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In light of TD Usman, there’s still community effort

Sandra Barruga, 44, a resident of Brgy. Burocbusoc in Buhi, Camarines Sur recounts her experience when Tropical Depression ‘Usman’ hit town last December 29, 2018.

A family’s slumber was disturbed with a loud sound of rocks crumbling down the hillside that feels like a strong earthquake.

With safety on the palms of their hands, the father can’t contain his fear, so he took courage to get out of their house at 10 o’clock in the evening. He was in great shock upon seeing the waist-high flood waters about to conquer their home.

This was the dreadful experience of Melchor Narra, 59, a resident of Barangay Burocbusoc in Buhi, Camarines Sur when Tropical Depression ‘Usman’ struck Bicol Region on the 29th of December 2018, a few days before New Year’s Day.

From downtown Buhi, their house can be reached through a 45-minute motorcycle ride.

Nakalipat kami sa harong kan tugang ko kan bumisita man ang kapitan, mga kagawad pati man ang mga rescuers (We transferred to my brother’s house when the barangay captain, councilors and rescuers visited us),” Narra explained.

On the aftermath of TD Usman, their area was surrounded with uprooted trees and enormous rocks that come from the mountain on the other side of the road.

According to Narra, this is the first time he experienced this kind of distressful incident.

Medyo na-trauma kami kaya nagsimba kami sa Iriga para magpasalamat siguro kung natuluyan kami nin mga gapo asin kahoy digdi baka ubos kami sa laog kan harong (We were traumatized so we attended a Holy Mass in Iriga to give thanks because if our house were struck by rocks and tree trunks, we might also die),” he said.

Guiding Light for Safety   

For Sandra Barruga, 44, also a resident of Burocbusoc, the Tropical Depression ‘Usman’ has left a great ordeal on her life.

According to Barruga, they were attending a neighbor’s wake when the electricity supply was cut-off, so they’ve decided to return to their respective homes.

Due to fear, Barruga came outside of the house to observe the surroundings.

Maray na sana ngane po igwang solar-powered street light, sa paghiling ko igwa na palan tubig samo kaya nagparakurahaw ako na igwa na nin baha asin magdulag na ta may tubig na (Good thing, we have the solar-powered street lights. Upon seeing the flood waters, I shouted to my neighbors that there’s flood and we need to vacate the area),” she recounted.

Even before the calamity, the community has already decided to install solar-powered street lights through the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS).

Maray na may tigkabit na street lights bago mag-uran dahil dae ko mailing su baha ta banggi (I’m thankful that there are street lights installed before the strong rains came because I won’t be able to see the flood that night),” Barruga continued.

Narra also shared the impact of their community project in times of disasters.

Igwa pang ilaw habang nagalakaw kami maski ngane baha igwa pang ilaw (When we are evacuating, the street lights are still fully functional despite the flood waters),” he said.

Barruga also shared that she attended barangay assemblies and even aided in determining the possible solutions for their needs, thus; the installation of street lights came into fruition.

“Tama talaga an pighagad mi na dapat street lights ta magayon ining produkto sa barangay (It’s a good decision to put up those street lights since it’s a good product of the barangay),” she stated.

Through community meetings, we are all given the significant opportunity to voice out concerns as well as decide for our community.

But, we must also reflect on the responsibility appointed to us when identifying issues and outcomes because, in every choice we made, it will enormously affect not only us but also fellow community members.    /FSramsertanJan212019/

About DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS

Camarines Sur has implemented Kalahi-CIDSS in 35 municipalities with a total implementation grant of PhP 1,950,716,688.10 and local counterpart contribution of Php 75,273,846.32 from barangay and municipal local government units (LGUs) to fund community-managed sub-projects.

DSWD had allocated Buhi with PhP 59,991,924.00.

The installation of solar-powered street lights has a total project cost of PhP 1,393,150.00 which benefitted 75 households.

For more details about DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS, follow this link:

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DSWD-Bicol provides food assistance to DepEd’s Emergency Brigada Eskwela volunteers

Legazpi City–The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office V again forged into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Education (DepEd) for its Emergency Brigada Eskwela. The simple MOA signing happened last January 10 at the DSWD Regional Office.

According to DepEd Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad, the Emergency Brigada Eskwela is one way of achieving fast recovery and rehabilitation of school facilities after a disaster. It also promotes values of cooperation, camaraderie, and sense of involvement of the community.

Under the agreement, the DSWD will provide food for work or food assistance to community volunteers who will help in the clean-up, repair, and rehabilitation of school facilities in the schools affected by Tropical Depression Usman.

“The provision of food for work would like to address the basic subsistence needs of the affected families at the same time will help in rebuilding the damaged schools,” said DSWD Bicol Regional Director Arnel Garcia.

Last January 13, the DSWD has already provided 5,777 family food packs to DepEd for distribution to the nine (9) municipalities in Albay and Camarines Sur.
Way back 2017, the two agencies in collaboration with Educo, a nongovernment agency, has already partnered in rebuilding schools for Typhoon Nina affected families.

DSWD Efforts on TD Usman

Aside from the food and non-food items, the DSWD provided financial assistance to thirty-three (33) families with reported death and injury among its members. Likewise, to ease the agony from being displaced, the agency also conducts psychosocial and debriefing activities in the evacuation centers such as film showing/storytelling to children, livelihood and gardening to parents, among others.

Meanwhile, as of January 16, 2019, 12NN Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) report, there are still 458 families or 1,966 individuals staying in 19 evacuation centers, (9) in Albay and (10) in Camarines Sur.

TD Usman’s aftermath has affected a total of 106,687 families or 497,903 individuals in 598 barangays in the Bicol Region. The DSWD also recorded 8,368 families with damaged houses.

To date, a total of Php 80,085,261.75 relief assistance has been provided to affected families from DSWD (Php 28,450,685.75), Local Government Units (LGUs) (Php 7,362,303.00), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) & other Government Organizations (GO’s) (44,272,273.00).

The agency is closely coordinating with the LGUs for resource augmentation to the affected areas.

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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 Kalahi-CIDSS Bicol to conduct O&M Training in 39 municipalities, adds 8 more for Makilahok

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS) trains Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Groups in 39 Local Government Units (LGUs) in the Bicol Region.

The training aims to enhance the capacity of O&M groups in performing their roles in the operations of the community projects built through the DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS in a sustained manner and effectively provide services to the community.

As of November 28, 2018, the program has completed a total of 2,672 community projects in Bicol Region. The operations and maintenance are both handled by O&M groups either organized into associations or committees of the LGUs.

“This capability-building activity will not only enrich the knowledge and skills of the O & M groups in the planning development but also enhance the capacity of these committees in mobilizing and managing their resources for their community projects,” Director Arnel Garcia said.

The municipalities that will undergo training are the following:

Province Municipality
Catanduanes Bato
San Andres
Sorsogon Bulusan
Albay Daraga
Sto. Domingo
Camarines Sur San Jose
Masbate Pio V. Corpus
Camarines Norte Basud
Sta. Elena
Jose Panganiban
San Vicente

The municipalities were identified based on the Sustainability Evaluation Test (SET) results, the capacity of O&M groups and income generating projects.

The training with a total budget of Php 13,422,065.00 will tackle seven (7) sessions such as Diagnosing Functionality of O&M group, Revisiting Committee Purpose and Work Plan, Membership Development, Technical Aspect for O&M, Resource Mobilization and Management, Monitoring and O&M Planning.

On the other hand, DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS added eight (8) more municipalities for the Strengthening Community Participation in Local Development Training also known as Makilahok.

“We included eight (8) LGUs in addition to the 15 LGUs to gain more support on the institutionalization of Community-Driven Development (CDD) at the barangay development planning and budgeting process,” Dir. Garcia explained.

The additional municipalities were LGU Sta. Elena in Camarines Norte, LGUs Bato, Baao, Bula, Calabanga in Camarines Sur, LGUs Barcelona, Sta. Magadalena and Prieto Diaz in Sorsogon.

The original LGUs were Manito and Jovellar in Albay, Jose Panganiban and San Vicente in Camarines Norte, Cabusao, Minalabac, Gainza, Canaman and Ocampo in Camarines Sur, Baras and Gigmoto of Catanduanes, Mobo and Palanas in Masbate and Irosin and Gubat in Sorsogon.

Makilahok started from October 2018 while the O&M Training will be conducted on the first week of December. Both training initiatives will end on December 15, 2018.


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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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Steadfast community effort for refuge

Leona Ornido, a community volunteer helps her community by donating her real property to build the evacuation center community project.

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good,” Elizabeth Edwards, a best-selling author said.

Through the years, Bicol Region has been struck by disasters such as typhoons, heavy rains or volcanic eruption. For the community of Barangay Sta. Cruz, Ocampo, Camarines Sur, it is important for them to strengthen their preparedness in times of disasters considering the distance of their community from the town main district.

Located at the lower slopes of Mt. Isarog, Barangay Sta. Cruz is a 45-minute motorcycle ride from the town proper. Since the community continues to grow with over 59 households situated in Zone 6 of the barangay, there is a plight on securing safety of these people during disasters.

To ensure the wellbeing of the community, the people decided to build an evacuation center that will withstand a typhoon since most of the residents’ houses are made of light materials.

Through the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS), the barangay folks have built the infrastructure with their collective action yearning for the improvement of their community.

According to Leona Ornido, 64, community volunteer who helped built the evacuation enter, the building will also serve as a day care center so that the children won’t have to go to school at the town proper.

Nagsisilbi din itong day care center kasi kawawa naman ng mga bata at ang kanilang mga magulang kailangan pa nila bumiyahe ng malayo lalong lalo na tuwing tag-ulan (The building also serves as day care center because we think it will be of great use for the children and their parents so that they won’t have to travel for a long distance especially during the rainy season),” Ornido explained.

Seeing the project as a great need to solve the problem, Ornido donated her land to build the evacuation center.

Naisipan ko magdonate ng lupa upang makatulong ako sa kapwa ko kasi kung mayroong bagyo kahit saan tumatakbo ang mga tao para lang masiguro ang kaligtasan nila (I thought of donating my land to help my fellow folks so that they won’t have to go in different places just to ensure their safety),” the volunteer added.


The project implementation was never easy especially when their efforts were put to test. According to Julie Paz, 48, Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) chairperson, they have experienced a lot of struggles.

Ang naging problema namin ay ang panahon kasi yung kinalalagyan ng evacuation center ay malayo sa kalsada kaya tuwing tag-ulan hindi nai-dedeliver ang mga materyales kaya nagkaroon ng delay (One of the problems is the weather. Since the evacuation center is far from the main road, the contractor has difficulty in delivering the materials especially when it rains),” Paz expounded.

To solve the delay of delivery, the volunteers have planned different ways such as manual carrying of materials and scheduling of delivery in consideration of the weather condition.

Syempre, tao na lang gagawa, magtulung-tulong upang maipasok ang mga materyales at magawa ang project (Of course, we will be ones to implement so we just helped each other to construct the project),” the BSPMC chairperson stated.

For Paz, the folks have seen many changes in their barangay after they have implemented their community projects.

“Yung unang project namin na pathway doon sa Zone 4, mas bumilis ang labas ng produkto o paninda habang sa Zone 6 naman panatag ang loob ng mga pamilya na mayroon silang tatakbuhan na ligtas sila (Through the pathway we have constructed, we deliver our products easily to the town proper. For Zone 6, the families are confident that they have a shelter to go to during calamities),” Paz said.

Paz also added that she saw the prosperity in their community after they have implemented the project.

Sana hindi magsawang tumulong ang mga residentes kahit wala kaming natatanggap na anumang sweldo. Basta maisip lang namin na makatulong sa barangay at sa kapwa naming, okay na iyon (I hope the residents won’t stop from helping even though we don’t receive any salary. If we can help to the barangay and fellow residents, it’s okay for us),” the volunteer stated.

“Doble sipag, huwag magsawang tumulong (Double the efforts, don’t get tired of helping),” she advised.

The power to spring back from difficult situations has been part of our system but the capacity to mobilize a community for greater endeavor shows the true essence of humanity.   /23November2018/ramsertan

About DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS

Camarines Sur has implemented Kalahi-CIDSS in 35 municipalities with a total implementation grant of PhP 1,924,761,914.55 and local counterpart contribution of PhP 71,708,082.57 from barangay and municipal local government units (LGUs) to fund community-managed sub-projects.

DSWD had allocated Ocampo with PhP 60,928,835.00 with a counterpart from the LGU of Php 8,879,385.57.

The construction of evacuation center has a total project cost of PhP 1,863,500.73 which will benefit 59 households.

For more details about DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS, follow this link:





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