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Nat’l gov’t, LGU, foreign partners meet to tackle hunger, poverty issues

The Philippine government is currently facing several challenges in relation to poverty reduction, hunger mitigation, and food security in the urban and rural communities.

This is a huge task which requires multi-sectoral efforts involving the national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), non-government,  and civil society organizations (NGOs/CSOs).

Addressing these challenges require a holistic approach to bring together the programs of government that are focused on the provision of essential services, directly benefiting the poorer sector in the rural areas.

The national government’s strategy demands a concerted effort to build social capital among the poorer sector of the society and provide the enabling mechanism for informed participation.

Towards this end, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and the Department of Agriculture (DA) collaborated to undertake the Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP) Project, intended to create essential social infrastructure aimed at improving access to basic services and facilitating investment into the rural economy.

To assess the initial gains of the PAHP in the pilot and roll-out areas, the officials and representatives from the three NGAs, together with the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Food Program (WFP), and the LGUs of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte, and Municipality of Castilla, Sorsogon, will meet on November 11-12 in Cebu City.

The Ambassador of Brazil,  George Ney de Souza Fernandez, will likewise attend the two-day National Workshop since the PAHP framework builds on the success of the Brazilian Government on its Zero-Hunger Plan and the Food Purchase Program.

In Brazil, the provision of agricultural extension services is linked to the nutrition needs of the feeding program and logistics management related to production, delivery and storage of required food items.

According to DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, the implementation of the PAHP has been pilot-tested in Region V where the Supplemental Feeding Program (SFP) of DSWD’s day care centers is linked to DAR’s support services programs for agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) and DA’s crop production programs for farmers organizations (FOs).

Under the PAHP, ARBOs, and FOs will provide the essential food items required for the supplemental feeding program of the day care centers, while improving their productivity and farm income through assistance from DAR and DA .

Drawing lessons from experience gained in the pilot area, the PAHP has been rolled out in Regions VIII and IX, where the PAHP Convergence Team has been organized to replicate the program initiatives in Region V.

With technical assistance from UN’s FAO and WFP in community-driven approaches in agri-enterprise development and food security programs, the prospects for poverty reduction and hunger elimination in the rural areas would be enhanced.

“The project will also boost the SFP by ensuring the supply of food requirements for the day care pupil-beneficiaries,” Sec. Soliman stated. ###

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Int’l groups commend rehab, recovery effort of PH for ‘Yolanda’-hit areas

Prominent International organizations have spoken positively about the efforts being undertaken by the Philippine Government to restore normalcy in areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda, the world’s strongest cyclone in 2013.

On November 3, the Asian Development Bank  (ADB) said that they are impressed with efforts to rehabilitate communities hit by ‘Yolanda’.

“Despite challenges, rehabilitation efforts in Eastern Visayas were even moving faster than what was seen during the earthquake and tsunami that struck Aceh, Indonesia, 10 years ago,” ADB Vice President on East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Stephen Groff.

Groff added that they expect reconstruction in ‘Yolanda’-affected areas to take four to five years – the usual amount of time it takes for areas in similar situations to recover.

On the other hand, Luisa Carvalho, the United Nations resident humanitarian coordinator,  said that the  Philippine Government had to respond to the needs of 10 million Filipinos displaced by both man-made and natural disasters in 2013.

“So comparing to other experiences, we can say that the Philippines is in a satisfactory, very positive path. Considering the size of the event, the path of the response is very satisfactory,” Carvalho said.

Carvalho added that the UN country team released its final monitoring report on ‘Yolanda’ response and recovery efforts in August, three months ahead of schedule, both because  significant progress  had already been made out of the Strategic Response Plan, and in response to the government’s decision to shift fully from relief to recovery.

Likewise, Peter Agnew, a senior official of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Tacloban also told  a news agency,   “If this had happened in some other countries in the region, the recovery would certainly not be like this.”

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that these positive remarks “will definitely boost the morale of all rehabilitation workers especially the volunteers and government workers.”

“The task of rebuilding is indeed a challenge but with the private sector, our partner non-government and international humanitarian organizations, and the survivors themselves working together, we have no doubt that the areas devastated by ‘Yolanda’ will rise again,” Sec. Soliman added. ###

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DSWD targets zero tents in ‘Yolanda’ areas by yearend

 (Left photo) President Benigno S. Aquino III hands over the  certificate of occupancy to a Yolanda survivor from Guian, while Sec. Soliman and other government officials look on  (Right photo) Emilia Orgando is happy with her new home


(Left photo) President Benigno S. Aquino III hands over the certificate of occupancy to a ‘Yolanda’ survivor from Guian, while Sec. Soliman and other government officials look on.
(Right photo) Emilia Orgando is happy with her new home.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman vowed that all efforts are being exerted so that by December 30, none of the remaining survivors in all Yolanda-affected areas would be staying in tents and makeshifts.

In June 2014, there were still 3,219 families staying in tents and makeshift houses in Leyte and Samar. Now, majority of them have already been moved to safer transitional shelters.

Last week, Sec. Soliman visited Barangays 88, 89, and 90 in Tacloban City to check on the condition of families staying in tents.

During her visit, Sec. Soliman consulted the Chairmen of said barangays to discuss the residents’ transfer to transitional shelters.

DSWD in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been relocating the 138 families in Brgy. 88, in batches, to IPI and NHA bunkhouse communities, Badato Transitional Site, and to Villa Sophia Permanent Relocation Site. The transfers were done on October 30 and November 3. The last batch will be brought tomorrow,November 8.

On the other hand, there are still 257 families staying in tents in Brgys 89 and 90.

These families will be transferred to their on-site bunkhouses constructed by OXFAM and Green Mindanao by November 30.

Meanwhile, Sec. Soliman reported that there are no more families staying in tents in Giuian, Eastern Samar.

The 132 families who were previously in the tent city have been transferred to temporary shelters in Brgy. Getty Hollywood in Cogon.

Emilia Orgando’s family was among those who have recently moved to their new temporary shelter.

Mas ligtas na kami sa kapahamakan dahil may ligtas na bahay na kami. Salamat sa tugon ng gobyerno (We are safer now because already have a house. Thanks to the response of the government),” she shared.

DSWD provided ‘pabaon packs’ to the families comprising of 25 kilos of rice, 6 canned goods, 8 cereal drinks, 6 sachets of coffee, and family and hygiene kits. ###

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Adoptive father says rigid legal adoption process OK, for child’s best interest

Jason sharing his experience as an adoptive father

Jason sharing his experience as an adoptive father

“Binago talaga ng DSWD ang pananaw ko sa adoption na dapat itrato ito ng maayos at seryoso. Ngayon, napakataas ng tingin ko sa adoption dahil nakita ko na mabusisi talaga ang proseso nito para na rin sa kapakanan ng bata (The DSWD adoption process has completely changed my perspective on adoption that it should be taken conscientiously and seriously. Now, I view adoption with high regard because the meticulous process  ensured the child’s best interest).”

Thus, shared Jason Baldueza, 44, from Pandacan,  Manila,  an adoptive father to  a 7-year old boy,  Jessie,  during the flag raising ceremony of the officials and employees of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Central Office in Batasan, Quezon City.

Jason who is a missionary of a Christian church, and his wife Jennifer, adopted Jessie six years ago after years of trying to have their own child. The adoption process lasted for six months.

 According to Jason  they experienced anxieties and fear as they waited for their adopted child to be turned over to them.

 “I must admit we had this feeling while we waited for Jessie. These thoughts are normal and can be overcome,” Jason expressed.

Jason and his wife began the process in June 2007 and found that their biggest fear was doubt. It was their first time to adopt a child and they were beset with questions such as, what would be the result of the matching, how would a legal adoption work, how long will we wait.

 “Ang pakiramdam ko noon ay para akong nakikipagkarera sa isang marathon na para bang kinakabahan ka kung kakayanin mo ba ‘tong matapos hanggang sa finish line… hanggang sa matapos ang proseso ng adoption  (I felt then that I was in a marathon race, nervous whether I am  going to make it to the finish line—or until the adoption process is finished),” he shared.

In 2008, a social worker called up Jason with wonderful news.  A six month-old baby boy was finally matched with the couple.

Matching is the judicious selection of a family for a child based on the child’s needs and in his/her best interest as well as the capability and commitment of the adoptive parents to provide such needs and promote a mutually satisfying parent-child relationship.

“Una pa lang na mahawakan ko si Baby Jessie ay komportable na ako,  pero iyong ‘attachment process’, mas matagal dahil  kailangan talagang gagawa ka muna ng relasyon mo sa bata. Kailangan talaga ng sapat na oras(The first time I held him in my arms, I felt comfortable,  but I can say that the ‘attachment process’ is longer because you have to build your relationship with the child. You need ample time to build that),” Jason said.

“Bilang adoptive parents,  dapat hands-on.  Kailangan, ikaw mismo ang magpapalit ng damit, magpapakain, magpapalit ng lampin, at magpapatulog sa kanya  (As adoptive parents, you should be hands-on in taking care of his needs like feeding him, changing his diapers and clothes, and putting him to sleep),” Jason said.

Showered with enough attention and love, Jessie grew up to be someone the Baldueza couple can be proud of.

Wherever they go, people who meet them adore the family especially Jessie because of his charm and antics.

 Jason was grateful to DSWD for the thorough process of adoption. He said that the Department really testsed them if they are capable and prepared to be parents through series of interviews and counseling.

DSWD continues to warn interested adoptive parents not to resort to simulation of birth certificate, since it is considered a crime.

 Simulation of birth certificate is the tampering of the civil registry so the adopting parents can have their names written as the parents on their children’s birth certificates.

 Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a child has the right to his identity and should be given the opportunity to know his biological parent.

Jason narrated that the meticulous adoption process did not prevent them from going through it again.

The couple are about to become proud adoptive parents for  the second time. This time, to an 8-month old baby boy.

The matching process is already finished. The couple is just waiting for DSWD to relinquish the custody of the child to them.

 DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman  encourages interested adoptive parents to pursue legal adoption because aside from security it also promotes the best interest of the child.

Under the law, the process of legally adopting a child involves several steps such as application of interested parents, preparation of home study report, approval and disapproval of application, matching or family selection, pre-placement and placement of child, supervised trial custody, finalization of adoption, issuance of adoption decree and amended birth certificate, and conduct of post-adoptive services. This process would usually take six months to a year.

Prospective adoptive parents may call DSWD-Adoption Resource and Referral Unit (ARRU) at 734-8622 or contact accredited DSWD-licensed adoption agencies such as Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF) at  912-1160 and Norfil Foundation at 372-3577. ###

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DSWD continues accounting of cash advances; clarifies issues

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clarified that P222 million or 49% of the P452.55 million reported as unliquidated cash advances to officers and employees based on the 2013 Annual Financial Report submitted by Commission on Audit (COA) to Congress has already been liquidated as of October 31, 2014.

This came after a news report mentioned that DSWD was among the agencies which owed the government some P10.14 billion in unliquidated cash advances.

Of the remaining balance of P230 million, P54 million is already in the process of liquidation and is expected to be completed before the year ends.

However, the liquidation of the remaining P175 million which is attributed to DSWD-Field Office VIII has been a challenge for the Field Office.

It can be recalled that in 2013, Typhoon Yolanda heavily damaged DSWD-Field Office VIII in Tacloban City destroying various records, including financial documents.

Concerned Field Office officials and employees assured that though they are having difficulties in reconstructing the liquidation documents, they are exerting all efforts to settle the accounts.

“We are assisting our Field Office by providing them Technical Assistance to expedite the liquidation process of the amount,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman stated.

The bulk of the advances to officers and employees pertain to cash advances granted for the implementation of DSWD programs and projects particularly the Cash-for-Work and Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens wherein payout/payment to beneficiaries is made directly by the DSWD Special Disbursing Officers.

“Pending submission of liquidation documents, we affirm that none of this amount was pocketed, but were distributed to the intended beneficiaries of our programs,” Sec. Soliman emphasized. ###

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How the ‘lost’ youths in Quezon find new chance at life

Catanauan, Quezon - Out-of-school youths remain one of the most neglected groups until now. Not only are they deprived of educational opportunities, they also are vulnerable to different forms of abuses, whether these are brought about by other people, such as in the case of child labor or being recruited in gangs, or upon themselves, by taking up different vices, including alcohol and drugs.

In Barangay San Vicente Kanluran in this town, a lot of the out-of-school youths got themselves entangled in these situations. Some lost motivation in doing productive activities, believing that their situation is hopeless. As such, they usually just laze around doing nothing.

Others, however, resort to small-scale crimes. More often than not, these out-of-school youths become bugano.

Bugano

Bugano” is a local term used to call those who steal copra.

Twenty year-old Richard Rejano Perlada is one of the youths who admitted to being a bugano, although he explained he only did it so he could have something to eat.

With 11 children in the family, Richard’s parents were unable to feed them all properly because of poverty. As such, Richard resorted to stealing to put food in his belly.

Ginawa ko ‘yon kasi gutom ako (I only did it because I was hungry),” he confessed.

He said that their poverty prevented his parents from sending him to school.

He said, “Hirap na hirap ang mga magulang ko na kumita para sa pagkain namin kaya hindi na nila ako kayang papag-aralin (My parents really struggle to earn a living, so they were unable to send me to school),” he said.

Richard was only able to finish high school.

It took his parents’ intervention to get him to stop stealing.

He said, “Itinigil ko rin kasi sabi ng mga magulang ko baka daw ako makulong. Mas mabuti na daw magutom kaysa makulong (I stopped because my parents told me I might get thrown in prison. They said being hungry is better than being jailed).”

Recruit

Liza Reyes (not her real name), 18, experienced a different dilemma. Like other youths, she likes spending her time with company. Unfortunately, she did not know that making friends would put her at risk.

Sinabihan po ako ng mga kaibigan ko na maglulubak lang sa bahay ng isa kong kaibigan. Pero nang makita ko po na masukal na ‘yong daan at wala na sa direksyon ay kinutuban na po ako. Sabi nila saglit na may gustong kumausap sa amin. Doon po ay alam ko na gusto kami i-recruit kaya tumakbo po ako at tumakas sa kanila (My friends told me that we would be visiting the house of one of our  friends. I began to feel uneasy when I saw that we veered off from, the road. It was then that they told me that there were some people who wanted to talk to us. I realized that they wanted to recruit me, so I fled),” she narrated.

Liza was referring to the New People’s Army (NPA), the revolutionary group of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Quezon province is one of the areas where the organization is known to operate.

Even though she felt she was followed, Liza was able to escape from them, which she was thankful for.

The parents of Sheila Angelo (not her real name), 20, however, were not as lucky.

Pinatay po ang mga magulang ko. Wala naman nakitang nawala sa bahay. At hanggang ngayon hindi ko pa rin alam kung ano ang rason bakit sila pinatay (My parents were killed. Nothing was missing from our house. Until now, no one knows why they were killed),” she said while crying.

Sheila is also an out-of-school youth. After the death of her parents, her siblings were unable to support her college education. Sheila occasionally did odd jobs. Other than that, she had nothing to keep her busy. 

It took the combined efforts of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the three poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in their joint implementation of the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) to bring hope in the lives of these youths.

Kalahi-CIDSS is a DSWD program that helps alleviate poverty through community-driven development. It has now been scaled up into the KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP (National Community-Driven Development Program), which is targeting the coverage of 847 municipalities, including conflict-affected areas, nationwide.

PAMANA is the Philippine government’s program and framework for peace and development. As the lead agency, OPAPP partners with other national government agencies to reach poor conflict-affected areas to improve their access to basic social services.

New lease on life

Through Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA, vocational courses on welding, food processing, and consumer electronics servicing, provided by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) were offered to 10 out-of-school youths of Barangay San Vicente Kanluran.

Richard, Liza, and Shiela were among the eight consumer electronics servicing trainees, having undergone training for 55 days. The three of them were offered jobs through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), as they are now National Certification (NC) II passers.

Before the training, Richard helped his parents earn money by being involved in the copra industry, albeit no longer as a bugano.

Kargador po ako ng copra. Binubuhat po namin ‘yon papunta ng truck (I haul copra to trucks),” he said.

He earned an average of P300 per day by carrying 3-5 sacks of copra, which he used to help his parents feed their family.

Richard hopes that through the training provided to him through Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA, he will be able to earn even more so he can help his family.

Nagpapasalamat po ako at napasali po ako dito sa training. Ngayon ay may pag-asa na po ako na makahanap ng mas magandang trabaho (I am thankful I was able to become part of this training. I feel hopeful now that I will be able to find a better job)”, Richard said, speaking in behalf of Sheila, Liza, and the other out-of-school youths that have been given a new chance at life through Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA.###

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‘Yolanda’ made Samar community stronger, wiser, through DSWD program

(Left Photo) Gender equality. Women form part of the physical labor force working in the construction of the path walk in Barangay Inobangan in San Sebastian, Samar. (Right Photo) Path to progress. The path walk will be able to help Barangay Inobangan villagers have improved access to and from their farms and the market.

(Left Photo) Gender equality. Women form part of the physical labor force working in the construction of the path walk in Barangay Inobangan in San Sebastian, Samar. (Right Photo) Path to progress. The path walk will be able to help Barangay Inobangan villagers have improved access to and from their farms and the market.

Typhoon Yolanda stories can be depressing, given the level of devastation it brought to the country.

Barangay Inobangan in San Sebastian, Samar, however, is a different case.

Even though it was also hit by ‘Yolanda’ a year ago on November 8, 2013, the residents did not allow the disaster to overwhelm them. Instead, they used it as a springboard to grow stronger as a community, with the help of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in partnership with the Millennium Challenge Account (MCC).

Looking at the face of defeat

After ‘Yolanda’, prices of construction materials skyrocketed, given the high demand for these because of the large-scale repairs and infrastructure recovery works that needed to be done following the disaster.

This was the situation the people of San Sebastian found themselves facing. Implementing a 0.7-km path walk as a government-funded sub-project through Kalahi-CIDSS did not stop their previously contracted supplier from backing out because its stocks ran out.

The Procurement Team volunteers, led by Mario Vinceto, 42, nearly gave up. Canvassing failed several times, almost leading to the volunteer Procurement Team to surrender.

May times na gusto na naming sumuko (There were times when we wanted to give up)”, said Mario.

They were eventually able to find suppliers, but only by January 2014, two months after ‘Yolanda’.

Still, the experience produced a lot of good. Since they have had prior experience in Kalahi-CIDSS, having implemented it the previous year, they were able to further develop their procurement skills. The barangay is now looking into formally adopting the procurement system of Kalahi-CIDSS as they now want to increase the involvement of residents.

The residents also became more confident in their skills in identifying quality in the materials and actual construction of sub-projects, even those that are not under Kalahi-CIDSS.

Antonieta Abaygar, 58, who served as the Barangay Sub-Project Management Chairperson (BSPMC) for their path walk sub-project, said that people are now more confident and stringent about standards of sub-projects.

She shared, “May nakita ang isang volunteer na na-damage ang kalsada. Agad sinabing nasira ang kalsada. Magkaka-findings iyang supplier. Kung Kalahi-CIDSS iyan, blacklisted na iyan (One of the volunteers saw part of the road was damaged. He said that the  road is damaged. There will be findings on the supplier. If this was a Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project, the supplier would already be blacklisted).”

Employment

Residents also gained other things in their involvement in Kalahi-CIDSS.

For instance, women were able to earn as laborers during the construction of their path walk. This was something new for them, as it was more common among them to stay at home instead of work, let alone in construction.

Priscilla Jabonete, 41, who served as one of the laborers, said, “Dati, lalaki lang ang nag-le-labor. Ngayon, diri na… Ang mga babae, puwede na magtrabaho ayon sa kakayanan (Men were the only ones who did construction work before. This is no longer the case. Women can now work based on skill).”

They got the same salary as the men at P210 per day, which they used to help support their families.

Elita Pacayra, 25, and a mother of two said, “Okay ang trabaho kasi nakakadagdag kita para sa pamilya (The work is good because it helps us earn for our families),” adding that she uses the money to buy food for her family.

The job opportunities for women in Barangay Inobangan through KALAHI-CIDSS-MCC will not end there. Earlier this year, the barangay was one of the communities awarded a Gender Incentive Grant (GIG), also through the partnership project.

Through the GIG, interested women can be provided skills trainings in construction work such as welding, plumbing, electricity, masonry, and carpentry.

As a barangay of a 6th class municipality with 57 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program partner-beneficiaries, the job generation as a result of the trainings will be a big help to these poor families.

More economic opportunities

The path walk itself will lead to greater economic opportunities for the villagers.

Inobangan is primarily a farming community, with 77 of its 108 households involved in this industry. Before the path walk was constructed, farmers had to hire porters to help them bring their crops to the market, at P20 per sack, an already sizeable sum considering the meager earnings they get.

To make matters even more difficult for the farmers, even a little bit of rain makes the path muddy, making it difficult and dangerous for them to traverse the path, especially if they have their crops with them.

With the construction of the path walk, traveling to and from their farms will now be safer and quicker, and they will be able to use the money they previously spent on hiring porters to buy more seeds, put food on the table, and support their children.

Residents from neighboring barangays such as Balugo and Osmeña will also benefit from the path walk, as they can also use it to get to and from their villages and their farms.

Working in the sub-project also made the residents have more ownership of this, pushing them to take good care of it.

Said Priscilla, “Kami ang nag-trabaho diyan. May share kami diyan (We were the ones who worked for that, so we have a share in that).”

According to the Inobangan residents, volunteering in Kalahi-CIDSS helped tie the community closer together.

Barangay Captain Wilma Abaygar, 41, said, “Ang Kalahi-CIDSS ay pakikipagtulungan, kapit-bisig (Kalahi-CIDSS is about helping, linking arms with each other).”

Barangay Inobangan proved that even a disaster as strong as ‘Yolanda’ will not be able to break their spirits as long as they work together as a community.

As Barangay Captain Wilma Abaygar said, “Dati, walang pakialam ang mga tao, lalo na para sa kabilang-barangay. Nagkaroon lang ng ganyan sa Kalahi-CIDSS (People did not care before, especially for other barangays. This only happened as a result of Kalahi-CIDSS).”

Community-driven

Kalahi-CIDSS is a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development.

KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP is the expansion into a national scale of operations of the CDD approach, which was tried and proven effective by Kalahi-CIDSS. It targets the coverage of 847 of the poorest municipalities in the country.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency created in 2004 to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals by helping countries promote economic growth. ###

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Social Protection Systems Help Mitigate Disaster and Climate Risk Countries can respond to natural disasters better and assist victims faster if robust social protection systems are in place— World Bank Group

MANILA, November 4, 2014 – The Government of the Philippines and the World Bank Group hosted the first regional conference to capture lessons on how countries could better respond to natural disasters through robust social protection systems. The event – which brought together experts and policy makers from 17 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia and the Pacific regions—concluded that linking social protection and disaster and climate risk management systems is prudent public policy that could lessen the impact of and build resilience to these risks.

“Countries in Asia and the Pacific region are amongst the most prone to disaster and climate risks – and these natural calamities have devastating impact on lives and livelihoods, especially for the poorest and the most vulnerable. However, worldwide experience shows that post-disaster recovery and resilience can be greatly helped if there are robust social protection systems in place,” said Arup Banerji, the World Bank Group’s Senior Director and Head of Global Practice, Social Protection and Labor. The World Bank Group is proud to co-host this conference with the Philippines’ lead social protection agency, the Department of Social Welfare and Development. We learned how the existing Pantawid Conditional Cash Transfer Program, which has become an integral part of the Philippines’ Social Protection Systems, helps the Government respond to victims of last year’s Typhoon Yolanda. With a delivery mechanism already in place, countries can target their post-disaster humanitarian efforts better and channel them faster.”   

Lessons from half a dozen countries around the globe highlight the merits of planning ahead and linking social protection and disaster and climate risk management systems. A better, more rapid and affordable system can help mitigate risk and respond quickly to disasters, thereby preventing increases in poverty, and protecting the government’s fiscal health.

Typhoon Yolanda was recorded to be among the strongest in history to ever make landfall, with over 8000 casualties and close to 200 severely affected municipalities in the Philippines. About 3 million households with almost 13.5 million family members were affected directly. Over a million houses were damaged or destroyed. The total damage and loss has been estimated at almost US$13 billion. The loss of jobs, livelihood, houses and productive assets immediately pushed about half a million households into poverty, while those that were already poor were pushed deeper into destitution.

Before Typhoon Yolanda struck, the Philippine Government had already put in place various social protection programs aimed at empowering the poor. But the typhoon was a gamechanger; it tested the resiliency of our people and stretched government disaster response system and social protection structures to the limit,” said Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, the Philippine Secretary of Social Welfare and Development. “In the first critical days after the disaster, it was the network of implementers of our Pantawid Conditional Cash Transfer Program and the leadership in municipalities that we were able to mobilize. The database of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction helped us in identifying families that could be enrolled for various rehabilitation programs, such as the cash-for-work and cash-for-asset rebuilding. From our experience with Yolanda, convergence with other programs is real and is a practice implemented at different levels.”

The experts highlighted the following issues in the 3-day workshop:

  • Social protection, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation share the common objectives of reducing risks, lessening the impacts of and building resilience to shocks. There are various tools and instruments available to prepare for and respond to disaster and climate risks, such as through public works programs and benefit transfers which can be adapted and scaled up to respond to disasters.
  • Disaster risk financing and insurance is a key component in building a country’s financial resilience to disaster. A country is financially resilient when its government and people can manage the financial impact of disaster and climate change risk without compromising sustainable development, fiscal stability, or the wellbeing of families and communities.
  • The scaling up of social protection systems will require technical infrastructure, such as the readiness of existing national identification systems, linkages between existing targeting systems and disaster response, data management systems for delivery of cash and kind benefits, and information technology tools to facilitate these processes.

The Philippines provides a rich experience for other countries facing similar challenges with disaster and climate risks. It is encouraging to see the Government’s commitment to this agenda and to continually improve its existing social protection systems by making it resilient to disaster, while ensuring that it responds rapidly to the consequences of disasters,” said Motoo Konishi, World Bank Country Director for the Philippines.To do this, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has converged its three flagship programs –conditional cash transfer, community driven development and livelihood support– to make them an effective tool in making households more resilient to disasters.”

Contacts:
In Manila:
Dave Llorito, +63-2-465-2500, dllorito@worldbank.org
Mohamad Al-Arief, +1-202-458-0119, malarief@worldbank.org

In Washington:
Mehreen Sheikh, +1-202-458-7336, msheikh1@worldbank.org

For more information about the World Bank Group in the Philippines, please visit:
www.worldbank.org/ph

To learn more about the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development, visit:
www.dswd.gov.ph

 

 

 

 

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