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The road most traveled

So near yet so far away.

The island barangay of Busing is only two nautical miles or 3.7 kilometers away from the town of San Pascual in Burias island of Masbate province.

Out of the 22 barangays of San Pascual, it is described to be one of the impoverished.

The sea surrounding Busing is a gift and a curse.

While most of its 450 households rely on fishing, the sea connecting the town and Busing becomes an impediment. Rough waters during the monsoon season and typhoon postpone the travel of the passengers heading to town.

It is only during a good weather that the residents of Busing can continue their trip to buy food supplies, sell goods, attend school and transact with offices.

According to Alona Morales, a local official of San Pascual, lack of access is the reason why the residents are deprived of opportunities.

The people are barely accustomed with this kind of life. They are only left with risky boat rides that will circumnavigate the Busing Island for about 45 minutes to get them to San Pascual’s trading center.

However, going to sitio Kibrada was a shorter route that leads them to the nearest part of Busing to town.

Mercy Aguilar, a native of Busing, said that she seldom take this way because of the muddy path in rainy season though it cuts off her total travel time.

The boat trip from Kibrada only takes five minutes where she does not worry of the turbulent sea.

Aguilar, 40, she cannot even attend school back when she was in high school since they need to go to San Pascual proper to attend high school.

The first breed of habal-habal drivers in Busing Island
With the construction of 1.24 kilometers concrete pathway in 2014 from Busing’s poblacion, Danao, to Kibrada, habal-habal is a hit livelihood in Busing.

Habal-habal or even known as “skylab” in other regions, is a hired motorcycle to transport public commuters. In other places, it can even transport up to 10 passengers but in Busing, there is a maximum of two.

Most people would agree to Aguilar and would opt to take this route, now, given the ease of developed means of transportation adopting the same practice as what they have seen in town.

Juvy Mahinay, one of the pioneer habal-habal drivers in Busing, said that he used to catch and sell fish for a living but he admitted it was not a regular source of income.

He was grateful to the first-ever concrete pathway in their village.

With a little background in driving a motorcycle, he started to carry most people from Danao to Kibrada that easily connects his passengers to the five-minute boat journey to the town.

He discovered that this was better than catching fish.

He and his colleagues would collect a fee of P20.00 per passenger while P5.00 for the students. Mahinay said that transportation is fast and easy most specially to the Busing students going to San Pascual National High School.

On a daily basis, he earns from P100.00 to P300.00 that can support his seven-month old baby and wife.

According to Mahinay, his regular earning can now sustain their daily expenses at home.

“May pangbagas na kami kasabay pa ang pang-gasolina (We can buy rice and also fuel),”he added.

To date, there are more than 20 habal-habal drivers in Busing. According to Mahinay’s mother, Nimfa, this created an alternative source of income for some who doesn’t know about fishing.

“Su nagtitios dati na dae tatao magdagat, su mayo talaga aram na trabaho, naga habal-habal, ngunyan nakakdelhensiya sinda (the poor who do not know fishing and whose unemployed are now earning from habal-habal),”she added.

The community grant of P600, 000.00 from Payapa at Masaganag Pamayanan (PAMANA), a modality of Kalahi-CIDSS, and the Php250,000.00 as the counterpart from the local government unit (LGU) of San Pascual.

Stories of change
Nimfa would spend P300.00 to get a rented boat for a roundtrip ride from sitio Danao to San Pascual town, but now, she can get to the same destination for P20.00 in sitio Kibrada as her jump off point with daily boat trips. Similarly, students heading to San Pascual only pay P10.00 each.

The new set of Busing’s barangay officials elected in 2013 became more participative and supportive to programs and projects coming to them. The construction of their concrete pathway was one of the community projects in which they are grateful most.

Nimfa, also a barangay official, encouraged other officials and the residents to continuously support the development in their community through their direct participation.

“Dae kita pwedeng magtamad ta yaon jan nakasalalay ang improvement kang barangay ta (We cannot be lazy because progress depends on us),”she added.

Aguilar, on the other hand, said that it takes 30 minutes to travel on foot from Danao to Kibrada but with the habal-habal, it is only five minutes.

She is also a volunteer of the concreting of their pathway who was involved in the implementation.
As a housewife and high school graduate, she appreciated the new learnings from the trainings she attended in relation to the implementation of their community project.

“Nakaaram po (I learned),”she said.

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DSWD- Bicol University inks MOA on Sustainable Livelihood Multi-Skills Training Program of Pantawid Pamilya Beneficiaries

Legazpi City-A partnership has been forged between DSWD and Bicol University on Sustainable Livelihood Multi-Skills Training program . The simple MOA signing was done during the RDC full council meeting today at the NEDA Regional Office, Arimbay Legazpi City.

The program aims to improve the socio-economic capacities of the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries by facilitating their access to micro enterprise development and employment opportunities.

“We want to provide a sustainable intervention to improve the well-being of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries by empowering the disadvantaged individuals through skills training assistance and entrepreneurial activities towards gainful employment “said Regional Director Arnel Garcia.

Some 300 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries will benefit the said program. Each trainee has an allocation of P 20,000 for the six-month training beginning June 2015. Meanwhile, a total of thirteen (13) short term training program will be implemented as follows;

1. Troubleshooting and Repair of Household Appliances
2. Basic Welding and Home Mechanics
3. Defensive Auto Driving
4. Gas Engine Servicing and Hauling
5. Motorcycle Servicing
6. Bread and Pastry Production (Basic Baking)
7. Bread and Pastry Production ( Advance Baking)
8. Food processing
9. Construction of men’s and ladies apparel
10. Rough Masonry
11. Beauty Care
12. Silk Screen Printing and Vinyl Sticker cutting
13. Practical Electricity

To ensure sustainability, each trainee shall be provided by DSWD with a livelihood kit to start up their own business/self-employment venture. Post-training assistance will be provided by the College of Industrial Technology to help trainees in further honing their skills. ##eacecilio/crbarrameda

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Gubatnon villagers foster peace

A community faces different threats to peace and security and a village in Gubat, Sorsogon faces the same ordeal.

In Pinontingan, a coastal village home to 1,342 residents, crime is rampant.

Most of its 335 households are storeowners, laborers and fishermen.

Pinontingan has two big schools namely, Bicol University Gubat Campus (BUGC) and Gubat North Central School (GNCS).

The Christ the King park and Gubat Saint Anthony Parish Church are both located in this part of the town.

Its proximity to the town welcomes different people and unknown visitors making it more difficult to secure the area.

The barangay council recorded 46 cases related to crime in 2012 and 2013 where physical injury and theft is very common.

“Base sa record, halangkaw ang karalitan (Based on the record, [the cases of] theft is high),” Brgy. Kgd. Nicanor Ermino, Peace and Order Committee chairman, said.

His two roosters worth of Php3,000.00 were respectively stolen in 2011 and 2012 by minors allegedly coming from another community.

Liberata Esquijo, another resident, claimed that her child’s six-month old bike was also stolen in 2012.

The barangay council admitted that their eight barangay tanods or the barangay police officers, who go on alternating schedules for duty, only reports from eight in the evening until midnight.

The daily honorarium of Php27.00 is a meager amount commensurate to their functions to keep peace and order in the community.

However, the construction of 12 units of street lighting this year and the installation of four units of closed-circuit television (CCTV) last year controlled criminal activities in Pinontingan.

Streetlights were evenly distributed in the darkest spots of its four puroks while the CCTV was placed in the most critical areas of the village namely, BUGC, GNCS, the streets of Burgos and Rizal which serves as the entry and exit to and from Pinontingan.

According to Brgy Capt. Ramon Farenas, the CCTV serves as the lookout for Pinontingan especially in the dead of the night.

“Nakadanon sa peace and order (It contributed to peace and order),” Carlos Estrellado, a community volunteer who helped in the construction of the abovementioned projects, said.

“Nakuha mi na ang gusto mi,” he added.

With the participation of the people in the identification of development interventions that will address their priorities, Estrellado was grateful of these new projects.

Similarly, Farenas appreciated the solar-powered streetlights because it illuminates the community even during brownouts.

Support from the barangay council and its residents
The barangay council of Pinontingan allotted Php5,000.00 for the operation and maintenance of the CCTV.

The council also provided a counterpart of Php90,000.00 out of the Php390,000.00 total project cost for the CCTV. Same amount of counterpart was also poured in by the barangay to complete the construction of the streetlights.

“I support the project for as long as my constituents will benefit from it,” Farenas added.

Through these projects, there was an increase in people’s participation in community activities and they are now helping.

“Naging cooperative na ang mga tao ta naimod na ninda ang mga benepisyo na makukua (The people became cooperative because they can see the benefits from the projects,” Estrellado added.

In addition, two of the members of the barangay council are assigned to check and monitor the recorded footages from the CCTV to check of any violence-related activities.

New learnings
The community volunteers are members of the Barangay Subproject Management Committee (BSPMC) elected through the barangay assembly to lead and manage the community projects to address the needs of the people.

The CCTV and streetlights were one of the development projects of Kalahi-CIDSS under Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) which ensures that peace is maintained in the community through greater community participation.

Marites Real, another community volunteer in Pinontingan, said that she will never forget the new learnings she reaped as a volunteer.

She became the Procurement Team member in the construction of their community projects.

Her main function was to facilitate the canvas of the materials and equipment needed for the CCTV and streetlights and serve the purchase order to the lowest responsive bidder.

Apart from that, she was delegated to take the minutes of their meeting to record all the agreements during the procurement of the projects.

Real was challenged by this new task assigned to her because she has no background in doing so. She was left with the choice to forcibly learn the skills of writing the document that will be part of the project’s completion.

Even though she disliked writing, she realized that she can do it for the benefit of their community.

“Dati di ako maaram pag minutes, pero at least niyan may idea na ako (I have no idea in [writing] minutes [of the meeting] but now at least I have an idea),” she explained.

She was able to improve her skills along with the other volunteers through the training in minutes writing which was conducted through Kalahi-CIDSS.

She kept the training materials for her future reference and guide that became handy during the actual application.

“Daghanon ang mga naaraman ko sa mga trainings and seminars bilang volunteer (I learned a lot from trainings and seminars as a volunteer),” she said.

Moreover, she attested that the residents like her are truly involved in all the processes for their community projects.

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Screening of Listahanan field staff applicants is on-going – DSWD

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office V announces that the screening of applicants under the Listahanan program is still on-going.

“Since we are on a massive hiring we are scheduling the applicants on a per batch basis” said Regional Director Arnel Garcia.

“We will shortlist once we finished interviewing all applicants. For the applicants please wait for the notification as to the schedule of your exam and interview. “explained Garcia

It may be recalled that early this year, DSWD Field Office 5 posted job vacancies for around 3,450 field staff comprised of 91 Area Coordinators, 453 Area Supervisors, 2266 Enumerators, and 320 Encoders and Verifiers for the conduct of the 2nd round of family assessment this semester.

This activity aims to update the list of poor families in the region. Through this assessment, a new batch of poor families will be identified and might become beneficiaries of social protection programs. This will also enable the department to track changes or developments in the lives of poor households who were identified in the previous assessment.

DSWD Bicol will cover 1.08 million households for this enumeration.

Listahanan is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are. The system makes available to national government agencies, local government units, and other social protection stakeholders a comprehensive list of poor families in need of assistance.

Screening and processing

All applicants will undergo examination and interview to ensure that the most qualified individuals will be hired. Screening is conducted at the DSWD Regional Office and will go down to the satellite offices in the provinces for the convenience of the applicants.

“ We want to work with competent and dedicated individuals because the task requires commitment to maintain the highest quality standard of generating correct, complete, and credible information from the respondents” Garcia said.

Once hired, they will be given intensive training on their specific roles in the assessment. They will also be deployed in areas where they are not from to ensure objectivity in conducting the assessment.

In 2009, DSWD Bicol identified 461,242 poor households out of the 775, 014 assessed all over the region.###crbarrameda

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A Mother’s dream

Bernas Family

Gina L. Bernas is a housewife of five children, two boys and three girls. She lives with her husband Michael, 34, in a small wooden shanty in far-flung area in Barangay Mampirao, Caramoan, Camarines Sur.

The thirty-four year old mother and her husband were not able to finish her college degree. More so, they do not have a regular income so they needed to make both ends meet only to feed their children.

According to Gina, as she is fondly called-off by her friends, inch by inch they were able to attain progress when they become beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of Department of Social Welfare and Development in Bicol.

“Sa tunay po, malaki po ang naitulong ng programa. Tios po kami ki maray. Maski singko dai ako nakatao sa mga aki ko paduman sinda sa eskwelahan. Pero, sa Pantawid Pamilya, nabudget ko su cash grant na nareresibe para sa pangurualdaw na pangangaipo nin aki ko sa eskwelahan, [Honestly, the program is a big help to us. We are living in dire poverty. Before, I cannot even provide a P5 coin for my children when they are going to school. But through Pantawid Pamilya, I was able to budget the cash grant we received and allotted money for their daily needs in school],” Gina said in teary eyes.

Keeping the family needs

In order to aid the needs of the her children, her husband works as a tenant in the farm while Gina would have to walk for hours and hop from her neighbor’s house to the other to sell repacked chlorine. She also do laundry job. Their earnings are a little more than P2,000 a month, barely enough to cover the family’s basic needs.

As a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program — a conditional cash transfer program that aims to improve the education and health of children aged 0-18, the family received cash assistance every month.

Under Pantawid Pamilya, family beneficiaries received assistance of P500 grant in health; and P300 (elementary) or P500 (high school) grant in education with a maximum of three children per family. In the said barangay a total of 67 pantawid pamilya households benefitted from the said program.

Gina says that receiving cash assistance has gone a long way towards helping the family to meet their needs. “At least po, diit na sana ang mga bayadan sa eskwelahan tapos su natatada pwede na matipon or pambakal pagkaon o ano pang pangangaipo [At least, it decreases our expenses in paying the tuition fees of our children and other school fees and the money can be saved or allocated in food and other needs],” she stated. Besides that, her children’s education and health gets better.

Su mga aki ko desidido magklase kaya kami pursegido na patapuson sindang maabot pangarap ninda sa maski anong paagi, [My children are determined to finish their education that is why we will do everything to finish their education and attain their dreams],” she added.

More changes happen

Before Pantawid Pamilya came, Gina was a victim of physical abuse.

As she recalls, there are time that her husband get jealous to people close to her, and her husband would hurt her.

“May pangyayari na sinakal niya ako, hindi ako makahinga, hindi ko maalala na detalye pero puro pasa ako sa katawan. [There is an instance that he tried to strangle me and I got suffocated. Then, I cannot remember the full detail but I got bruises in my body],” she revealed.

It was a big challenge to her to face such trials but Gina did not stop to deliberately alter her husband’s character and point of view.

The Family Development Session (FDS) – a monthly activity being conducted to beneficiaries where educational, interpersonal, interactive and adult learning engagement are conducted aiming to empower and strengthen the relationship and ties among family members and the community enables her family to have a better communication and relationship.

During one of the sessions Gina was able to acquire knowledge on her rights as a woman and what she could able to do to protect herself and avoid such kind of maltreatment.

“Patuloy kong sinishare sa agom ko su mga naukudan ko sa FDS pag may oras kami mag-uron tapos minsan siya ang pipa-attend ko nin session kesa sako, [I continuously share to my husband what I have learned during FDS and when we have time to talk to each other. Sometimes, I let him attend the session instead of me],” Gina stated. On the latter, the relationship of the couple improved.

Currently, as to Gina, her husband is more understanding. They would also prefer to talk and discuss things before any arguments or misunderstandings would ignite.

Looking forward for better future

What Gina hopes for her and children is to finish their education. She does not want the same thing that happens to her instead she wants her children to attain their dreams to become professionals someday. She also has a dream to have a sustained living to continuously provide her children’s educational needs.

“Minsan po umiiyak ako sa gabi nagiisip kung paano ko tutulungan ang mga anak ko. Naisip ko na mag-aral ng vocational kung may oportunidad para kumita ng malaki o magkaroon ng regular na income. Pero sa ngayon ang focus ko ay gawin ang lahat na kaya ko para sa pangangailangan ng mga anak ko, [Sometimes I cried at night thinking on what would I do to help my kids. I thought of having a vocational class if there is an opportunity to get higher income or regular income. But now, my focus is to do the best that I can to earn to sustain my family’s needs],” she said.

Gina added that things are possible if we have determination in life. She may have a long way to go to continuously improve her family’s living condition but the face of hope and determination can be seen in her eyes to pursue her dreams to her family. “Aram ko po sipag at tiyaga lang makakamtan din namin ang ginahawa, [I know through diligence and perseverance we can attain a better living],” she ended.***G.A.N.Lindio, Information Officer, Pantawid Pamilya

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Adoptive parents hare experiences

In line with this year’s celebration of the National Adoption Consciousness Week, the DSWD Field Office 5 conducted an adoption forum held last February 14, 2015 at the POPCOM, Regional Office 5, Legazpi City. The activity was intended for couples who have adopted children to get together and share their experiences, challenges and the joy of parenting an adoptive child.

This year’s theme for the week’s celebration is “Legal na Ampon Ako: Anak na Totoo” sends the message that there is no distinction in adopted children or biological children as the law accords them equal rights; that direct placement of children for adoption must be presented and that couples must not allow themselves to receive children through independent placement only to later legalize the child’s adoption.

Mr. Kenjie Andal, an adoptive father of a two year old girl shared his and his wife’s journey in building their home through adoption. With no reservation, he started his sharing from the issues of infertility which had basically hindered them in embarking at an early start of parenting. He shared the pains of infertility, the time of having no child almost their marriage. Despite the turbulent issues between them, Kenjie and his wife, Stephanie, found support to each other and the coming of their daughter “Rain” revived the flame of joy and enthusiasm in their home as parents to a child they have longed for.

It is a reality that adoptive parents are anxious or uncertain in telling adoption to the adoptive child and how the latter will react. However, it is a must that children should know their backgrounds and that the adoptive parents must be prepared to handle possible issues relative to the disclosure. Trust is important. It is crucial in building an honest and strong relationship between the adopted child and the adoptive parents. Adoptive parents are encouraged to tell about adoption as early as possible to condition the child about his background so that in the course of his/her growing up, the child is able to live in an environment where love and security is fostered.

Hearing the thoughts and perception of adoptive parents is heartwarming. One young adoptive couple expressed their happiness of having a baby girl in their life. She considers her a blessing, a realization of their fondest dream. “We will ensure that she is truly loved and be provided with security blanket that will protect her from any threat or being abandoned again.”
While there is much joy in adoptive parenting, issues on adoption procedures and court fees were some issues raised by the adoptive couples. They are advocating to the DSWD to have the adoption process, shorter, be it easier and not so tedious. Likewise, they are seeking the assistance of the department to help lobby with concern agencies to reduce the adoption fee.

Adoptive parents among themselves can be strong support among themselves. The DSWD assures them that the department is always ready available for support when needed in their journey as adoptive families. Way forward in the realm of adoption is the building of support groups by organizing the adoptive couples and be registered to assume a legal personality to become DSWD’s partners in alternative parental care and advocacy.###mpaeste/eejerusalem

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DSWD 5 holds consultation meeting with CSOs

About 15 civil society organizations (CSO’s) from the different parts of the region attended the consultation workshop organized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development held recently at Fiesta Ballroom, Legazpi City.

DSWD Director Arnel Garcia said that the activity is one of the government’s commitments to integrate citizen’s participation in the budget process as a means of enhancing transparency and accountability in the allocation of public funds. It likewise aims to establish formal agreement with prospective civil society organizations and other stakeholders in the preparation and submission of the annual budget proposal.

There are about 24 civil society organizations who are in close partnership/coordination in line with the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and 12 Social Welfare and Development Agencies (SWADAS) licensed and registered.

Garcia said that the CSOs involvement in the implementation of social protection program is in line with the directive of Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s public – private partnership in fulfilling his platform of good governance and poverty reduction. # # # eejerusalem

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Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries leads access to medicines

At Barangay Colongcogong, Caramoan, Camarines Sur, beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of Department of Social Welfare and Development leads the way to easily access medicines to their community folks.

Over the past years, all residents in the community have no access to medicines. With this, they resorted for alternative medicines and herbals to cure for their ailing children and parents.

Kaipuhan me pa po magtravel nin harayo, magbangka, asin magbalyo sa kaatubang mi na probinsya sa San Andres, Catanduanes para makabakal nin gamot [I needed to travel long distances, ride on a boat and cross in our neighboring province in San Andres, Catanduanes to buy for medicines],” said Ningning C. Dizon, 35, resident.

According to Ningning as she is fondly called-off by her neighbors, since then, it had been their cry until the government reached their community. “Sa tabang po nin Pantawid Pamilya nakaisip kami na mag-kaigwa nin 4Ps botika para makatabang sa gabos na pamilya digdi [Through the help of Pantawid Pamilya we were able to put up a 4Ps botika to help every family here],” she added.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or conditional cash transfer is a program that invests in human capital that is contributory to poverty-reduction. It provides cash grants of P500 in health and P300 (elementary) or P500 (high school) in education for a family that has three children, ages 0-18, enrolled in the program.

Putting it up

It all started in a Family Development Session (FDS) – a monthly activity being conducted under the said program that serves as a venue for educational, interpersonal, interactive and adult learning engagement that aims to empower and strengthen the relationship and ties among family members and the community.

Saro sa mga topic me sa FDS po ay kung ano ang pangarap mi sa samuyang pamayanan, kaya naisip mi na magkaigwa na kaini [One of the topic in FDS is our dream in our community which made us think of organizing this],” said Rossi Ortiz, one of the beneficiaries who lead the project.

Since the value of health is also being inculcated to the recipients of the program, the beneficiaries identified and agreed to put up the said botika reaching every household in the community.

Nagtanom kami ki gulay sa bakuran mi tapos sa mga bakanteng lote para kumita na nagsilbi man na pambakal mi nin gamot tapos pinapabakal mi [We plant vegetables in our backyard and in vacant lots to earn. Then, our earnings serve as our fund to start to buy medicines and sell it],” Rossi said.

Starting a capital of P500 they were able to buy some sorts of medicines like paracetamol, ibuprofen, mefenamic acid, antibiotic, salbutamol and carbocistein, which help to cure simple illnesses like flu, fever, colds, cough, migraine, heart burn and stomach aches.

Nagpasalamat kami ta grabe an tabang kaini sa samuyang pamilya, [We are thankful because it helps a lot to our family],” Rossi added.

Expanding and Plans

At present, they (beneficiaries) tried to expand their botika by selling school supplies and foot wears.

In addition to their capital, they also continuously plant vegetables to raise their current savings of P5,000. “Balak mi po na padakulaon pa ini ta pangarap mi po na magka-igwa ki water system. Mahirap po an tubig mi digdi ta isla po an barangay mi [We plan to raise more money because we also dream to have a water system. Water is difficult here since we are an island barangay],” Ningning said with full of determination.

Lending Help

Apart from the health benefits that the botika provided to the residents, last December 2012, they (beneficiaries) shared their blessings through conducting gift giving activity in the community.

Nagtao po kami ki mga school supplies, grocery items sa 46 non-pantawid beneficiaries para ibalik man ang mga natangap mi na blessings sa kapwa mi po. Ma-ugma po na makatabang [We give school supplies and grocery items to 46 non-pantawid beneficiaries to return back the blessing we received. We are happy to help],” Ningning humbly said.

Here, the resident made a conscious effort of using their resources to help their community, they see’s their social responsibility in order to attain development. As Ningning stated “Kung aasahan mi po kaya su cash grant na titao samuya, talaga kulang po ito sa pagkabuhay mi. Kaya dapat sabayan nin pagpursige na guminhawa ang buhay [If we will only rely on the cash grants provided to us, truly it will not suffice our daily needs that is why we need to add perseverance to improve our life],” she ended.***GANLindio, Pantawid Information Officer

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