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Family of girl featured in presidential debate gets gov’t support

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in partnership with the local government unit (LGU) of Buenavista, Bohol has reached out to the family of Jhessa Balbastro, the 12 –year- old girl featured during the last presidential debate in Pangasinan, and provided them with initial assistance to improve their living condition.

Jhessa became known as “dahon’ girl after she narrated her story about using a banana leaf instead of a pad paper during a spelling examination because she had no money to buy a few pieces.

After learning about the case of Jhessa, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman immediately ordered for an assessment of the girl’s family.

In a home visit to the family, the DSWD was able to assess their most pressing needs such as a sturdy house and a sustainable source of income.

Likewise, Jhessa and her school-age siblings need educational assistance.

To date, the LGU of Buenavista has provided food packs, clothing, and blankets to the family.

The LGU also provided housing materials to repair the family’s house, which is made of amakan and nipa.

To address the family’s lack of income, Jhessa’s mother, Mary Jane, will be given a capital assistance of P20,000 under the DSWD-Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP). She will use the amount to continue her livelihood project of cooking and selling native delicacies. She is also being assessed for additional capital assistance through the Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) for a hog raising business.

Meanwhile, Jhessa’s step father, Walden, will also be given a regular work as part of the team that will implement community projects under the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) in their community.

As for Jhessa and her siblings, the LGU will provide them with educational and clothing assistance through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS).

It will also coordinate with the Department of Education (DepEd)-Bohol Division for possible inclusion of Jhessa and her siblings in the Amoma, Giya, Alayon sa Kalampusan (AGAK) program. The AGAK program, implemented in 2014, is an initiative of DepEd-Bohol, which aims to provide sponsorship to indigent students who are at risk of dropping out.  Under the program, teachers and benefactors are expected to track students’ progress, and help in resolving difficulties.

Furthermore, the LGU will lobby to the local chief executive for the provision of scholarship to Jhessa and her siblings at the Buenavista Community College.

Jhessa’s family will also be registered as member of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The Provincial Grievance Officer of Pantawid Pamilya in Bohol has also submitted the name of Mary Jane Torreon, Jhessa’s mother,  for name matching for possible inclusion to the program.

Sec. Soliman assured that follow-through services would be undertaken to ensure that Jhessa’s family would not slide further to poverty.


Recognizing Jhessa’s enthusiasm to finish her studies amid challenges, Sec. Soliman said that the girl should serve as an inspiration to other children.

“Jhessa is the epitome of a diligent and determined student,” Sec. Soliman added.

Jhessa belongs to a brood of six, with her as the eldest.  Her parents have no regular and steady source of income making life difficult. For this family,  putting food on the table is indeed a struggle.

Despite this, Jhessa said that she always does her best to pursue her studies.

Jhessa dreams of becoming a teacher someday. ###

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Kalahi-CIDSS conducts celebration of women empowerment with US partner

MANILA – The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is recognizing the efforts and initiatives of its partners in pushing forward and integrating gender and development (GAD) in the program during  a ceremony on May 3 at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Makati, as part of the closing activities of KC-MCC,

KC-MCC is a project of Kalahi-CIDSS funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent foreign aid agency from USA, which has led to the strengthening of the integration of GAD in the program’s systems and processes.

Aside from the recognition of the program’s GAD champions, the activity will also show the gains in the promotion of GAD in KC-MCC.

As a community-driven development (CDD) program, Kalahi-CIDSS invests in citizens from the poorest villages across the nations through trainings and the provision of community grants so that they themselves will be able to identify their most pressing problems and provide solutions to these. In most instances, these solutions come in the way of small-scale infrastructure projects for basic social services and improvement of access of the people from isolated barangays.

Because of the strengthened GAD integration, more women participated in Kalahi-CIDSS. In KC-MCC alone, 57%, or 290,856 of the community volunteers of the program, are women. Of this number, 55% are leaders of their groups of volunteers. Furthermore, 3,865 women served as paid laborers during the construction of their Kalahi-CIDSS community sub-projects so they can earn some money to help support their families.

Ang Kalahi-CIDSS ay sinisigurado na ang boses ng babae ay nabibigyan ng espasyo sa pagpaplano sa mamamayan (Kalahi-CIDSS ensures that women’s voices are heard when engaging citizens)”, said DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman.

She continued, “Para sa amin sa Kalahi-CIDSS, mahalaga na ang babae ay hindi lamang kilalanin bilang bahagi ng lipunan, pero meron rin silang ginagawang masiglang kontribusyon sa pagpapaunlad ng pamilya at ng pamayanan (For us in Kalahi-CIDSS, women should not just be recognized as members of society, but also as having the capacity to provide a dynamic contribution in the development of their families and their communities)”.

Aside from DSWD officials, MCC Resident Country Director John Polk and the key officials of the Millennium Challenge Account-Philippines (MCA-P), the oversight agency in charge of the grants provided by MCC, are set to attend the activity. Officials from the Philippine Commission on Women are also expected to join.###

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No truth to alleged ‘shabu session’ in DSWD center

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clarified that the alleged  incident of ‘shabu session’ involving  four volunteers while on duty in one of its centers in the National Capital Region (NCR) is baseless and untrue.

In a validation meeting yesterday,  two of the accused volunteers denied their involvement in the alleged shabu session. To prove this, they voluntarily submitted themselves for drug testing which yielded negative results.

The third accused volunteer is no longer connected with the Department since last week of March.

The two  also belied the claim of their  accuser, a fellow volunteer in the center, that their last shabu session was on April 22 saying that they delivered some items to another DSWD center in Alabang, Muntinlupa on that day.

Meanwhile, DSWD-National Capital Region will conduct further character background check on the volunteer who exposed the alleged illegal activity in the center.

DSWD-NCR reiterates that  it will install CCTV  in all its warehouses to be able to monitor the activities of volunteers.

It will also develop a screening method for volunteers to determine their qualifications and work behavior.

The DSWD does not condone drug abuse in the work place. ###

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Koronadal protesters back home with rice aid from DSWD

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-Field Office XII (DSWD-FO XII) provided  2,000 bags of rice to the estimated 1,000 protesters who staged a rally  at the Regional Government Center in Koronadal City last week.

This was the agreement reached during a dialogue with the DSWD-FO XII and the rallyists.

It can be recalled that the  protesters were demanding for 15,000 bags of rice to be distributed to the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani, and General Santos City,  as a result of the El Niño phenomenon in these areas.

They brought  the rice aid with them when they returned to their places of origin, after four days of holding protest.  The rice will be distributed in their respective barangays and will benefit 4,000 families that are affected by drought.

Aside from the bags of rice, DSWD also distributed hygiene kits and malongs to women, children and elderly rallyists.

DSWD-FO XII Director Bai Zorahayda Taha said that aside from the provision of rice assistance,  the identification of strategies to ensure a platform for peaceful response to the demands of the protesters was also tackled.

One of the strategies identified  was  to involve beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the repacking and distribution of 25-kilos of rice in the barangays. For this, they will receive P207 per day until the repacking ends, as part of the Cash-for-Work (CFW).

Likewise, the Field Office also partnered with the National Commission for the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and church-based groups to ensure that the IPs and the distant location are reached.

“We are optimistic that the rallyists will not return to the streets anymore because there is an ongoing distribution of rice aid  to drought-stricken families at 25 kilos per family in Region 12,” Dir. Taha said.

To date, a total of 98,000 bags of rice  has  been released to  the four provinces for drought- affected families in Region XII.

The DSWD -Central Office  has also downloaded additional funding support to address the rice and food requirements of affected families.

Moreover, the Regional El Nino Task Force has also convened to determine further budgetary support to address the requirements of food for 3-6 months after the planting season had started while the farmers are yet to harvest their crops.

Staff from the Field Office continue to coordinate with local social workers and Pantawid Pamilya parent-leaders for the monitoring of relief distribution.

Along with the rest of the government, DSWD recognizes the urgency of responding to the situation of hunger affecting the poor in many parts of the country. ###

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DSWD investigates volunteers for alleged shabu session

Receiving a report that four volunteers  in one of its centers in the National Capital Region (NCR) are involved in a shabu session while on duty, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) expressed its strong condemnation on the illegal act and vows to investigate and punish the perpetrators when found guilty.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman has immediately ordered for the investigation of the incident to ferret out the truth. The Department is now coordinating with proper authorities on the matter.

Two of the accused will undergo drug testing today.

Sec. Soliman lamented that these volunteers, if their involvement in the alleged incident is confirmed, have abused government resources.

To be able to monitor the activities of volunteers in all its warehouses, DSWD-NCR will install CCTV in the areas.

It will also develop a screening method for volunteers to determine their qualifications and working behavior.  ###

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DSWD to release P8.2M shelter aid for Iloilo town

The Department of Social Welfare and Development –Field Office VI (DSWD-FO VI)  will release the shelter assistance, amounting to P8.2 million, for the municipality of San Dionisio in Iloilo by the first week of May, assured  DSWD- FO VI Regional Director Rebecca Geamala.

The Municipality of San Dionisio is one of those where the DSWD implements directly the payout of the shelter assistance in as much as the local government unit does not have exemption from the election ban.

The assistance will be released  in  partnership with a religious group in the town considering that it is election period.

Dir. Geamala  met with the representatives of the different barangays of the town who flocked at the DSWD compound early Monday asking for clarification as to when will their shelter assistance be released.

“Even before you came to our office, we have already scheduled the release of the assistance for your town,”  Dir. Geamala said.

The shelter assistance is intended for 828 families whose houses were partially damaged by Typhoon Yolanda which hit the Western Visayas Region in 2013.

Dir. Geamala explained that the delay in the release of the aid was due to the  need  to revalidate the list of beneficiaries after receiving complaints that families with totally damaged houses were classified under partially damaged and vice-versa.

Overall, DSWD-FO VI has released P8.2 billion in shelter assistance as of the first quarter of 2016. ###

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DSWD, WFP launch Disaster Response Centre in Visayas

Sec. Soliman leads guests in testing the mechanized production system of the Visayas Disaster Response Centre

Sec. Soliman leads guests in testing the mechanized production system of the Visayas Disaster Response Centre

CEBU – In preparation for emergencies, the Visayas Disaster Response Centre (DRC) was
inaugurated today in Mandaue City in Cebu Province by the Philippine government, through the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD, and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The Visayas disaster response centre is a continuation of the strategic partnership between
DSWD and WFP to enhance emergency response capacity in the Philippines. It is funded by the governments of Australia and the United Kingdom.

Inside the 5,000-square meter centre is a custom-built mechanized system designed to rapidly produce 50,000 family food packs in a day, which is enough to feed 250,000 people for three days. Combined with the mechanized production system at the National Resource Operations Centre in Pasay, this will double family food pack production capacity to feed 500,000 people for three days.

The Visayas centre features a pallet racking system for improved storage of food packs and
warehousing of food and non-food commodities, guaranteeing quality stockpiles of family food packs and other humanitarian assistance ready for distribution. Spaces for training sessions and offices for the DSWD and the WFP, as well as other government officials, are also available.

The DRC was conceived as a result of the lessons learned from the response to Super Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Typhoon Yolanda. ‘Yolanda’ badly hit the Visayas region and challenged the government in responding to large-scale humanitarian relief requirements.

“Typhoon Haiyan showed that disasters can strike anywhere in the Philippines,” said Praveen Agrawal, WFP Philippines’ Representative and Country Director. “The inauguration of the Visayas disaster response centre is a significant step towards decentralizing the Philippine government’s emergency response. With help from our donors, WFP will continue to support the Philippines by establishing respective DRCs in Luzon and Mindanao.”

WFP will also build a similar centre in Clark, to cater to the Luzon regions and another one in General Santos City, for Mindanao.

“These DRCs bring the humanitarian response of government closest to the people needing support.  As in the case of El Nino, these DRCs can make food packages more accessible to disaster-affected areas in all parts of the country,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said.

These centres are all accessible by land, sea and air to ensure the immediate response of the government wherever a disaster strikes in the country. WFP is also providing technical training to key government representatives on disaster response logistics and supply chain management.

The Philippines is considered as one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world exacerbated by climate change, with various natural disasters affecting the country such as
typhoons, droughts, earthquakes, and volcanic activities. ###

About DSWD
The Department of Social Welfare and Development is the government institution responsible for the protection of social welfare rights and promotion of social development. It chairs the National Disaster Response of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.


About WFP
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food
assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build
resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.


For more information, please contact:
Department of Social Welfare and Development (Email:
Genalor DV Fischer, Information Officer IV, Tel. +63 (02) 951-7440, Mob. +63916-703-3840

World Food Programme – Philippines (Email:
Faizza Tanggol, Communications Assistant Tel. +63 (02) 750-2561 local 2420, Mob. +63917880-9368

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Over 1,000 youths get summer jobs from DSWD

Youth-applicants of the Government Internship Program (GIP) highlight their skills and qualifications as they are being interviewed by DSWD personnel.

Youth-applicants of the Government Internship Program (GIP) highlight their skills and qualifications as they are being interviewed by DSWD personnel.

This summer, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) selected and deployed 1,440 youths under the Government Internship Program (GIP) for out- of- school, undergraduates, and graduates  who are unemployed.

The DSWD-Central Office  and the 18 Field Offices nationwide accommodated 80 GIP interns for 22 working days, with stipend that is based on 75% of the prevailing regional wage rate.

GIP interns at the Central Office and National Capital Region (NCR) will receive P350 daily.

The GIP is one of the services offered for young people under the Unlad Kabataan Program (UKP) of the DSWD. The UKP is geared towards the total development of disadvantaged youth in terms of spiritual, economic, physical, psychological, cultural and social development.

The GIP is part of the government’s efforts to strengthen youth participation in nation-building by exposing them to government service and training them on life skills.

It also serves as recruitment mechanism for potential public employees, and provides financial assistance for school enrolment.

“We want the youth to have a meaningful and productive activity during their summer vacation at the same time earning,  hence, we are implementing the GIP from April to May,” DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said.

The GIP program this year started on April 18 and will end on May 17.

During the selection phase, DSWD prioritized GIP interns who were 18 to 25 years old, in-school members of the Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines (PYAP), and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries.

The interns will perform not only actual office work but will also assist in the implementation of DSWD programs and projects. They may also do direct service through field work in communities where DSWD programs and projects are implemented in partnership with local government units.

Memorable experience

During the orientation on April 18 at the Central Office, a former intern from last year shared her learnings and experiences.

Jeselle Entatano, 20, from Marikina and studying at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) taking up Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Human Resource was assigned at the KapitBisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) National Program Management Office.

She shared, “My GIP days were memorable. No matter how hard or difficult my task was, I was able to do it because the employees and other interns were supportive and cooperative.”

“I learned to deal with different people, develop my skills, and work professionally.  I also learned to value humility, obedience, and integrity,” Jeselle added.

Meanwhile, this year’s interns said they joined the program because they wanted to earn some money to support their studies, as well as have some experience working in government offices.

Among this year’s batch of interns at DSWD Central Office is  Ross Tristan A. Flores, 20,  from San Mateo, Rizal.

Ross is an incoming fourth year college student at San Mateo Municipal College taking up Bachelor of Arts in English. His fluency in the language was evident in his insightful responses during the interview.

He narrated that prior to his application for the DSWD internship, he has made the rounds of government agencies looking for a job.

Despite his verbal proficiency in the English language, he did not apply in a call center.

Ross pointed out, “I do not see myself working in a call center, although the pay is higher. I’d rather be in public service where I could interact with the less fortunate people. This is why I chose to apply at DSWD.”

Like Ross, one intern who is a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary also expressed her positive thoughts on her participation to the GIP.

Anabelle E. Engraba, 19, from Mandaluyong City, taking up Human Resource Development Management at Rizal Technological University, and whose family is a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary since 2012, stated that she wanted to learn new things and gain experience.

“DSWD employees are busy with their work yet they willingly share their knowledge. I learned a lot of things from them,” she said.

Anabelle is a scholar under the Students Grant-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SG-PPA), a scholarship program for children of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries,  which helps finance her tuition and other expenses while pursuing her course.

Sec. Soliman expressed optimism that with more youths recognizing the importance of public service, as a result of their participation to the internship, the government can expect younger and more dynamic workforce in the future, which is essential in achieving a new paradigm for service delivery.  ###

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