming 2nd assessment will enable the department to monitor and track the progress in the lives of these previously-identified poor and identify a new set of poor and near poor households who may be qualified to receive assistance.

“Training is a vital part of our preparation for the assessment. Through this, we can ensure that the staff that we will deploy are equipped with the right knowledge, skills and attitude to undertake the activity and produce high-quality, accurate and reliable output,” stated DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman.

The training also serves as the final part of the screening process, where only those who complete and pass the final exam will be hired.

The five-day training includes lectures on how to conduct the assessment using the family assessment form, roles and responsibilities of each staff, and a practicum or a mock assessment in a nearby barangay.

As of April 2015, more than 47,000 individuals have applied for the 47,644 vacancies for the positions of area coordinators, area supervisor, enumerator, encoders and verifiers for Listahanan. Around 31,000 applicants have been shortlisted and called to attend the training.

In some regions, screening is still ongoing. Applicants are advised to contact the nearest DSWD field office to acquire information as to the schedule of screening in their respective cities and municipalities.

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Capiz towns get shelter aid

Igleceria Bulquerin thanks Sec. Soliman for the Emergency Shelter Assistance which she used to rebuild her house

Igleceria Bulquerin thanks Sec. Soliman for the Emergency Shelter Assistance which she used to rebuild her house.

Provincial officials of Capiz conveyed their gratitude to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for undertaking rehabilitation programs  to support poor families affected by Typhoon ‘Yolanda’.

“In November 2013, ‘Yolanda’ devastated us,” said Capiz Governor Victor A. Tanco during the opening ceremonies of the ‘Capiztahan.’ “Today, we are deeply humbled, as one of the persons who supported us during those difficult times is joining us. We extend our special thanks to DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman and to the members of her office for reaching out to Capizenos.”

During the said ceremony over the weekend, Gov. Tanco handed over a plaque of appreciation and a copy of the resolution to Secretary Soliman, who was in the province to check on the implementation of the DSWD rehabilitation programs for ‘Yolanda’ affected families.

Gov. Tanco stressed that the ‘Capiztahan’ is an opportune time to celebrate the “collective resiliency, perseverance and the attitude of the Capizenos to never surrender.”

“Gone are the days of ‘Yolanda’. As we celebrate ‘Capiztahan,’ our faith and our sheer will to live have shown what true Capizenos are,” he said.

Service with a smile

Meanwhile, Sec. Soliman expressed gratitude to Gov. Tanco, local goverment officials, and all Capizenos for recognizing the Department’s efforts in serving the people, particularly during calamities and disasters.

“Ginagawa po namin ito dahil kami ay lingkod-bayan tulad din ng ibang nagtatrabaho sa gobyerno. Pangalawa, salamat dahil ito ang pinagkukunan namin ng lakas upang tuloy -tuloy na makapaglingkod na may ngiti (We are just doing our duty as public servants. We thank you for this recognition because this gives us the strength to continue serving with a smile),” said Sec. Soliman.

The Secretary said that aside from rehabilitation efforts for ‘Yolanda’ affected families, the Department continues to implement the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Service-National Community Driven Development Program (Kalahi-CIDSS), Sustainable Livelihood Program, Supplementary Feeding Program, and Social Pension, among others.

Thankful ESA recipients

Aside from government officials, affected families of ‘Yolanda’ also expressed gratitude to the national government for providing them the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA). The ESA was created to allow less fortunate families to have a chance to rebuild their homes.

Igleceria Bulquerin of Roxas City said, “Salamat po Sec. Soliman. Salamat sa DSWD sa pagtugon sa aming pangangailangan. Ginamit po namin ang P30,000 para muling itayo ang aming bahay (Thank you Sec. Soliman. Thank you DSWD for responding to our needs. We used the ESA amounting to P30,000 to rebuild our house).”

“Salamat sa pagtulong ninyo para muli kaming makabangon. Hindi lamang ninyo itinayo muli ang aming bahay, binuo niyo rin muli ang tiwala namin sa gobyerno. Dahil dito, muli kaming natutong mangarap (Thank you for helping us so we could recover from the devastation of the typhoon. You not only repaired our house, you also restored our trust in the government. We have learned to hope for the future again),” said teary-eyed Bulaclac Jardiolin of Panay, whose house was totally damaged by ‘Yolanda’.

ESA provides P30,000 and P10,000 financial assistance to ‘Yolanda’ survivors whose houses were totally and partially damaged, respectively.

The ESA is given to affected families who have no permanent sources of income or whose income is below the poverty threshold of the region (houses located in safe areas; listed in the Disaster Family Access Card (DAFAC); families whose heads are not permanent or regular employees and do not have access to housing loans; fixed monthly salary below P15,000 and have not received the same assistance from other agencies).

To date, the DSWD has released P1.9 billion for ESA in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental.

Of this amount, Aklan received P348.7 million; Antique, P213.2 million; Capiz, P798.2 million; Iloilo, P437.9 million; and Negros Occidental, P138.9 million. ###

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Pantawid Pamilya honor student urges fellow grantees to use grants wisely

Jachor is all smiles as he wears his medals.

Jachor is all smiles as he wears his medals.

Topping his Grade 9 class at Bal-ason National High School, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, 15-year old Jachor McCollins Calvo Opaon, a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary, cited the big role of the program in his academic success, and urged his fellow grantees to study hard and not waste the opportunity given by the government.

“What we are enjoying now is a gift that must be used properly. Once we waste this gift, there is no way to bring the past back. It is sad to look back on the opportunities wasted and linger on the what-ifs,” Jachor emphasized in his message for his fellow beneficiaries during the school recognition ceremony.

Jachor expressed his gratitude to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for promoting and implementing the program. He said that Pantawid Pamilya has helped him and his family pay for their basic needs.

“The meager income of my mother, a Barangay Nutrition Scholar, and my father, a farmer, is not enough to respond to all the needs of my family,” Jachor disclosed. “Now, with the cash grants, we have a budget for our education.”

Jachor said that he used the P500 monthly education grant he received for his school projects and daily allowance.

He also thanked his parents for pushing him to be the best that he could be, and for always reminding him of the importance of education.

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 partner-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).

In 2013, the DSWD expanded the coverage of Pantawid Pamilya to include the 15-18 age bracket to ensure that the children-beneficiaries will graduate from high school, and have a higher rate of employability.

Academic Achiever

Aside from leading his class, Jachor was also awarded Best in English, Best in Science, Best in Filipino, Best in MAPEH, and Best in Arts.

The city government of Gingoog through Mayor Marie Guingona also recognized him as an outstanding Grade 9 student of the city.

Jachor was also active in extra-curricular activities. He participated in the Regional Press Conference as editorial writer, and became a quiz bee finalist. He also placed third in a Mathematics challenge organized by the Mathematics Teachers Association of the Philippines.

Reiterating the message of Jachor to his fellow student-grantees, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said, “I agree with Jachor. The grants should be used wisely for their education. We know that the amount is quite small but if used the right way, it is a big help nonetheless.”

She added that DSWD continues to partner with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the private sector to provide additional opportunities to student-beneficiaries, especially those who have graduated from high school. ###

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Summary of Foreign and Local Donations
As of February 23, 2015 (5:00PM)

P98,682,166.37 Local Donations

USD23,790,534.18 - Foreign Donations


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