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Response and Early Recovery Updates: Typhoon Yolanda

(Discussed during today’s Presscon of Secretary Soliman at the National Resource Operations Center)

 

On November 08, 2013, super Typhoon Yolanda caused massive destruction in six regions, namely Regon IV-B, V, VI, VII, VIII and CARAGA affecting almost 1.47 million families or 7.1 million persons. Of the total affected, 918,261 families composed of 4,374,649 persons were displaced.

The overall reported damaged houses by the super typhoon Yolanda totalled to 1,012,790 houses, with 518,878 houses totally damaged and 493,912 houses partially damaged.

The Department provides continuing relief assistance to the Yolanda survivors, with a total of 6.83 million food packs with 3-kg and 6-kg rice have been distributed to the affected regions with the breakdown as follows:  24,496 food packs to Region IV-B; 60,368 food packs distributed to Region V; 687,892 packs in Region VI; 147,477 food packs in Region VII; 5,905,537 food packs in Region VIII; and 5,285 food packs for CARAGA survivors.

On 16 December 2013, DSWD transitioned to providing 25kg of rice from 3kg and 6kg.  A total of 551,365 food packs with equivalent 25kg of rice were distributed in affected municipalities and cities in Region VIII.

DSWD oversees the transfer of displaced families to transitional shelters or bunkhouses constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways.  As of April 2, 2014, a total of 3,187 families in Region VIII who were temporarily living in tents and makeshift houses in “no-build-zones” transferred to 245 completed bunkhouses in Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Western Samar.

In Region VI, a total of 118 families already transferred to 20 completed bunkhouses as of April 02, 2014.  These bunkhouses are located in Estancia and Concepcion, Iloilo.

DSWD also provides core shelter units/modified shelter assistance to Yolanda survivors in region VIII.  Some 426 core shelter units amounting to P23.28 million will be constructed in San Ricardo (77 units), Basey (40), Calubian (39), Tacloban City (200), and Matag-ob (70).  Of these, 167 have been completed and occupied.

The Department also facilitated the provision of emergency shelter kits to 7,615 households from the municipalities of Tanauan and Palo, Leyte and Guiuan, Eastern Samar, which consist of CGI sheets, umbrella and crown nails, hammer and a handsaw.

As part of its early relief operations, the Department implemented the cash for work (and food for work) program in Region VIII from November 09, 2013 to March 2014 which benefited almost 7,367 household heads amounting to P2,534,431.  Tasks given under the program were loading/unloading of goods, repacking of relief goods, food preparation, sorting and inventory of damaged property, clearing of debris, coastal clean-up, canal dredging and communal garden, among others.

The Department also started to transition the cash for work activities from support to relief operations to rebuilding of livelihood assets under the Cash for Work for Livelihood Assets Rebuilding.  Under the Cash for Work for Livelihood Assets, a total of 165,435 household heads in Regions IV-MIMAROPA, VII and VIII amounting to P438,545,400.  Of the total beneficiaries, 60,530 are from Region VIII.

The program is currently being implemented which is initially benefiting 69,806 household heads amounting to P192,347,770, while the rest is for implementation.

The Department also conducted a validation/identification of the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in the typhoon affected areas in Region VIII which aims to locate Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries affected by the typhoon.

For the validated beneficiaries, the Pantawid Pamilya National Advisory Committee approved the decision to declare the beneficiaries compliant to the conditionalities and will receive the full amount.  The DSWD 4Ps Team are currently processing the inclusion of additional 20,000 households which will be enrolled in the program for the Set 7 (2014) expansion.

Further, the World Food Programme (WFP) gave cash grants to 128,902 Pantawid Pamilya households affected by Yolanda in Region VIII amounting to P167,572,600 at P1,300/household a month for two months.

Following the initiative of the World Food Program, DSWD, together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will be providing cash grants amounting to $6million to households affected by Yolanda through the NGO Action Contre La Faim as implementing organization.  Each household-beneficiary will receive $100 or around P4,300/monthly for six months.

Under the Kalahi-CIDSS program which employs the community-driven development approach, developmental infrastructures are being constructed, which would help rebuild Yolanda-stricken areas.  To date, there are 331 on-going sub-projects in Regions IV-B, V, VI, VII and VIII amounting to P553,745,511.24.

The projects are as follows: 85 road projects (construction/improvement/concreting); 61 foot path/access trails; 53 school buildings; 37 seawall/flood control/drainage/riprap/spillway; 35 water systems; 20 health stations; 16 day care centers; 10 bridges; 5 sanitary toilets; 3 post-harvest facilities; and 6 other projects like multi-purpose building, miniport and solid waste management.

Also, a footpath/foot rail was recently completed in Negros Occidental amounting to P215,801. ###

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Response and Early Recovery Updates: Bohol Earthquake

(Discussed during today’s Presscon of Secretary Soliman at the National Resource Operations Center)

 

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake occurred on October 15, 2013 devastating Western and Eastern Visayas and affecting a total of 671,099 families with 3.2 million persons.

A total of 42,771 homes were destroyed in 17 hardest hit municipalities in Bohol, with 8,083 totally and 34,688 partially damaged.  These municipalities include: Antequera, Balilihan, Buenavista, Calape, Carmen, Catigbian, Clarin, Corella, Cortes, Danao, Inabanga, Loon, Maribojoc, Sagbayan, San Isidro, Sevilla and Tubigon.

Of this number, 95,884 families with 465,146 persons were displaced, 78,229 homes were destroyed with 15,932 (20%) totally and 62,296 (80%) partially damaged.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), together with international and local humanitarian organizations, NGOs and the affected local government units (LGUS) immediately conducted disaster and relief operations to help the affected and displaced populace.

These include continuing food support with some 158,671 food packs with 20-kilograms rice each, and 191,825 with 3 and 6 -kilograms of rice each  distributed to the 17 hardest-hit unicipalities to date.

Livelihood support in the form of Cash-for-Work (CFW) was also provided to the earthquake survivors. All the 17 hardest hit municipalities were given Cash- for- Work (CFW) program.

The CFW program is part of DSWD’s early recovery efforts so the families affected by disasters will soon return to normal life.  It is the provision of cash to disaster victims in exchange for their services or involvement in the rehabilitation efforts in the communities. The beneficiaries are paid the prevailing minimum wage in the region.

The total number of CFW beneficiaries in Bohol Province reached 7,403. DSWD has released the amount of P21,199,194 to fund the CFW program.

The beneficiaries engaged clearing of debris, construction of damaged houses, house repair and house rebuilding, repair of community facilities, such as LGU offices and public markets/barangay halls,  flea market, municipal nursery and repair of day care centers, gyms and schools,  rehabilitation of roads, water system and dredging of canals,  agricultural rehabilitation and production, and  amakan making.

An additional 1,665 CFW beneficiaries  work  in stevedoring/hauling and repacking in the warehouse in Tagbilaran City; and  carpentry works in the temporary shelter/tents in Calape, Cortes, and Loon.

The health and nutrition of children in disaster areas are also addressed through the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP). To date, a total of 12,251 children in the 17 municipalities benefited from the SFP.

The Core Shelter Assistance Project (CSAP) provides environment-friendly, structurally strong shelter units built onsite that can withstand up to 220-kph wind velocity, at least intensity 4 earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The DSWD, Habitat for Humanity and local chief executives of the 17 hardest hit municipalities signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on February 9, 2014. The MOA stipulates that more than 8,083 core shelters will be built for beneficiaries whose houses were totally damaged.

Costing P88,000, each unit is made of locally available materials to revitalize local economy.

DSWD will shoulder P70,000 while Habitat will share P18,000 as counterpart for each unit which may be in the form of cash, labor, volunteers, facilities and equipment, administrative cost, and social services such as medical missions and feeding programs.

DSWD has allocated the amount of P565,810,000.00 for CSAP.

A check was turned over to the Habitat for Humanity on April 1, 2014 to start building the cores shelters targeted to be completed within a period of one year.

DSWD also implements the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), which is the provision of cash or housing materials for the repair of partially damaged houses as a result of a disaster.

A total of 34,688 beneficiaries in the 17 municipalities are recipients of ESA. To date, total amount downloaded to LGUs reached P346,880,000.

Each family beneficiary will receive shelter kits worth P10,000 and can choose from three construction kit options, namely; Timber Kit with Amakan (woven bamboo wall),  Masonry Kit, and  Galvanized Iron Roof/Repair Kit.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman assured the victims that the Department and its partners will continue to assist them. ###

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Response and Early Recovery Updates: Zamboanga Armed Conflict

(Discussed during today’s Presscon of Secretary Soliman at the National Resource Operations Center)

 

The Zamboanga armed conflict between government troops and the Moro National Liberation Front-Misuari faction on September 9, 2013 affected and displaced 23,794 families or 118,819 persons.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is currently managing three (3) camps located in Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex, Cawa-Cawa, and Zamboanga City East Elementary School. To date, there are still 3,806 families composed of 20,038 persons staying in seven evacuation centers.

With concerted efforts of national government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations (NGOs) and international partners, immediate relief assistance and interventions were provided to affected families.

DSWD has put up an endowment fund of PhP500,000 in Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) to address the medical needs of the IDPs.

A Health Center is being maintained at the Grandstand complete with medical personnel and ambulance to assist the families of IDPs.  Distribution of medicines and medical supplies is regularly being done here.  IDPs are mobilized in cleaning the evacuation centers, drainage, and nearby barangays.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Emergency Unit at the Grandstand is operating 24/7 while the International Organization for Migration (IOM) deployed five nurses to assist in health promotion and monitoring cases of malnutrition.

A tent-to-tent medical outreach program is being conducted by the City Health Office (CHO) to the IDPs along the Cawa-Cawa shoreline.

Some volunteers from Muslim organizations will also hold a series of hygiene promotion sessions.

Meanwhile, the DSWD in collaboration with PRC, IOM, CHO, and World Health Organization (WHO) will conduct Basic First Aid training to camp managers and IDP Health Committees.

Mass prophylaxis will be provided to individuals exposed to leptospirosis.

Some 1,450 Insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets (ITNs) were provided by DOH and Office of Civil Defense in evacuation centers in Tulungatong, Grandstand, and Rio Hondo.   Also, Pilipinas Shell Malaria Foundation will donate 10,000 sets of ITNs for distribution to other evacuation centers.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has committed to rehabilitate Rio Hondo and Santa Catalina barangay health stations.

On skills training, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) provided training on mat weaving, bracelet making, and haircutting to evacuees.

Along women and child protection, Women and Child-Friendly Spaces were established in evacuation centers. The Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) and Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Network (CAPIN) are assisting DSWD on this.

An Information campaign on human trafficking and gender-based violence are being conducted at the Grandstand.

To ensure that children will not be traumatized by their experience in the armed conflict, psychosocial services for children are being provided in evacuation centers.

The Community Family Services International (CFSI) has donated early childhood care and development materials to six day care centers.

Special Family Development Sessions (SFDS) are regularly conducted in evacuation centers. The evacuees from the Grandstand have completed the 1st and 2nd modules of the FDS.

Some 1,208 families composed of 6,508 persons transferred in bunkhouses located in five existing transitional sites, namely: Grandstand bunkhouses, Tulungatong, Taluksangay, Rio Hondo and Philippine Tuberculosis Society Inc., Upper Calarian, Zamboanga City.

DSWD and IOM are targeting the construction of five additional bunkhouses with a total of 60 rooms at Tulungatung and  30 single detached recovery shelters,  adjacent to the permanent shelters to be constructed in Paniran. The target 171 families for permanent shelters will be coming from the Grandstand. While waiting for their permanent shelters to be completed, they will be housed in these single detached recovery shelters.

Temporary transitional houses in Mampang and Arena Blanco for Sama-Bajaus will be constructed starting this week in partnership with IOM. They target to accomplish 20 bunkhouses of 12 rooms each and the first movement of IDPs is scheduled on April 15, 2014.

The National Housing Authority (NHA) has started survey works in government-owned sites for permanent shelters.  NHA and the LGU are finalizing the acquisition of privately-owned sites for permanent shelters and conducting consultations with affected families regarding house designs.

Under the Zamboanga Roadmap for Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R), construction of permanent shelters will start on April 2014. After 19 months, all permanent shelters will be completed.

DSWD is currently assessing qualified families for the Sustainable Livelihood Program.                  Some 80 families will initially benefit from DSWD’s livelihood assistance amounting to PhP570,000.00. The beneficiaries will come from Rio Hondo (30 beneficiaries), Kasanyangan (30 beneficiaries) and Sta. Barbara (20 beneficiaries).

Muslim Christian Agency for Advocacy Relief and Development (MUCAARD), a non-government organization also provided PhP2.1M for emergency livelihood (seed capital and in-kind material for net and fishing gear and for setting up of sari-sari stores to be given to 500 family-beneficiaries).

Forty-nine (49) beneficiaries from the Grandstand and Tulungatung were also provided assistance for business ventures given by Katilingban Para Sa Kauswagan, a non-government organization, at PhP2,500 per beneficiary.

Through the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) of the LGU, emergency employment were given to the IDPs amounting to PhP1,602,000 with funding support from International Labor Organization (ILO) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The Cash-for-Work program was implemented early on in September 2013. Activities implemented include latrine construction, assistance in camp management, peacekeeping in evacuation centers, and repacking, handling and hauling of relief goods.

A total of five hundred sixty-seven 567 people benefited from the program. DSWD’s assistance under the CFW program totalled to PhP5,098,500.00.

The Supplementary Feeding is also being implemented to ensure that children in evacuation centers and transitional sites are well nourished. A total of 849 children from 8 evacuation centers benefitted from Supplementary Feeding from November to date. ###

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Typhoon Yolanda, a ‘game changer’ in poverty alleviation strategies – DSWD official

DSWD Assistant Secretary Camilo Gudmalin discusses NCDDP with the members of the NIAPIT, which is composed of officials of various national government agencies

DSWD Assistant Secretary Camilo Gudmalin discusses NCDDP with the members of the NIAPIT, which is composed of officials of various national government agencies

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Secretary Camilo Gudmalin said that the impact of Typhoon Yolanda in the country changed the way the government views poverty alleviation and local development.

Addressing government officials who are members of the National Interagency Preparation and Implementation Team (NIAPIT) for the DSWD’s National Community-Driven Development Program (NCDDP) during a recent meeting,  Asec. Gudmalin described ‘Yolanda’ as a “game changer”.

He said that stronger disasters are likely to hit the country again because of climate change, a state which DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman refers to as the “new normal”.

The NCDDP is the scaling up of the operations of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the core programs of the DSWD.

Originally designed to target poor communities all over the country, the design and coverage of the NCDDP has since been changed to also provide support to the municipalities that were affected by ‘Yolanda’.

Aside from its coverage, in which 554 of its 847 target municipalities are ‘Yolanda’-affected, the design of the NCDDP was also modified to integrate disaster response operations procedures.

Asec. Gudmalin said that responding to the issues of poverty and disaster response, recovery, and rehabilitation requires the strengthening of the overall government approach in order to build resiliency of vulnerable communities.

He emphasized that disaster recovery and rehabilitation initiatives are not solely the government’s responsibility, but should also involve the citizens.

“Central to rehabilitation is the voice of the people because they know what they really need,” he said.

He added, “We need to ask the people and get them to participate in the rehabilitation after ‘Yolanda’.

 He said that NCDDP provides a good opportunity for this.

 Infrastructures

NCDDP uses the community-driven development (CDD) strategy, a development approach that focuses on empowering and building up the capacities of citizens and local government.

Similar to Kalahi-CIDSS, NCDDP will provide trainings and community grants to villages in order to enable them to identify and implement sub-projects that will address their community’s needs.

In most instances, this comes in the form of small-scale infrastructures such as footpaths, school buildings, health stations, day care centers, sea walls, drainage systems, and soil erosion sub-projects.

Under the NCDDP, communities can also propose sub-projects that will address repairs of damaged structures and shelter assistance for ‘Yolanda’-affected areas.

However, Asec. Gudmalin emphasized that the infrastructures are only one aspect of what the NCDDP offers to communities.

By capacitating the people with skills and mobilizing them to work together as a community, the program will empower them, which will then help them make their local governments more accountable, move toward development, and become more resilient against disasters.

He said, “NCDDP will not only be building infrastructures, it will also be building resiliency.”

“It will be positioned as one of the major programs of the government to rehabilitate ‘Yolanda’-affected areas,” he concluded.

 The NCDDP is targeted for launching on May this year.###

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DSWD is Most Outstanding Gender-Responsive Agency

DSWD Usec. Villar receives the plaque and check from PCW Executive Director Emmeline Versoza and Chairperson Remedios Rikken. Also in photo is DSWD Director Gemma B. Gabuya.

DSWD Usec. Villar (second from right) receives the plaque and check from PCW Executive Director Emmeline Versoza (left) and Chairperson Remedios Rikken (second  from left). Also in photo is DSWD Director Gemma B. Gabuya (right).

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) received a GADtimpala Bronze Award as Most Outstanding Gender-Responsive Agency from the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).

DSWD Undersecretary Florita R. Villar, the Department’s Gender and Development (GAD) focal person, received the award and the cash prize of P25,000 in behalf of the Department during the awarding ceremony on March 28.

In her acceptance message, Usec. Villar thanked the PCW for recognizing the efforts of the DSWD in empowering and upholding the rights of the women sector.

She added, “DSWD will continue to improve its GAD efforts and hopes that next year, the Department will get the GADtimpala Silver or Gold Award.”

Over the years, DSWD has incorporated gender and development aspects in its core programs namely the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), and Sustainable Livelihood Program.

As part of the program implementation, these core programs formulated their GAD plans to ensure that women-beneficiaries are capacitated and provided with the opportunity to participate in leadership action and in decision-making opportunities within their communities.

Likewise, topics such as gender equality, women empowerment among others, are incorporated into the Family Development Sessions of Pantawid Pamilya.

The GADtimpala Award is given to the most outstanding gender-responsive national government agency in recognition of its outstanding achievement in the effective implementation of gender-responsive programs.

For this year, DSWD and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) were the only two government agencies which received the recognition.

The awarding ceremony is part of the 2014 Women’s Month Celebration with the theme “Juana, ang Tatag mo ay Tatag Natin sa Pagbangon at Pagsulong”. ###

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Housewife earns first million despite disability

Fe Caraza manning her food stall.

Fe Caraza manning her food stall.

Naga City, Camarines Sur -  Every one of us encounters hardships in our lives, but when someone with disability is able to overcome all the adversities and still finds optimism,  it becomes a piece of good news.

Such is the case of Fe Caraza of Barangay Panicuason, this city, who earned her first million despite her disability. It took her a lot of commitment and a completely ‘no-fear’ attitude to achieve success.

Fe’s turning point came when she focused  on selling nutritious food like soya bread, milk, carrot juice, veggie meat, tokwa, and malungay polvoron.

“Salamat sa Diyos, kung ano ako ngayon ay dahil sa tiyaga lang po (Thanks to God, what I have now is through my perseverance),” she proudly said.

The disabilities she faced

Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy task, but Fe has managed to make her business successful despite her condition.

“Nagkaroon po ako ng acute psychiatric nerve injury, pero tinanggap ko yun, hindi ko ginawang hadlang ang kapansanan ko. Naisip kong magtrabaho kesa sa walang ginagawa. Kaya naman nagsimula ako na magtinda ng mga gulay para kumita (I had an acute psychiatric nerve injury but I accepted it and did not allow this to hamper my productivity. I thought of working rather than doing nothing. So, I started selling vegetables to earn),” she said.

After a few years, Fe was engrossed in earning more money to grow her business.

With that, she failed to find time for her family.

“Nabuntis ng asawa ko ang katulong namin sa bahay. Galit na galit ako, pero inataman ko su aki ninda halos duwang taon ta kairak man, wara man kasalan su aki (My husband got our helper pregnant. I was so mad but I took care of their child for almost two years because I pitied the child. He has nothing to do with their sin),” she stated.

Fe and her husband eventually separated.  Fe was left alone to take care of her four children.

“Nagdadasal ako kasi yung mga anak ko malungkot sila. Pero maganda din na mag-isa lang ako, dahil nalalaman ko yung kakayanan ko. Mas maraming oras ko na nayayakap mga anak ko at nasasabihan ko sila ng problema (I keep praying because my children are sad. But, it’s also good that Im alone, because I am able to know my strength. I also have more time to hug my children and I can talk to them about my problems),” she said.

Although struggling, Fe defied the odds and remained  positive in order to provide the needs of her children.

“Noon ang hirap, from Panicuason ay 18 kilometers to Naga City kong minomotor. Nagbibitbit, naglalako ako ng mga produkto sa mga opisina kahit umuulan o tirik ang araw (Before, it was so hard. Rain of shine, I drove 18 kilometers from Panicuason to Naga City with my motorcycle to sell products in offices),” she recalled.

It was even harder for Fe whose right leg is paralyzed when her motorcycle broke down in one of her trips.

“‘Yung mga tao tinitingnan ako. Si Ma’am Lenny Robredo nakita rin ako na kailangan kong iikot yung sarili kong patalikod para paandarin yung motor. Ewan ko kung natuwa siya sa akin o naawa siya pero tinulungan niya ako sa aking negosyo (People were looking at me. Ma’am Lenny Robredo also saw how I struggled to start the motorcycle using my left leg to kick and pedal. I am not sure if she was amazed or she just pitied me but she helped me with my business),” she said.

Her success

In order to sustain the needs of her children, she continued to explore new things for her business.

She focused on making nutritious food, experimenting by adding 20% of soya pulp in her products.

Her business took a positive turn when she joined the GROW Negosyo (growing opportunities), a project of the local government providing capital assistance to micro and macro entrepreneurs in the city.

In 2010, she was awarded as “Maugmang Nagenya”, an award provided by the local government to individuals who have attained success despite all the struggles in life.

It was on the same year as well when the local government chose her nutritious products to be the main dish in the Supplementary Feeding program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“Halos P20,000 a day ang kinikita ko na noon in 60 days(I was earning almost P20,000 a day at that time for 60 days),” she said.

She then made her first  P1.2-million sales.

Sa pangatlong kontrata ko sa Supplementary Feeding, masayang masaya ako sa oportunidad na naipagkaloob sa akin ng Diyos at sa mga taong tumulong sa akin (With my third contract in the Supplementary Feeding, I am so happy with the opportunity given to me by God and the the people who helped me),” she added.

Now, instead of using a motorcycle, she was able to buy an owner-type jeepney to deliver her products.

She was also able to build two concrete houses.

“Yung isa po ay bakery na namin. May mga equipment na rin ako sa paggawa ng bread (One of my houses was converted into a bakery shop. I also have an equipment to produce bread),” Fe happily related.

In addition, she was able to set up a Grow Negosyo Stall.

“Dito lang po sa stall ay nakakabenta ako ng P2,000 a day bukod sa aming bakery (Here in the stall, I am able to earn P2,000 a day apart from my earnings in our bakery),” she enthused.

Returning the blessings

Fe is proud to say that as part of caring for the needs of fellow persons with disabilities (PWDs),  she employed the parents of child-PWDs in the village.

“Nakikita ko po ang pag-angat nila dahil nabigyan sila ng trabaho (I saw their improvement because they were provided with jobs),” she said.

Two out of the nine employees in her bakery are also beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the conditional cash transfer program implemented by DSWD.

Fe said that she wanted to be an inspiration to others, especially to her fellow PWDs.

“Kailangan lang pong maging masipag. Huwag nating gawing dahilan ang ating kapansanan. Magpasalamat pa tayo dahil buhay tayo (We need to be industrious. Let us not allow our disability to hinder us from being productive. Thank God that we are alive),” she remarked.

Fe stressed that being prayerful, hardworking, and kind to your loved ones and to other people are the exact ingredients for success. ###

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DSWD hosts ASEAN conference for persons with disabilities

Manila, Philippines - To strengthen the capacity of social work practitioners in member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in implementing quality social services for persons with disabilities (PWDS), the Philippines, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), will host the ASEAN Program Evaluation and Planning Conference for  PWDs on April 2 to 4, 2014.

Around 40 participants from Brunei Darrusalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, , Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will attend the conference.

For three days, participants will share and exchange good practices on the provision of social services to PWDs. They will also evaluate existing programs as well as develop new strategies to improve service delivery.

Social services for PWDs include assistance in the acquisition of prosthetic devices and medical intervention of specialty services, provision of specialized training activities, counseling, family care services, after care services and day care services for disabled children of pre-school age.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman emphasized that there is a need for closer collaboration among ASEAN member-countries to share information, knowledge, skills, experiences, and expertise to effectively and efficiently implement social services for PWDs.

In the Philippines,  DSWD is the main government agency tasked to implement social services for PWDs such as the Early Detection, Prevention, and Intervention of Disability (EDPID); Social and Vocational Rehabilitation Program; Tuloy Aral Walang Sagabal (TAWAG) Project; Community-Based Day Care for Children with Autism; and, Work Center/Sheltered Workshop for upper trainable clients.

In close partnership with its attached agency, the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), DSWD also implements the Non-Handicapping Environment (NHE) Project where PWDs are integrated into the mainstream of the community allowing them to fully participate in all community activities.

Moreover, the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) includes families with children with disabilities aged 0-14 as beneficiaries of the program.

The Philippines also enforces laws  that provide for the rights, benefits, and privileges of PWDs such as the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities (Republic Act 9442) and the Accessibility Law (Batas Pambansa Bilang 344), among others. ###

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Homeless ‘Yolanda’ survivors eagerly await new homes

Tanauan, Leyte – For couple Arneldo and Felisa Arbas,  three months of waiting for their new home to be turned over to them by the government is still worth it.

They do not mind waiting, in fact, they are thankful of the government’s constant support for them and the rest of Typhoon Yolanda survivors.

The Arbas couple is among the 366 families identified as beneficiaries of the housing units at the permanent relocation site in Barangay Pago. They are also recipients of cash grants under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

They used to live in the coastal barangay of San Roque where all houses were washed out by a storm surge at the height of ‘Yolanda’ on November 8, 2013.

Arneldo recalled spending more than two hours floating on the deep murky water during the typhoon.

Since then, the Arbas family lived in tents in Brgy. Canramos.

Housing project

Soon, Arneldo and Felisa will get their new home through the joint housing project of the government and the private sector.

Last month, officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Gawad Kalinga, and the municipal government signed the agreement for the implementation of the housing project.

Each beneficiary will be given a two-storey house with a floor area of 36-sq. meters. The house will have a loft and kitchen as well as water and power connections.

Mayor Pelagio Tecson said that Gawad Kalinga donated the 2.4-hectare lot for the housing project.

Under the project, the beneficiaries take part in the construction of their houses.

For their part, Arneldo and Felisa help in monitoring the volunteers.

“Sa ngayon, gumagawa kami dito araw-araw para mas mabilis na maitayo ang mga bahay (Right now, we work here everyday so that the houses will be built faster),” Felisa said.

Another volunteer, Dolores Leiros, 70, said, “Matanda na ako, kaya nakakatulong lang ako dalawang beses sa isang linggo mula alas-otso ng umaga hanggang alas-singko ng hapon, pero masaya ako at mabibigyan ako ng bahay (I am old, so I only volunteer twice a week from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, but I am happy to be receiving a new home).”

Self-reliant community

Mayor Tecson added that the relocation site will have pavements and vital community facilities such as school, community center, basketball court, and access roads.

Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Marina Tolibas also shared that her office has conducted community organizing activities for the beneficiaries to prepare them for their responsibilities, not only in the construction, but in keeping a wholesome and self-reliant community.

Gawad Kalinga Project Manager, Manny Santos, revealed that two more shelter sites will soon be set up for other disaster victims residing in “No Dwelling Zones”. These will be in Barangays Maribi and Sacme.

Visit

Recently, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman accompanied Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Bill Tweddel, for an ocular visit to the area.

The Australian Government will extend additional P403 million to assist local government units and communities affected by ‘Yolanda’.

Sec. Soliman was pleased that the national and local governments as well as the private sector continue to work together in helping provide permanent homes for the disaster victims.

The Secretary was doubly pleased upon seeing  the  smiles on the faces of shelter beneficiaries as she and Ambassador Tweddel interacted with them. ###

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