Adoption Consciousness Week Celebration commences; DSWD Field Office V urges legal adoption

Various government agencies join the official kickoff event of the Adoption Consciousness Week Celebration at Puro, Legazpi City.

Legazpi City-The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office V has officially commenced with its annual celebration of the Adoption Consciousness Week yesterday at Puro, Legazpi City.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Pagmamahal palaganapin, legal na pag-aampon ating gawin (Spread unconditional love through legal adoption)”.

Different government agencies were present yesterday who joined the foot parade and Zumba as part of the opening program. Local officials from National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Educo, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Civil Service Commission (CSC), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Commission on Population (POPCOM) were present.

“We would like to inform the public that DSWD will guide you with the legal adoption process. Consultation with us is free of service,” DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia said.

As part of the weeklong celebration, the DSWD will put up inquiry desks at SM Legazpi and SM Naga on February 14-15, 2019, 10:00AM-5:30 PM to respond to queries about adoption and foster care.

Also, a poster contest is scheduled at DSWD Field Office V, Legazpi City on February 19, 2019.

The Adoption Consciousness Week Celebration will culminate on February 21, 2019, 1:00-5:00 PM with a forum about foster care and legal adoption at PNP Regional Office V, Camp Simeon Ola, Legazpi City. Admission is free and snacks will be served to first 50 guests. Interested individuals or parties may contact 09171426963 to confirm attendance or send queries about the said forum.

Moreover, DSWD Field Office V has its own adoption text lines: 09475854675 or 09171426963.

Any interested individuals may seek DSWD’s free services. For those who want to adopt, they can visit DSWD Region V ARRS located at Buraguis, Legazpi City or may call (052) 8201309. However, applicants are advised that they need to spend a considerable amount on legal services and documentary requirements in line with the adoption and foster care process.

Adoption as an alternative parental care program is one of the statutory programs of the DSWD for abandoned and neglected children as guided by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8552 known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998 and R.A. No.9523, also known as an Act Authorizing the Secretary of DSWD to issue a Certification Declaring a Child Legally Available for Adoption (CDCLAA).

Adoption is a socio-legal process of providing a permanent family to a child who is legally available for adoption while foster care refers to the provision of planned temporary substitute parental care to a child by a foster parent.

A Foster Parent/Family is issued a license by the DSWD after a favorable assessment and recommendation. A Foster Placement Authority is also issued by the Department to authorize the placement of a child/children to a licensed foster parent/family.
In 2018, DSWD Field Office V was able to place 11 children for adoption, 25 children for foster care and 13 children were endorsed for inter-country adoption.

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The reflections of the enlightened CICL

Life is like a candle. Darkness enfolded a child when life hit him hard and lost any sight of the light at a young age.

Jose, not his real name, was a victim of inhospitable circumstances. His parents lived separately with his mother who shouldered the sole parental responsibility over four children in the family while his father sent them money to support them financially.

Moreover, he was confronted with a life changing event after his father’s death in 2009. His mother pulled the ends together by exploring alternative livelihood activities for their daily sustenance including the payment for their school expenses.

According to Jose, from being a household manager, his mom attended trainings in cosmetics and caregiving, hence, she worked as part-time on call beautician and caregiver thereafter.

In the absence of his mother, Jose’s eldest sibling replaced his mother. But according to him, it was not enough.

He admitted that they had more time to engage with their peers due to limited adult’s supervision.

Jose discovered the life without boundaries. A life where he can decide on his own without his parents’ reprimand.

Soon, Jose engaged with friends who introduced him to different vices.

“I cut classes. I learned how to smoke and drink alcohol while my older brother got into illegal drugs,” he said.

Jose became unstoppable. In 2015, Jose who was in third year high school decided to steal a motorcycle parked in his school because he wanted to have his own service; something that his mom cannot afford.

However, his world crumbled down when he was apprehended the same year. He violated the Anti-Fencing Law and was admitted at DSWD’s Regional Rehabilitation for Youth (RRCY) in Sorsogon City for his suspended sentence and directed him to undergo rehabilitation instead of full blown court trial.

After his three-year stay at RRCY, he was discharged out of the facility and was integrated to his family.

At RRCY, a residential institution that provides protection, care, treatment and rehabilitation to abused and exploited boys below 18 years of age, Jose received the following from DSWD: social services, home life services, educational services, health services, psychological services, spiritual enrichment services, productivity program and socio-cultural and recreational services.

After all those years, the most valuable lesson he learned is that life is important.

Jose described life like a candle. Its light may end in an instant if not taken care of.

But the people who gave them the opportunity to live a reformed life kept the light burning and its continuing illumination serves a source of inspiration to those who were lost in the darkness.

According to U.S. President John F. Kennedy: “We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future”.

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DSWD conducts bloodletting activity in line with its anniversary

DSWD Field Office V Regional Director Arnel B. Garcia encouraged employees to donate blood last January 21,2019 as part of the 68th DSWD Anniversary Celebration.

Legazpi City— DSWD Field Office V conducted a bloodletting activity last January 21, 2019 in connection with the DSWD 68th Anniversary Celebration.

The founding anniversary is observed every January. For the 68th anniversary, a bloodletting activity was facilitated by DSWD FO V Human Resource Welfare Section in collaboration with Philippine National Red Cross- Albay Chapter and Department of Health Regional Office V. This was simultaneously done by other Regional Offices all over the country.

22 eligible DSWD employees participated in the activity who were assessed during the registration process.

Regional Director Arnel B. Garcia encouraged the employees to join this advocacy to help save lives through blood donation.

“It is a rewarding experience for us because we can extend the life of others,” Dir. Garcia added.

Doctor Alan Lucañas, the team leader of the bloodletting activity, acknowledged this initiative and expressed interest to accept similar engagements with DSWD to augment the scarce blood supply.

All the DSWD blood donors received snacks and freebies from DOH and were excused at work to take a break after.

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More DSWD programs for ‘Usman’ victims in Bicol

The assessment and interview of Melissa Dubos from Brgy. Bariis yesterday. She was one of the ‘Usman’ victims in Tiwi, Albay that DSWD Field Office V provided with financial assistance with provision of outright cash PhP5,000.00 (maximum).

Legazpi City—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office V is currently providing other assistance through its existing programs to help the families affected by Tropical Depression (TD) Usman that triggered landslides and severe flooding in Bicol almost two weeks ago.

Based on the January 8, 2019, 11PM Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) report, 2,137 of the 80,982 affected families are still in the evacuation centers. DSWD also recorded 121 dead, 89 injured and 23 missing.

Furthermore, DSWD’s cost of assistance reached PhP24,446,438.25 which includes food and non-food items such as family food packs (FFPs), sleeping kits, hygiene kits, kitchen kits, blankets and malong.

“Though we have noted the increase in evacuation center decampment, we are also facilitating the provision of financial assistance to those families with death and injury,” Dir. Garcia said.

The DSWD social workers are currently conducting interview, assessment and payout to the reported families with death and injury among its members. DSWD will provide a maximum outright cash of PhP5,000.00 for the financial assistance.

The DSWD social workers went personally to Tiwi, Albay yesterday to distribute burial assistance to some of the ‘Usman’ victims.

Melissa Dubos of Brgy. Bariis in Tiwi is one of the recipients of DSWD’s burial assistance. She lost her partner in the early evening of December 29, 2018 when toppled posts caused by a landslide strung him by the electricity cables.

She can clearly recall her wounded partner fighting for his life as they traversed the mountains on foot for more than an hour to get him to the nearest hospital but the large debris of soil and rock hindered their way to the town leaving him succumb to death.

“Sa December 29 pa sana siya uuwi mula Cavite kaso nag request yung mga anak ko na makasama siya nang mas maaga (He is supposed to go home last December 29, 2018, however, he came earlier because of my children’s request),” Melissa said.

She was advised by the DSWD social worker during the interview and stress debriefing that despite of the inevitable challenges, she needs to stay strong for her two children and keep them motivated by assuring them that they can get through this together.

“Nagpapasalmat ako dahil may mga nakarating nang tulong sa amin ngunit mas masaya sana kung kasama pa din namin siya ngayon (I’m grateful of the aid we received but we can be happier if he is still with us today),” Melissa said.

The medical and burial assistance is part of the DSWD Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS). AICS is a social safety net or a stop-gap mechanism to support the recovery of individuals and families from unexpected crisis such as illness or death of a family member, natural and man-made calamities, and other crisis situations.

Dir. Garcia also clarified that the abovementioned programs do not automatically cover everyone. The identification of the program beneficiaries is based on the local government unit (LGU) disaster report validated by the DSWD Field Office V.

“We have sufficient resources to aid the Usman victims, however, we also prioritize those people inside the evacuation centers,” he added.

He also said that augmentation to LGUs DSWD’s primary role during Disaster Response.

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TD Usman DSWD disaster preparedness update

Legazpi City—The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office V has its stockpiles ready for the effects of Tropical Depression Usman which is expected to be felt in Bicol tomorrow (December 27, 2018) according to the latest Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) weather bulletin released at 11am today.

Based on the December 25, 2018 Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) report for Bicol, there are 6,323 family food packs (FFPs) available at DSWD Warehouse located Bogtong, Legazpi City.

Other food items at the DSWD warehouse are still for repacking which includes the following items: 403 sacks of NFA rice, 436 boxes Argentina beef loaf, 420 boxes of 555 Tuna flakes, 551 boxes of Sardines, 1,194 boxes of corned beef, 487 boxes of 3in1 coffee.

While the table below shows the standby goods allocated to different areas and will be released and distributed by DSWD volunteers upon the official DSWD announcement:

Non-food items are available such as 376 sets of tents, 9,063 boxes of sleeping kit, 623 pcs dignity kit, 1,996 boxes family kit, 2, 295 boxes hygiene kit, 110,296 pcs. Malong, 327 rolls laminated sacks, and 46,346 pcs blanket.

The DSWD Field Office V has Php3,229,182.32 stand by funds for disaster operations.

Moreover, DSWD FO V Disaster Response and Management Division (DRMD) is closely monitoring the weather updates and information while the DSWD FO V Quick Response Teams (QRTs) were alerted and advised to be prepared for augmentation support needed from the field and/or 24/7 duty at the DRMD Operation Center.

The Provincial Action Team (PAT) and City/Municipal Action team (C/MAT) members in the six provinces are on standby. The DSWD employees deployed in different cities/municipalities were instructed to coordinate with the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (LDRRMOs) for status reports and updates.

In case of power and communication outage, DSWD’s Emergency Telecommunication Equipment is on standby and ready for deployment as the need arises.

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A Christmas message from an elderly

Mercoria Merino celebrated her 68th birthday last December 12, 2018 so she decided to buy spaghetti after she received her stipend from the Social Pension Program on the same day.

Amidst the commercialization of the Yuletide event, an elderly from the countryside reminds everyone of this annual affair’s essence.

Mercoria Merino who grew up in Daraga town only finished primary education because of poverty. They can’t even bring their parents to the hospital. Their mother’s condition was not properly diagnosed and she believed that her mother died of pneumonia.

Even now, she considers her own family as indigent because of limited revenue from farming. Their income descended because her husband died who mainly worked for them.

She has six sons and only one of them lives with her because the rest have their own families. Two of her grandchildren also live with her.

Despite these things, Mercoria serves her community without reluctance.
She devotes her time as a religion volunteer teacher for the elementary children in their village. She was also elected as the president of the senior citizen’s organization at Brgy. San Ramon, her residence.

Mercoria just turned 68 years old last December 12. After she got the stipend of P1,500 from the DSWD Social Pension Program payout on the same day, she hurried to the grocery and bought ingredients for spaghetti as her treat for her family. She also bought some supplies before heading home.

“Bumili ako ng spaghetti para daw pampahaba ng buhay (I bought spaghetti as a symbol for long life),” she explained.

As a Social Pension beneficiary, she also advised her fellow senior citizens to keep the money for the upcoming Christmas celebration.

“Mahalaga na magkakasama ang pamilya sa Pasko na may pinagsasaluhan kaya sana, gabayan din ng mga anak ang kanilang magulang kung paano gagastusin ang makukuhang [Social] Pension ngayong buwan (Coming together with a simple feast as a family every Christmas is important, so I hope that the elderly will also be guided by their families on how they will spend the [Social] Pension which is available this month),” Mercoria said.

The elderly also encouraged those senior citizens to get their IDs from the local social welfare and development offices (LSWDOs) to enjoy various benefits and discounts from availing goods and services.

She also said that children living with their elderly parents should relentlessly manifest support, love and care because they are God-given gifts to each another.

Amidst poverty, one can choose to be grateful of the blessing received from the family. The elderly never demands but reciprocating their sacrifices is sufficient to make them feel loved and important during this crucial stage.

Family’s love is

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DSWD head highlights men’s role to end VAW in Men’s Summit

DSWD Dir. Arnel Garcia emphasized that the family can break the cycle of violence by expressing love. This is part of his message during the Men’s Summit yesterday at La Edley Event Place, Legazpi City.

Legazpi City—Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Dir. Arnel Garcia shared an inspirational message during the Men’s Summit at La Edley Event Place yesterday (November 28) in connection with the 18-Day Campaign to end violence against women.

He addressed the male participants by saying: “You breed violence at home. Sasabihin mo na sinasaktan mo ang iyong anak dahil mahal mo sila and by the time na magkapamilya sila, gagawin din nila ito dahil sa kanilang karanasan. Ngunit mga tatay, subukan niyong yakapin ang inyong mga anak at sabihin: ayaw kitang saktan at hindi na kita muling sasaktan dahil mahal kita (You say that you hurt your child because you love them and by the time they are married, they will do the same because of their past experience. But to the fathers, try to embrace your children and say: I do not want to hurt you and I’ll never hurt again because I love you).”

“You break the cycle of violence,” Dir. Garcia added.

The said summit serves as a platform to promote men’s significant role to free families and communities from violence and tackle relevant issues concerning men.

The male participants came from various government offices and men’s organizations namely, Pag Asa Youth Association of the Philippines (PYAP), Simon of Cyrene, Philippine National Police (PNP), Albay Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), Department of Justice (DOJ), DSWD and Solo Fathers Leaders of Daraga and Legazpi City.

The following topics were discussed: Understanding Violence Against Women, Men’s Involvement in Reproductive Health Law, Men’s Mental Health, Men in the Prevention of HIV-AIDS and Building Lasting Relationships with your Partner.

The DSWD in collaboration with other government offices spearheaded the said summit.

The Men’s Summit is one of the activities in line with the 8-Day Campaign to end violence against women.

Proclamation 1172 s. 2006 – Declaring 25 November to 12 December as the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) and Republic Act 10398 (2013) – Declaring November 25 of Every Year as National Consciousness Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children In Support of the Worldwide Campaign to End VAW support the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) which is observed annually from November 25 to December 12 to raise awareness among all stakeholders that violence against women (VAW) as a public issue of national concern.

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DSWD trains 98 employees as GAD advocates through GST

One of the participants discussing about gender issues during the second and final day of the Gender Sensitivity Training (GST) for DSWD Field Office V employees at Sarung Banggui Resort, Sto. Domingo, Albay last November 7, 2018.

Legazpi City-The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office V provided a Gender Sensitivity Training (GST) to its 98 internal staff in three batches this year.

The two-day crash course about gender aims to teach the DSWD employees to fully understand the importance of legal mandates and laws in creating a gender-fair community.

According to DSWD Dir. Arnel Garcia the training will also increase the attendees’ knowledge about gender sensitivity principles that they can apply in the workplace such as gender-sensitive language and remarks, provision of equal access to opportunities, informed decision-making for both sexes and gender-specific data collection and analysis.

“I encourage all DSWD employees to undergo this capacity building activity because we want to have a pool of gender advocates who will push for an enabling environment for all,” Dir. Garcia added.

After the training they are expected to come up with a Gender Action Plan based on the identified gender issues and provide their commitments to promote gender equality and create a gender-fair community.

The GST comprise of seven salient sessions about the following topics: Why We Advocate GAD?; Sex and Gender; Sex, Orientation, Gender identity and Expression; Institutions that Promote Gender Bias; Manifestations of Gender Bias; Gender Division of Labor; and Power.

The first group of DSWD employees who attended the GST was conducted last April 12-13, 2018, the second group was trained last April 24-25, 2018 while the recent training for the last batch was completed last November 6-7, 2018.

The total number of participants reached a total of 98 employees. Some participants are also members of the DSWD Region V Gender and Development (GAD) Technical Working Group (TWG) chaired by Assistant Regional Director for Operations Arwin Razo.

The GAD TWG is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the gender mainstreaming efforts through GAD planning and budgeting process.

Based on the Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women, the government offices shall ensure that all members of the GAD TWG must undergo capacity building programs on gender and development which shall include but not be limited to: gender sensitivity training (GST), gender analysis, GAD planning and budgeting, and gender audit.

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