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DSWD’s P68-M ‘Ruby’ restoration project up in Borongan City

Pantawid Pamillyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries from Borongan City comprise the bulk of the DSWD restoration project in the area. They are seen here signing the attendance sheet before their actual work.

Pantawid Pamillyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries from Borongan City comprise the bulk of the DSWD restoration project in the area. They are seen here signing the attendance sheet before their actual work.

Some 17,547 individuals from the 61 barangays of Borongan City, Eastern Samar who were affected by Typhoon Ruby are expected to benefit from the Cash-for-Building-Livelihood Assets (CBLA) under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Initially, five barangays have started to implement the project – Barangays Sohotan, Bayubay, San Gabriel, Maybacong, and San Pablo.

CBLA is a strategy to help affected communities restore damaged physical and natural assets to rebuild their livelihoods.   

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that this initiative will help beneficiaries achieve a sense of normalcy in their daily lives as they have a source of income, though short-term, while the government prepares to implement more sustainable recovery and rehabilitation projects for them.

DSWD has allotted more than P68 million for CBLA implementation in the city.

Under the project, beneficiaries are engaged in the repair of small infrastructure facilities, dredging of canals, and in the clean-up of rivers.  They will be receiving P260 per day or a total of P3,900 for a maximum period of 15 days. 

On Monday, the city conducted the second community assembly to determine the next set of five barangays, which will be recipients of the CBLA and the activities that will be undertaken.

Eligible to participate in the program is any member of an affected family, a duly resident of the affected barangay, in good physical and mental condition, and at least 18 years old. 

Only one family member is allowed to be part of this income-generating venture.###

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A housewife’s journey towards improving her family’s life

Estrella takes the lead of managing a livelihood group in her barangay.

Estrella takes the lead in managing a livelihood group in her barangay.

With twenty pesos to budget for her four children for a few weeks at a time, 40-year-old Estrella Atienza never thought that she’ll finally taste a better life.

Estrella, a resident of Barangay Poblacion in San Francisco, Quezon, cannot forget the agony of not being able to provide food for her family.

She narrates how she would often go to her neighbors to ask for vegetables or look for shellfish in the nearby shore just so she can feed her children.

“Kapag kasi umaalis ang asawa ko para magtrabaho sa bundok, iniiwanan n’ya lang ako ng bente pesos. Pinagkakasya ko na lang ‘yun hanggang makabalik s’ya, minsan ilang linggo pa ang bibilangin bago pa s’ya bumalik (Every time my husband leaves to work in the mountains, he gives me P20 as our allowance until he gets back which takes some weeks),” Estrella shared.

Today, however, she is just glad that she has P300 to P500 to budget daily. This she owes to the various opportunities brought to her coupled with her determination, hard work, and commitment to get her children out of poverty.

Finding direction

Two years ago, Estrella vowed to send all her children to college.

Today, her eldest has just finished a degree in Agriculture. As a mother, she can never be any prouder.

Looking back at their situation, Estrella never thought that she will achieve this.

She found hope in 2008 when her family qualified to be a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households. It utilizes the conditional cash transfer scheme where qualified households receive grants, provided they comply with their co-responsibilities such as attendance of children aged 3-18 years old in school; regular health checkups for children aged 0-5 years or pregnant member of the household, and attendance to the monthly Family Development Sessions.

For a mother with only P20 to spare, the cash grants from the program have become a great help not only in putting food on the table but also in keeping her children healthy and in school all the time.

“Naniniwala ako na ang Pantawid [Pamilya] ay isang programa na nagbibigay pag-asa at tunay na tumutulong sa mga mahirap na pamilya katulad namin. Sa pamamagitan ng sarili naming pagsisikap at masinop at tamang paraan ng paggamit sa cash grants na natatanggap namin ay makakaahon din kami sa kahirapan. (I believe that Pantawid is a program which gives hope, and truly helps poor families like us. Because of our own determination, as well as using the cash grants we receive wisely, we can get out of poverty. We will not always depend on government’s help because we have learned a lot which we can use to improve our lives),” Estrella explained.

“Noon, dinadaan ko na lang sa dasal ang sakit ng mga anak ko kasi wala kaming pera. Pero ngayon, nabibilhan ko na sila ng vitamins at napapa-check-up pa. Hindi na rin namin problema ang baon nila at mga bayarin sa school (Before, when my children got sick, all I can do was to pray because we do not have money for medicines. But now, I can already afford to buy vitamins as well as their school needs),” she added.

Estrella learned not to rely on the program completely.

“Ayaw kong i-asa na lang ang lahat sa Pantawid Pamilya kaya naman nagsisikap talaga akong kumita ng pera (I am doing my best to also earn on my own because I do not want to completely rely on Pantawid Pamilya),” Estrella continued.

“Kaya ko ang pagbabago at pinagmamalaki ko ang pagbabago na nagawa ko sa tulong ng gobyerno (I can change for the better and I am proud of these changes I have achieved through the help of government), she enthused.

Positive changes

With her husband, she started an appliance buy-and-sell business through the P10,000 capital seed assistance provided by DSWD under the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

The SLP builds the capacities of beneficiaries of micro-enterprise development and provides them with zero-interest capital seed assistance to start their small businesses.

The program targets beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya like Estrella to enable them to improve their socio-economic status and stand on their own.

After a year, Estrella was able to pay her loan from the program and her buy-and-sell business has become a stable source of income for her family, especially in sending her children to college.

For Estrella, both the Pantawid Pamilya and SLP paved the way for her to change her family’s life. She added that she would like to share what she has learned to others, so they too may benefit.

Seeing one of her children having a college diploma only fuels her desire to move forward. She knows that with education, her children will have better opportunities to move forward in life.

Together with other SLP beneficiaries in their municipality who have a good track record in paying their previous loan, Estrella became a member of the Sagisag ng SEA-K Association.

The association was loaned P80,000 which is equivalent to P10,000 per member, through SLP’s Agricultural Development Sustainability Project.

The group used the capital in buying and selling ubi crops. They buy the crops, mostly from poor farmers who are also beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya and SLP, adding only 50-centavo profit per kilo.

The crops are later transported to Global Foods Solutions, a partner of the DSWD who buys all the products at a good price from the association.

They also lend ubi seedlings to poor farmers, who pay the association after the harvest.

“Bilang treasurer ng grupo, ako na rin ang tumatayong project manager. Mula sa P80,000 na capital, meron na kaming P140,000 sa loob lamang ng isang taon. Plano naming bumili ng mga kagamitan para makagawa kami ng harinang ubi para patuloy ang paglago ng aming samahan (I am the treasurer and project manager of our group.With our hard work we were able to increase our capital from P80,000 to P140,000. We plan to buy equipment to grind our ubi and expand our products),” shared Estrella.

With their goal of succeeding altogether as an association, each member does his / her part in the buying and selling business. In fact, even their spouses work to find possible sellers all across the locality.

“Kinakausap na rin namin ang mga ibang magsasaka dito sa aming lugar na makipagtulungan sa amin sa pamamagitan ng pagbenta ng kanilang ubi sa amin para lahat kami ay sabay-sabay makaahon ( We are now also involving the other farmers here in our place to  sell their ubi to us and move out of poverty, eventually),” she enthused.

For Estrella, she does not want anyone to experience living with only P20 to spare, especially her children. Hence, she is working hard today to involve her townmates  in endeavors that would help them change their lives just like what Pantawid Pamilya and SLP  offered her when she thought there’s no more hope. ###

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DSWD continues aid for ‘Seniang’ survivors

As part of its continuing assistance to survivors of Typhoon Seniang,  the Department  of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has already provided a total of 33,443 family food packs and 4,000 non-food items, as of January 8,  through the local government units (LGUs)  in the Visayas and in CARAGA.

In Central Visayas, DSWD has provided a total of 8,846 food packs and other food items such as water and biscuits.

Non-food items such as blankets, mats, and mosquito nets, among others, were also given to affected families in Cebu City, Tagbilaran City, and the towns of Alcantara, Barili, Dumanjug, Ronda, Bohol, Antequera, Cortes, Loay,  Loboc, Loon, Maribojoc, Pres. C.P. Garcia, and Siquijor.

All  evacuation centers in the region have been closed with the evacuees already back to their places of origin.

Aid for landslide victims

In Barangay Mercedes, Catbalogan City, Samar, where  21 persons died due to a landslide incident that occurred on December 30 following  a heavy downpour, DSWD provided each bereaved family with  P10,000 in cash assistance.

DSWD also gave P5,000 each to the eight individuals from the town who were injured due to “Seniang”.

Likewise, cash assistance was given to the injured and to the family of the lone fatality in Calubian town.

DSWD-Field Office VIII Assistant Regional Director Resty Macuto and Catbalogan City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan recently visited the Samar Provincial Hospital to check on the injured.

Emerita Mabag, 46, one of those injured expressed her gratitude to the Department and to the LGU for the help extended to her family.  Nine members of her family died as a van rammed into their house as a result of the landslide.

Mayor Tan said that she has discussed with DSWD and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) the evacuation of vulnerable families residing in the landslide prone area of Purok 5-A in Brgy. Mercedes.

Meanwhile, DSWD continues to coordinate with concerned LGUs and other national government agencies for the provision of other appropriate services to survivors of “Seniang” to ensure that they can already return to normalcy. ###

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‘Riding in tandem girl’ gives new meaning to the moniker, volunteers for DSWD program

Baiton gives updates to villagers regarding their KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP community  project implementation.

Baiton gives updates to villagers regarding their KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP community project implementation.

Isulan, Sultan Kudarat – The scorching heat of the sun blazes down from a cloudless sky in the middle of the day.

Baiton Uy, however, was undeterred, even as sweat freely flowed down her back as she patiently waited for hours by a ticket booth beside the dusky road just to get a free ride to town.

It is because of this that she earned several nicknames from her fellow residents. Some called her “Para Girl (The Girl Who Hails)”. Others dubbed her “Babae sa Ticket Booth (The Girl by the Ticket Booth)”. The most common name that she is known for, however, is “Riding in Tandem Girl”.

Despite these monikers, particularly the last one, Baiton is no criminal and is not engaged in any illegal activities.

On the contrary, her hitchhiking is prompted by her desire to serve her community as a volunteer of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP), one of the programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Hitch-hiking for a cause

KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP seeks to help alleviate poverty through the community-driven development (CDD) strategy, which puts power back in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions on locally identified options for development and manage resources to implement sub-projects that address needs identified by communities themselves.

The residents of Barangay Laguilayan, including Baiton, identified the construction of a day care center as their chosen sub-project which will be implemented through KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP.

As a CDD program, KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP provided the residents the opportunity to form groups that will work on their sub-project. Baiton, as one of the volunteers, became part of the Procurement Team.

As part of her responsibilities, Baiton was required to visit service providers and suppliers to canvass and follow up on the materials they needed to construct their day care center. Furthermore, she was also called to attend meetings together with other KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP volunteers.

Unfortunately, Baiton had a limited budget, so she had little money to spare for transportation to get to-and-fro Sitio Kamanga, a remote community 15 kilometers away from the town proper where she lives. However, she did not allow this problem to hinder her from performing her tasks. Instead of giving up, she decided to hitchhike from passing vehicles to bring her to the sitio.

“Lahat ng dumadaan na sasakyan pinapara ko para makiusap na pasakayin ako, makarating lang sa munisipyo (I hail passing vehicles to beg them to allow me to ride with them just so I can get to the municipality),” she said, the seriousness of her narration was softened by the smile on her face.

She was able to hitch a ride with different vehicles throughout the course of her volunteer work that she ended up having favorites.

“Kadalasan, ang paborito ko ay iyong mga malalaking trak na dumadaan dito na may dala-dalang mga bato at buhangin (My favorite ride is those heavy trucks carrying sand and gravel),” Baiton said, referring to the vehicles that bring said materials from the quarrying site at a neighboring village.

Other times, she found herself riding at the back of those motorcycles that come to their village to deliver bread and other products, and this led to her earning her “Riding in Tandem Girl” moniker.

Baiton simply laughed off this nickname.

She said, “Minsan, mapagkamalan din akong asawa ng nagde-deliver ng mga tinapay na masakyan ko (I am sometimes mistaken as the wife of the delivery men),” accompanied by peals of laughter.

The best gift for children

Baiton might poke fun at her situation, but her positive outlook belies the difficult situation that the children of Brgy. Laguilayan were faced with prior to the entry of KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP.

The village had no actual day care center to speak of. Pupils transferred from one venue to another, depending on the availability. The one that was used at the time Brgy. Laguilayan chose the implementation of a day care center through KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP was an old, dilapidated structure.

Parents constantly feared for the lives of their children, believing that the run-down building would collapse whenever strong winds blow.

As an elementary drop out, Baiton knew just how important education is. She considers this as the best gift that can be offered to children. She believes that the classroom is the heart of any educational system, as the physical structure can make or mar the learning environment, thereby affecting the quality of education as well.

“Nakita ko na mahirap talaga kapag walang maayos na classroom ang aming mga bata (I saw just how difficult it is for the children if they do not have a decent classroom),” Baiton said.

This, and seeing the difficulty experienced by the day care pupils, prompted Baiton to serve as a KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP volunteer.

Time as the only available resource

Baiton candidly said that she had not much to offer in terms of knowledge and resources, which is why she said she offered her time instead.

That is not to say that she had a lot of time to spare. She has to care for a baby and has to find ways of feeding her family.  Not a small feat, indeed, considering that her husband is only a seasonal laborer and their household is one of the poorest in the village.

She is also a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program Parent Leader. Her family receives P2,000 a month, which she uses to ensure that her school-aged children remain in school and that their health needs are met.

She says that the conditional cash transfer has been a big help in the program, given just how poor some of the families are in the village.

The efforts paid off

Baiton and the other KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP volunteers’ hard work paid off.

Today, the newly constructed day care center, bursting with fresh colors, complete with learning equipment, and most importantly, safe and conducive for learning, stands as a symbol of sacrifice, of unity, and of pride of Baiton and the rest of the volunteers.

Baiton just smiles every time she remembers her experiences as a volunteer, especially when she reminisces her time as “Riding in Tandem Girl”, because what was initially a source of shame for her became something that she was proud of.

“Noong una nahihiya ako pero noong kalaunan na nalaman nila ang pagiging volunteer ko, natutuwa sila (At first I was ashamed, when the people found out about my role as a volunteer, they were inspired),” Baiton said with a smile.

Baiton now embraces the “Riding in Tandem Girl” nickname.

According to her, the driver is the community and she is at the back, providing support as a volunteer who is gunning for change and development, and one who is selflessly rendering services for the betterment of other lives without expecting anything in return.

Baiton’s riding in tandem stunt may not be a crime, but even if it were, it seems that she would still choose to do this again and again for the sake of her community.###

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Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries trained for BPO employment

Some 200 beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program from the province of Batangas recently underwent a 14-day free call center training to prepare them for possible employment in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

The training was conducted through the Training for Work Scholarship program of AMA Computer Learning Center (CLC), Inc.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman  said that the undertaking is part of the overall initiative of the Department to provide opportunities for poor families to earn regularly and support their respective needs.

“We continue to partner with various sectors in providing livelihood support and employment opportunities to Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries to help them achieve self-sufficiency especially after the program,” Sec. Soliman added.

Those who trained were 18 years old and above and at least high school  graduate.

The training was conducted in nine clusters in selected areas in the province with participants coming from Nasugbu, Calaca, Lemery, Cuenca, Batangas City, Lipa City, and Tanauan City.

After the training, the AMA-CLC will endorse graduates to their partner-BPO companies.

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households. It utilizes the conditional cash transfer scheme where qualified households receive grants provided they comply with their co-responsibilities such as attendance of children aged 3-18 years old in school; regular health check-ups for children aged 0-5 years or pregnant member of the household, and attendance to the monthly Family Development Sessions.

As of December 2014,  the program covers 4.4 million households in the 17 regions of the country. ###

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DSWD program helps out-of-school youth pedal his way to success

Yves fills up an application form for an automotive job.

Yves fills up an application form for an automotive job.

At 3:30 am, while most teenagers are still fast asleep, a teenaged boy is already up and about preparing for yet another day to get closer to his dreams.

With just a small lamp to illuminate his surroundings, Yves Florence Rembon, 17, tested the gears of his bicycle that he would use to travel along the rough and bumpy roads of Barangay Sampiruhan in Calamba City, Laguna to sell pandesal.

As he pedals on the road, he hopes that he would be able to sell his bread. He earns P20 for every 100 pieces of pandesal that he sold.

Come afternoon, he is on the streets again, this time selling merienda in the neighborhood.

Despite the time and effort he devotes to his two jobs, Yves does not take these as  burden but rather as opportunities.

His mother, a plain housewife, and his father, a jeep dispatcher, cannot support his college education.

“Mula noong nalaman kong hindi ako makakapag-aral ng college, naisipan ko na lang maglako ng pandesal at merienda. Ayoko rin kasing maging pabigat sa magulang  ko. Mas gugustuhin ko pang mag-sariling sikap para makaipon ng pang-aral ko sa college (Ever since I found out that I would not be able to get to college, I decided to sell pandesal and snacks. I do not want to be a burden to my parents. I would rather work on my own so I can earn money to support my education),”  Yves said.

Unexpected opportunity

One of Yves’ neighbors, Lucila Carpio or Tita Lot, as she is fondly called, noticed his eagerness to study.

“Matalinong bata itong si Yves. Scholar nga siya noong high school. Kaya noong sinabing magkakaroon ng librengvocational trainings ang Kalahi-CIDSS sa aming lugar, siya agad ang naisip ko kasi alam kong gustong gusto niyang makapag-aral  (Yves is a smart boy. He was a scholar when he was in high school. That was why when vocational trainings were offered through Kalahi-CIDSS in our area, I thought of him immediately because of his desire to study),” Tita Lot shared.

Tita Lot is a volunteer of Japan Social Development Fund-Livelihood for Vulnerable Urban Communities (JSDF-LVUC) Project under the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the main poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Kalahi-CIDSS was a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD), a strategy that puts power back in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions on locally identified options for development and manage resources to implement sub-projects that address needs identified by communities themselves.

Kalahi-CIDSS has since been scaled up into the National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP), which targets 847 of the poorest municipalities in the country.

Primarily reaching rural poor communities, the program began its urban CDD pilot in 2012 through a US$3 million grant from the JSDF-LVUC.

The grant is intended to help support the urban poor through the provision of livelihood trainings, as well as in infrastructure sub-projects that would address the most pressing needs of targeted communities.

Brgy. Sampiruhan in Calamba City, Laguna was one of the 69 communities included in the urban CDD rollout through the partnership between KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP and JSDF-LVUC.

Through the project, unemployed individuals, most of whom are out-of-school youths, are provided trainings on mechanical, electrical, and technical services as well as dressmaking, beauty care, housekeeping, and food and beverage services.

Through the JSDF-LVUC, Yves was able to take up Automotive Servicing because of his fascination and interest in cars. It was through the course, which ran from March 13 to June 13, 2014, that he learned car overhauling, under chassis repairs, and power steering.

“Tinuruan pa nga po pala kami ng basic driving. Nakakatuwa kasi na-experience ko na agad mag-drive kahit bata pa lang ako (They even taught us basic driving. It was nice because I got to experience how to drive even if I am still young),” Yves shared.

The vocational training was given by Don Bosco College-Canlubang, one of the partner- schools of Kalahi-CIDSS.

Being a Catholic school, the trainees attended additional classes on Christian living and personality development. Yves shared that through these, he learned good manners and proper communication with people. He was also trained on how to present himself well and talk confidently in front of a crowd.

“Palagi nga po akong napapakiusapan na magsalita tungkol sa experiences ko. Nasanay na rin po ako at hindi na nahihiya. Dahil sa mga natutunan ko, nagkaroon ako ng sapat na self-confidence (They always ask me to speak about my experiences. I grew used to it so I am no longer shy about speaking. I have gained self-confidence because of what I learned),” Yves proudly narrated.

Driving toward his dreams

After three months of training, Yves is now a graduate of Automotive Servicing vocational training.

He attended the DSWD job matching fair at Biñan City, Laguna where he submitted his application. He was accepted by one of the leading automotive companies. He started working on August 2014.

Yves shared that with his new job, he is able to apply what he learned from the training given by DSWD.

He said that he has started saving up for his sibling’s college education.

His brother, nine-year-old Mark Lester, a Grade 3 student, is a scholar at the same school where he graduated high school.

“Ayoko po na tumigil ang kapatid ko sa pag-aaral tulad ng nangyari sa akin (I do not want my sibling to stop schooling like what happened with me),” he said.

“Kaya ngayon pa lang ay pag-iipunan ko na ang pang-college niya (That is why as early as now, I am saving up for his college education),” he continued.

Yves, too, has not given up on his dreams for himself.

He said, “Kung kakayanin, pag-iipunan ko rin po ang pang-college ko para makapag-aral pa rin ako ng four o five year course (If I can, I will also save up for my college education so I can take up a four- or five-year course),” he said.

He shared that he wants to be a mechanical engineer in the future.

For Yves, one should always have a clear positive outlook in life to make dreams come true. He held on and believed in the importance of education and how it can change his life, and he used this as a motivation to see that his ambitions transform into reality.

Yves firmly said, “Masaya ako at nabigyan ako ng ganitong pagkakataon dahil naniniwala ako na ang edukasyon at kaalaman ay hinding-hindi mananakaw sa atin kailanman (I am happy that I was given this opportunity because I believe that education and knowledge can never be taken away from us).” ###

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Poetry stirs interest of villagers to participate in DSWD’s anti-poverty program

Rustico Mallosa at their completed road pro ... Najandig, Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental

Rustico Mallosa at their completed road project in Najandig, Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental

Kaingon ko ba ang panahon way kapakyasan,
Abi ko ba nga ang adlaw ray musalop ug unya musubang;
Ingon man diay niini ang ugma dali rang makalimot,
Mga saad ug panumpa gihabulan sa imong kamot.

(I thought time does not fail,
That only the sun sets and then rises;
But love is like this—it easily forgets,
Promises and oaths are clothed by your hands.)

Rustico Mallosa, the barangay councilor of many verses, recites as he sits outside the barangay hall in the boondocks of Zamboanguita in Negros Oriental while a kundiman (a genre of Filipino love songs) plays in the background.

This was not the first time that Rustico used poetry. In fact, he is known for reciting balak, or Bisaya poetry. In their farming village in Barangay Najandig, Rustico uses his poetic words to catch people’s attention and lobby for community participation.

It was partly through this that he was able to inspire people to join Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in order to get his fellow residents to help the program teach them to help themselves.

Kalahi-CIDSS is a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD), an approach that puts power back in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions on locally identified options for development and manage resources to implement sub-projects that address needs identified by communities themselves. It has since been scaled up into the KALAHI CIDSS-National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP).

As a community, the residents of Brgy. Najandig chose the construction of a small road that will lead from their village to the Zamboanguita town proper. Their reason for picking this was simple: owing to the difficult and uneven terrain, with several large rocks along the path, only horses or people going on foot could pass through there. When it rains, the road becomes even more treacherous, as it becomes wet and slippery, making it more likely for travelers to get involved in accidents.

Knowing just how important it was for the road to be improved, Rustico actively promoted Kalahi-CIDSS in their community, and he encouraged the residents, usually by way of using the balak, to participate in the program’s activities in their barangay.

“Gipaspasan gyud namo ang MOA sa barangay aron ang mga proyekto malampuson. (We expedited the processing of Memorandum of Agreement [MOA] in the village to make the project a success),” Rustico said.

He was also one of those who pushed that a large part of the barangay’s money from the Municipal Development Council be used to increase the funding for the road project implementation before.

Rustico’s motivation was simple: as an elected official, he believed it was his duty to help his fellow villagers.

“Isip usa ka konsehal, maningkamot gyud ko nga matabangan ang mga katawhan sa barangay. Kaniadto, mahadlok ko mohatod og pasyente sa lungsod pinaagi sa akong motorsiklo. Karon makatabang na ko kay makahatod na ko dayon tungod sa mas maayo nga dalan (As a councilor, I strive to help the village constituents. Before, I have apprehensions in bringing the sick to town with my motorcycle because the road is very dangerous. Now, I can already help them get medical attention because the road to town is better),” Rustico proudly said, explaining that motorcycles can now traverse the road, allowing faster, easier access to and from Brgy. Najandig.

Furthermore, the farmers can now bring more goods to the market, allowing them to earn more, unlike in the past wherein they only could bring one sack at a time because they had to carry their products on foot.

The village’s appreciation of their new road is such that they are taking the steps necessary to ensure that it is taken care of. The maintenance of the completed road is always given time in the council’s barangay development meeting. Part of the council’s proposal is to impose a toll fee to big trucks that pass by the road.

Of course, it seemed only appropriate for Rustico to use the balak as a medium to express his appreciation for Kalahi-CIDSS, even as he used it to encourage the participation of people.

“Si Rustico Mallosa iyang ipaabot ang mga mihuras nga proyekto nahatag sa Kalahi-CIDSS pinaagi sa balak aron madungog sa tagtungod ug sa katawhan ang dako niyang kalipay sa maong proyekto sa Kalahi-CIDSS nga proseso (Rustico Mallosa uses poetry to demonstrate the improvements given by Kalahi-CIDSS so that those in the program and the public may know of his happiness in Kalahi-CIDSS’ process),” Glenda Gajelloma, a Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer describes.

Rustico was quick to explain what he appreciated about the DSWD program.

“Kung wala pa ang Kalahi-CIDSS, wala siguro mi paglaum nga mobarog pa. Among damgo nga makaabot og luwas ug mas dali sa lungsod dili gyud unta namo makita (If not for Kalahi-CIDSS, we may not have hope to improve. We wouldn’t see our dream of reaching town safe and fast),” Rustico said with a smile.

The arrival of Kalahi-CIDSS in their community is such that Rustico and the other local officials and residents have become encouraged to explore more options in pursuing their village’s development.

“Tungod sa Kalahi-CIDSS kami sa konseho nadani usab nga mas mo-implementar og lain pang mga proyekto para sa among barangay (Because of Kalahi-CIDSS, we in the council are also encouraged to implement other projects for the village),” Rustico said.

For example, Rustico, together with the rest of the barangay council and the Zamboanguita local government unit, invited Tubig Pilipinas, Inc., a non-government organization, to conduct a feasibility study to enable them to have a better water system in the future.

Through the efforts of the residents and local government of Brgy. Najandig and in partnership with Kalahi-CIDSS, the village may very well be on the path of progress, which while not as dramatic as Rustico’s beloved balak andkundiman, can still lead to changed lives in the community.###

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‘Seniang’ evacuees start to return home

 DSWD-Field Office 7 staff wait for the unloading of relief goods from the C-130

DSWD Field Office VII staff wait for the unloading of relief goods from the C-130

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to provide the needed relief assistance to survivors of Typhoon Seniang through the local government units (LGU).

In CARAGA region, the DSWD Field Office there has already provided 18,475 family food packs worth P7.7 million as augmentation assistance to Agusan del Norte (9,200 food packs),  Agusan del Sur (3,375),  Surigao del Sur (5,400),  and Surigao del Norte with (500).

In Central Visayas, DSWD Field Office VII has distributed close to 3,000 family food packs to the towns of Barili (1,917) and Dumanjug (1,000) as of December 30.

DSWD Central Office also sent 1,000 family food packs, some 1,000 pieces of mosquito nets, and 2,000 pieces of malong/blanket to Bohol via C-130 of the Philippine Air Force yesterday.

As of yesterday, some 268 evacuation centers in the affected regions remain open down from 648 at the height of the typhoon.  Some 24,477 families or 97,883 persons are still housed in these temporary shelters.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano- Soliman said that a large number of evacuees have started to go home as the weather improved.

The Secretary thanked social workers and volunteers who managed the evacuation centers even during the New Year celebration.

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