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IP Pantawid Pamilya scholar inspires Lumad children to finish education

Cagayan de Oro City — Given the chance to be a government college scholar, Marlon Mandago, 24, a member of the Higaonon tribe of North-Central Mindanao, urged his fellow indigenous peoples (IP) to finish their education and help uplift the lives of their tribal group.

Marlon of San Luis, Malitbog, Bukidnon is a scholar under the Expanded Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA), a program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

“Education has always been identified as a priority concern for the indigenous peoples so that they may have a better future. Having a college degree will equip them for gainful employment and transform their lives in the process,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said.

Under the program, a student-grantee is entitled to a maximum grant of P60,000 per school year or P30,000 per semester for tuition and other school fees, textbooks or other learning materials, and stipend.

As of January 25, 2015, there are 31,350 student-grantees nationwide under this project. In Northern Mindanao alone, there are 2,037 student-grantees enrolled in eight CHED-accredited state colleges and universities.

Marlon is a third-year student of the Mindanao University of Science and Technology, taking up Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, major in Physical Sciences.

“Para sa akin, ayaw kong maranasan ang hirap na pinagdaanan ng aking mga magulang kung kaya’t pipilitin kong makatapos ng pag-aaral (As for me, I don’t want to go through the poverty that my parents had gone through, that is why I am determined to finish my college education),” he said.

Hinihikayat ko ang mga kasama kong IP na magtapos ng pag-aaral dahil ang edukasyon ang mag-aangat sa amin sa kahirapan (I am encouraging fellow IP to prioritize education because it will lift us out of poverty),” he added.

Growing up poor

At a very young age, Marlon witnessed the economic struggle of his parents who are laborers of a vegetable farm in their hinterland municipality, some 42.6 kilometers off southeast of the city.

During his elementary days, Marlon recalled that his parents would take home P50 a day after rendering services in the farm. It was increased to P100 a day, but still below the daily minimum wage standard in the region which is P284.

Marlon’s family does not have a house of their own. They live with his grandparents until now.

He is thankful to DSWD for helping him reach for his dream – that is, to finish a college degree.

If not for the college scholarship under the ESGP-PA of the Pantawid Pamilya of DSWD, Marlon said that realizing his dream would be bleak.

He added that DSWD is one of the government agencies that helped his fellow Higaonons lead a peaceful life.

Despite the remoteness of their community, DSWD workers regularly visit them to provide services and conduct Family Development Sessions (FDS) to Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

The FDS is a monthly session where the partner-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya are required to attend as part of their co-responsibilities. Through the FDS, parent/s or guardians are taught about personality development which includes proper grooming and hygiene; strengthening family relationships; and fostering respect by inculcating one’s rights, roles, and responsibilities within the family and their community. Parents also discuss disaster preparedness, financial literacy, and other topics that may be helpful to the family.

Marlon believes that with DSWD’s interventions to his tribe, “Kakayanin namin ang pagbabago habang itutuloy naming isabuhay ang mga magagandang kaugaliang natatangi sa aming tribo (We can initiate change in our community at the same time continue to preserve our unique culture).” ###

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DSWD extends P22.6 million worth of aid for evacuees of armed conflict

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released, as of March 10, a total of P22,661,450 worth of food packs and non-food items to assist families affected by the ongoing armed conflict in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

This includes family food packs; non-food items such as  mats made of water lily, water jugs, laminated sacks, and malong.

DSWD-Field Office XII released these relief supplies either through the DSWD-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or through concerned local government units (LGUs) as well as through the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) – Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

DSWD also continues to closely monitor the situation of families in the nine towns of Maguindanao and the town of Pikit in North Cotabato.

A total of 16,420 families or 82,100 persons were affected by the continuing armed conflict in the towns of  Datu Salibo, Pagalungan, Shariff Saydona, Mamasapano, Datu Unsay, Shariff Aguak, Raja Buayan, Datu Hoffer, and Datu Saudi Ampatuan.

Of the total, 11,269 families or 56,345 persons are staying in 44 evacuation centers set-up by the LGUs. The number of evacuation centers is down from 49 since the armed conflicts started.   Affected families staying outside evacuation centers are also being assisted.

Breakdown of affected families per municipality are:

Datu Salibo with 2,268 families composed of 11,340 persons;

Pagalungan with 1,820 families or 9,100 persons

Shariff Saydona with 1,864 families or 9,320 persons;

Mamasapano with 4,297 families composed of 21,485 persons;

Datu Unsay with 224 families or 1,120 persons;

Shariff Aguak with 1,381 families or 6,905 persons;

Raja Buayan with 255 families or 1,275 persons;

Datu Hoffer with 49 families or 245 persons;

Datu Saudi Ampatuan with 1,062 families with 5,310 persons; and,

Pikit with 3,200 families or 16,000 persons.

Likewise, DSWD Field Office XII has released 1,100 additional family food packs for distribution to the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) through CCCH- OPAPP.

“Our DSWD Field Office XII is working closely with the concerned LGUs and DSWD-ARMM for the speedy and safe delivery of the goods as well as for additional augmentation assistance, as necessary,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said. ###

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The Long Walk for Water

  Through the hard work of Marissa Nim and other Kalahi-CIDSS volunteers, Brgy. Kauswagan in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental now enjoys clean flowing water.

Through the hard work of Marissa Nim and other Kalahi-CIDSS volunteers, Brgy. Kauswagan in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental now enjoys clean flowing water.

The sun is high. Her heels are numb and her legs feel like wood. But she has to go on. There is one more hour. She cannot return empty-handed.

Marissa Nim thought of this as she walked 2 to 3 hours just to have water at home. Three kilometers of walking with a gallon of water in each hand—this used to be daily life.

Like others in Brgy. Kauswagan, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, her family had to fetch water from a far-away area to have something for cooking, cleaning, or, in lucky times, bathing.

But this all changed when Kalahi-CIDSS came.

Kalahi-CIDSS stands for Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, one of the three core poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It urges communities to work together to achieve their identified needs.

With the arrival of the program in their village, Marissa immediately volunteered. Finally, here was a chance to end the long walk for water.

Kalahi-CIDSS provided funding and educated the community on how to make proposals and even on how to build their subproject. The construction of a Level II Water System in their neighborhood topped the list.

Farmers became engineers and housewives became financial analysts. Everybody had a role to play. The Kalahi-CIDSS experts lived with them to guide them.

Thus, even with cynics on standby, Marissa and her neighbors labored to make a Pump-Driven Water System. They opened a bank account and used the money to buy pipes, nails, cement, and everything they needed.

They also consulted with experts and asked for seedlings to plant around their water source for its sustainability.

Long walk over

The water system has now been constructed in Barangay Kauswagan. Finally, their daily struggle for water is over.

“Now, the long walks to get just two gallons of water are a thing of the past,” Marissa happily shared.

She added, “We can now even have backyard gardens and build clean comfort rooms because water is just within reach.”

The availability of water also made it possible for them to raise hogs and poultry in their backyards, thus, providing them additional sources of income.

Upon seeing the completion of the water system, those who doubted at first eventually became believers and contributed in maintaining the project.

Barangay councilor Agustin Sarap also testified to the success of the project. “Karon, ma-maintain na namo ang insaktong kahinlo sa panimalay, makaadto na kami sa among baol sa sayong oras. Makapahuway na jud mi sa gilay-on nga kaniadto among lakawon paingon sa gikuhaan namog tubig. (Now, we can already maintain the right cleanliness in our homes and go to our farms early. Finally, we can rest from the long walk to the water source),” he said.

Marissa’s journey

Their community now strives as one to improve their way of life. Like her neighbors, Marissa has also learned to transform for the better. Being a Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer honed her personality and made her a confident and empowered worker.

From being a housewife, Marissa transformed from a day care worker to a family health care volunteer and eventually, to a neighborhood leader. Seeing her dedication to the realization of the water system, the residents of Barangay Kauswagan elected her as one of their barangay councilors.

DSWD also noticed Marissa’s active involvement in improving the condition of their barangay.

Consequently, she was chosen as Kalahi-CIDSS hero, bagging the Bayani Ka! Award as a leader in environmental protection.

It was a long journey to development but it was well worth it, both for Barangay Kauswagan and for Marissa. – Cheryl Baldicantos-Boholano, Kalahi-CIDSS Social Marketing Officer ###

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Muslim kids take part in DSWD feeding program

School children partake of free hot meals in a Madrasah in Lower Sirawan, Toril, Davao City

School children partake of free hot meals in a Madrasah in Lower Sirawan, Toril, Davao City

Davao City – Some 1,500 Muslim-children enrolled in various Madrasahs in the city will benefit from the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) for Sajahatra Bangsamoro implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

In coordination with the local government unit (LGU), the SFP will initially feed 550 children aged 5 to 12 years old in 11 Madrasahs, which are Muslim private schools with core emphasis on Islamic Studies and Arabic Literacy.

As soon as the DSWD receives the master list from the field workers, the second feeding round will cover 950 children to complete the 1,500 target.

For the initial feeding of 550 children, the Department has allotted P910,250 for food and dining and cooking utensils, including 6,600 kilograms of iron-fortified rice.

The SFP is a program which provides food to children daily in addition to their regular meals. It is an augmentation support to the feeding program of the LGU and it uses indigenous food and/or locally processed food equivalent to 1/3 of the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intakes (RENIs).

The program aims to enhance knowledge, attitude, and practices of children, parents, and caregivers through intensified nutrition and health education. It also improves and sustains the nutritional status of the children beneficiaries.

According to DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, the SFP also contributes to peace efforts. “The program also concretizes the socio-economic peace initiative in partnership with the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).”

Communities endorsed by the MILF to DSWD through Task Force Bangsamoro Development (TFBD) are involved in this feeding program for Sajahatra Bangsamoro.

Parents manage the feeding program preparation of meal cycle using the available indigenous food supplies. Children beneficiaries are weighed at the start of the feeding and after the completion of 120 feeding days to determine improvement in their nutritional status.

As part of the SFP implementation, the participating parents are also mobilized to attend nine capability-building sessions on self, family, parenting, health and nutrition, love of country, and home and environment. ###

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2014, a year of accomplishments for Kalahi-CIDSS, development partners

Region I mayors ink their MOAs with DSWD last November 12, 2014. The Ilocos region will be implementing the CDD process of Kalahi-CIDSS of DSWD for the first time, as 11 of its municipalities were included following the national scale-up of the program.

Region I mayors ink their MOAs with DSWD last November 12, 2014. The Ilocos region will be implementing the CDD process of Kalahi-CIDSS of DSWD for the first time, as 11 of its municipalities were included following the national scale-up of the program.

Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) had an eventful 2014, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman.

Through its scale up into a national community-driven development program last June 23, 2014 and its officially roll out on July 2014, it was able to conduct the initial preparatory activities in 659 municipalities. Of this number, 80% are ‘Yolanda’-affected municipalities.

In the aftermath of Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ which hit the country on November 8, 2013, DSWD redesigned Kalahi-CIDSS  to serve as a program responsive to post-disaster rehabilitation. Of its total target of 847 municipalities, 554 are ‘Yolanda’-affected.

Kalahi-CIDSS expects to start the implementation of identified sub-projects by these municipalities in the first quarter of 2015.

Sec. Soliman commended the Kalahi-CIDSS staff on their performance, describing the roll-out of the scale-up as one of the fastest done by the DSWD.

“Under great strain and while performing disaster relief operations, you were able to meet your targets,” she said.

Kalahi-CIDSS also officially completed its implementation of the Kalahi-CIDSS Additional Financing (KC-AF) modality, which was funded in part through a P2.8 billion loan from the World Bank and P676.9 million from government funds.

The overall outcome rating for the project by the end of KC-AF was positive, with the project disbursing 93% of its funds and exceeding most of its performance indicators. It also made positive contributions to community empowerment, as well as produced a high rate of acceptance of turnover agreements by local government units, and 90% improvement of access to basic services of households in the poorest provinces in the Philippines.

Combined with a US$120 million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Kalahi-CIDSS was able to implement 855 community projects in 2014, benefiting 306,876 households spread across 328 municipalities in 48 of the poorest provinces in the Philippines.

In 2014, Kalahi-CIDSS mobilized and trained 60,418 community volunteers to participate in the program, from the preparation and implementation of the sub-projects to the operation and maintenance of such.

Kalahi-CIDSS was also able to provide short-term employment to 33,569 individuals during the sub-project implementation phase through paid physical labor, with P107 million in salaries provided to them.

In May 2014, the Australian government through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) also provided AU$12 million grant to Kalahi-CIDSS to support education through the implementation of 468 classrooms and day care centers. This grant was designed to form part of the Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ rehabilitation initiatives, with at least 25% of its target sub-projects projected to be constructed in communities that were affected by the disaster.

This is Phase II of the DFAT support for Kalahi-CIDSS. In 2012, it also provided a US$10 million grant, which funded the construction of 626 classroom units, going beyond its target of 515-unit target.  These benefited 102,213 households, of which 39,979 are partner beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the conditional cash transfer program of the DSWD.

In partnership with the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR), Kalahi-CIDSS helps rebuild community infrastructures damaged by ‘Yolanda’ in the Eastern Visayas region. The program also implements projects in partnership with the World Bank and the Japan Social Development Fund – Livelihood Opportunities for Vulnerable Urban Communities (JSDF-LVUC) for urban community-driven development (CDD) implementation. Lastly, Kalahi-CIDSS is also one of the implementers of the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA), which is spearheaded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and is an implementer of Bottom-Up Budgeting.

As a program that uses the CDD approach, Kalahi-CIDSS mobilizes people so that they can have the opportunity to identify and directly implement community projects that they need. ###

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Press Statement Philippine participation to the 3rd UN World Disaster Risk Reduction

Sec. Soliman (center) explains the importance of sending a Philippine delegation to the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan during this morning’s press briefing. With Sec. Soliman are NDRRMC Executive Director Usec. Alexander Pama and Climate Change Commission Sec. Mary Ann Lucille Sering.

Sec. Soliman (center) explains the importance of sending a Philippine delegation to the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan during this morning’s press briefing. With Sec. Soliman are NDRRMC Executive Director Usec. Alexander Pama and Climate Change Commission Sec. Mary Ann Lucille Sering.

“In response to high-level invitations from the Government of Japan and the United Nations Secretary General, the Government of the Philippines is sending an official delegation to the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and its Third Preparatory Committee Meeting (Prepcom3) to be held in Sendai, Japan on 13-18 March 2015.  Aside from honoring these invitations, the Philippines, as a country highly vulnerable to disasters, is making sure that its voice is heard in a once-in-a-decade UN conference that shapes the global framework for reducing risks.

Among the important issues at the Conference is the successor framework to the UN Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA) negotiated 10 years ago.  The delegation will take active part in the negotiations on the successor Framework, which has building back better in recovery and rehabilitation and measurable indicators as new features to ensure means of implementation in the international effort to reduce disaster risks.

The delegation will also be co-chairing a high level dialogue on women in disaster risk reduction, and attend important ministerial roundtables, working sessions, dialogues and public forum events. Several members of the Philippine delegation have roles as panelists and speakers — a recognition of the country’s leadership and prominence in the field of disaster risk reduction and management.

As reflected in the organization of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the delegation includes a significant number of partners from civil society who are members of the NDRRMC. If there is one important thing that the Philippines can demonstrate at 3WCDRR, it is this trust, openness and demonstrated inclusivity through government-civil society partnership, among others, that characterize the desired whole-of-society approach to effectively build resilience against disasters.

Members of the media who are covering 3WCDRR are welcome to approach the delegation for interviews at a pre-arranged time.  For media queries and interview arrangements, please e-mail

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Nepalese delegation in PH for Listahanan implementation

Director Vincent Andrew T. Leyson, National Program Manager of the Listahanan, and Mr. Chintan Poudel, leader of the Nepelese delegation, discuss activities that will be undertaken in the five-day Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building program on the Philippine Targeting System.

Director Vincent Andrew T. Leyson, National Program Manager of the Listahanan, and Mr. Chintan Poudel, leader of the Nepelese delegation, discuss activities that will be undertaken in the five-day Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building program on the Philippine Targeting System.

The Government of Nepal sent a delegation to the Philippines to learn from the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) experience in implementing the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), also known as the Listahanan. The study visit started on Monday, March 9, and will last until March 13.

Listahanan is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are. It makes a comprehensive database of poor families available to national government agencies and other social protection stakeholders to serve as basis in identifying beneficiaries of social protection programs and services.

In 2009, the Listahanan conducted the first nationwide assessment that resulted to the identification of 5.2 million poor households out of the 10.9 million households assessed.

These poor households have since become beneficiaries of national social protection programs and services such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Philhealth Indigent Program, and Social Pension, among others.

The Listahanan is currently preparing for the 2nd round of nationwide assessment with 15.3 million target households.

A field visit has also been scheduled for the Nepalese delegates to observe the screening and hiring of applicants for the Listahanan field staff positions.

Nepal’s targeting system is being managed by the Poor Household Identification and Identity Card Management and Distribution Coordination Board Secretariat under the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation.

They have assessed nearly 1.3 million households in 25 out of 75 target districts in Nepal and are set to undertake the second phase of their implementation that will cover the remaining 50 districts in 2015-2016.

“It will be good for us to share our knowledge and expertise [so] that we can enhance our skills and knowledge to forward this challenging task,” said Chintan Poudel, Executive Vice Chairperson of Nepal’s Poor Household Identification Board. ###

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DSWD intensifies program convergence to address poverty

Amid the rise in poverty incidence in the first half of 2014, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was cited by National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) head Arsenio Balisacan to have been instrumental in tempering poverty from rising any further.

To support this observation, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman shared that according to the 2014 World Bank Benefit-Incidence Analysis, Pantawid Pamilya has a positive effect on the poverty gap through increasing the income of partner-beneficiaries and moving them closer to the minimum income level needed to transcend poverty.

“The positive observations are enough reason for us to intensify the implementation of the program and to also clean the list of cash recipients to ensure that only the rightful beneficiaries will get the assistance. This way, we can maximize our resources for those who are really in need,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Julian-Soliman said.

DSWD is also looking into the possibility of increasing the amount of cash grants given, subject to the availability of funds. Increasing the cash grants will address higher inflation and rising food prices, thus protecting beneficiaries from sliding back into poverty.

Sec. Soliman further explained that the temporary delisting of beneficiaries who are not complying with program conditions may have also lessened the number of families who have cash to spend, thus affecting the poverty incidence data, at least for the period that the study was made.

To date, a total of 4,442,781 families are enrolled in the Pantawid Pamilya.

Sustainable livelihood

To safeguard the long-term growth of Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries, DSWD also provides livelihood and/or employment to poor communities through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

SLP invests in building the capacity of people to engage in economic activities so they are able to stand on their own. The program has two tracks: the Micro-enterprise Development, wherein beneficiaries are given start-up capital to start a small business; and Employment Facilitation, wherein participants are provided with technical skills training, occupational guidance, and job referrals/placement.

From January 2011 to November 2014, SLP served 464,190 families.

Community-Driven Development 

Anchored on empowering the community, DSWD also implements the Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community Driven Development program (KALAHI-CIDSS).  Under this program, the people themselves decide on issues directly affecting them, as well as draw up solutions in partnership with the Local Government Units (LGUs).

Through KALAHI-CIDSS, the people become part in the development of their communities and become active citizens.

Since its launch in 2003, the program has funded a total of 9,812 sub-projects with 6,362 already finished and benefiting around 1.5 million household beneficiaries.

Convergence strategy

Pantawid Pamilya, KALAHI-CIDSS, and SLP are DSWD’s three core programs that contribute to poverty reduction.

Each program responds to an aspect of poverty to ensure a comprehensive response, and when implemented together form the DSWD’s convergence strategy.

“By 2016, we are aiming to raise 2.3 million households to a level of self-sufficiency through the convergence strategy,” Sec. Soliman stated.

Knowing the real poor

Sec. Soliman said that knowing the poor is the first step to providing appropriate interventions as well as ensuring that resources are utilized efficiently and distributed equitably. To achieve this, DSWD uses the Listahanan or the National Household-Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

The NHTS-PR is an information management system that helps the Department identify which communities in the country are most in need of government interventions.

“It gives a face to poverty by enabling us to know the poor more personally – to know them by their names, where they live; know their families [through] data and [through] real relationships established,” Sec. Soliman said.

DSWD conducted the first round of assessment in 2009 and will conduct the second round this year.

Protecting the vulnerable groups

Aside from the three core programs, DSWD also implements protective programs for vulnerable groups such as older persons, persons with disabilities, children in conflict with the law (CICL), and victims of human trafficking, among others.

Programs for these groups are social pension for indigent seniors, supplementary feeding for children, community-based programs, and provision of temporary shelter, among others.

She also added that the Department continues to strengthen its disaster management program through monitoring and intensified collaboration with the local government units to better respond to the needs of the public during calamities.

DSWD remains committed to serving the poor, the vulnerable, and the disadvantaged through its social protection programs. The Department will further intensify its various programs in order to address poverty and improve the quality of life of the marginalized sector. ###

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