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The Ripple Effect in San Jose

Ryan Homan, 32, head teacher and little volunteers of San Jose Elementary School show others that age does not matter in helping the community through education.

When you volunteer, you already have an idea of what kind of community you wanted to live in. You also have the volition to serve other people because of your unending love for your family, friends and village.

According to Martin Luther King, Jr., a renowned leader of civil rights movement, everybody can be great because anybody can serve. He also said we don’t have to have a college degree to serve. We don’t have to make our subject and our verb agree to serve. We don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. We only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

Volunteerism does not require how much you earned or what degree you’ve finished. If you have the heart and soul to serve, nobody can question your abilities to help others. Even if you cannot read or unable to walk, nobody can stop you to serve.

This is what Barangay San Jose of Donsol, Sorsogon showed when they were given the chance to create improvements in their village.

Barangay San Jose is a 45-minute travel from the Donsol town main business district through “habal-habal” or motorcycle ride, a mode transportation widely used when going to the village. One of barangay’s salient features considering its surroundings is the hanging bridge overlooking its beautiful sparkling river.

Other than its serene environment, the people of Barangay San Jose do not fail to flash their warm smiles as you cross the hanging bridge.

From the bridge, you will see a bamboo raft painted in color green with Balsa (raft) Basa (read) Project signage which is parked by the riverbank.

The raft is used to reach households living along the riverbank to teach children on how to read or improve their comprehension skills.


Started in 2013, the Balsa Basa Project is a floating school and library to reach children in far-flung areas who cannot go to school or must walk for one-hour just to reach the school. During weekends, students of Barangay San Jose Elementary School called as “little teachers” help fellow children to read. They would bring books, supplies and food when going to the distant neighborhoods.

Naisipan ko na mag-initiate ng ganitong gawain na mag-volunteer kasi nakita ko yung hirap ng kanilang buhay (I initiate this activity to help communities because I have observed the difficulties they have experienced),” Ryan Homan, 32, head teacher of San Jose Elementary School and founder of Balsa Basa project.

According to Homan, the children who benefitted from this project are also happy to come to school. He also said that they were able to encourage parents to allow their children to study and go to school.

Nag-increase na yung cooperation ng mga magulang, almost 100% na through Bayanihan system (Parents’ cooperation has increased to almost 100% through collective action),” he added.

Karen Toledo, 13, student of San Jose Elementary School shared her experience as little teacher or volunteer for the project.

Nagsimula ako maging little teacher nung makita ko yung mga bata na hindi pa masyadong marunong magbasa kaya nagpursige ako na matutong magbasa para ako ang magturo sa kanila (I started as a little teacher because I saw that there are children who don’t know how to read properly so I tried my best to learn reading to teach them),” Toledo recounted.

Toledo also shared her dream as a teacher.

Gusto ko maging guro katulad ni Sir Ryan na nagtuturo sa mga bata na hindi pa marunong magbasa (I want to be a teacher like Sir Ryan who educates children who doesn’t know how to read),” she explained.

According to Toledo, she became more active as a little teacher because she saw how effective the project to children who wants to learn reading.

Last January, the first Balsa Basa Festival was organized in celebration of 5th anniversary of the project. It is a week-long event recognizing the efforts of the volunteers, parents, teachers and students who contributed to the improvement of their village.

Some of the activities conducted were Karera ng mga Balsa (race using rafts), Street Dancing Competitions, Musikang Pang-Kabataan (Music for Youth), Street Presentation and Motorcade. This is to promote tourism as well as inspire other communities that reading can be made possible even in impoverished villages.

Aside from the floating school and library, the village put up a vegetable garden upon entering the school premises. The vegetables were used during the feeding program of the school.

Located at the center side, a nipa hut was constructed for students when they read books in their free time. To appreciate the beauty of nature, a reading garden was set up for students who love flowers and plants while reading their books. On the other hand, a ship-like classroom called “Bangkaaraman” was built to cater to students in kindergarten on learning the letters of the Alphabet.


To further help the village, Homan is also the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) chairman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS).

DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS is a poverty alleviation program which uses the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach to empower barangays or municipalities in achieving improved access to services and to participate in more inclusive local planning, budgeting and implementation.

The community experienced difficulties in traveling because of their muddy terrain. Seeing this as a need to solve, the village members decided to construct a concrete pathway through the program.

According to Homan, it was very tough to encourage people to volunteer for this kind of endeavor.

Mahirap mag-convince, naghahanap buhay sila kaya wala silang time (It is difficult to convince people because they are working so they don’t have time for other activities),” he explained.

But the teacher realized that we only need one person to initiate the project to persuade others in helping for the community.

Kailangan lang na may isang tao na mag-iinitiate ng isang aktibidad para maraming tao ang gumaya (We only need one person to start the activity so that many people will join),” the BSPMC chairman advised.

May naka-kwentuhan akong nanay, willing siya na mag-volunteer kasi ang sarap sa pakiramdam na makatulong sa isang gawain nang libre para sa komunidad (I had talked with a mother and she is willing to volunteer because it is fulfilling to help for free in an activity that will improve our community),” he continued.

To Homan, it is important to inculcate to fellow citizens and youth the spirit of volunteerism.

Nagkaroon ng mindset tungkol sa pag-vovolunteer na ito ay isang napakagandang kaugalian na i-inculcate sa mga ka-baryo at kabataan kasi ito lang yung kaugaliang Pilipino na ipagmamalaki natin para mapadali ang ating gawain at maging successful ang ating activity (The community realized that the spirit of volunteerism is a good value to instill to fellow barrio folks and youth because it is one of the values of a Filipino we can boast of for the success of any activity),” Homan stated. #FSRAMS18June2018

About DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS

Sorsogon has implemented Kalahi-CIDSS in 14 municipalities with a total implementation grant of Php 649,008,985.02 and local counterpart contribution of Php 14,435,890.96 from barangay and municipal local government units (LGUs) to fund community-managed sub-projects.

DSWD had allocated Donsol with Php 62,554,951.58 with a counterpart from the LGU of Php 468,806.00.

The construction of 450-meter concrete pathway has a total project cost of Php 572,588.00 which benefitted 35 households.

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

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Nine community volunteer groups recognized at 5th Regional Bayani Ka! Awards

Legazpi City –The Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS) Region V held its annual Regional Bayani Ka! Awards at Casablanca Hotel, Legazpi City, Albay last June 14.

The Bayani Ka! Awards is the highest recognition for volunteers who took the initiative in improving their communities. The annual recognition also aims to develop a pool of champions that will help in promoting the program.

Volunteer groups were nominated by the Area Coordinating Teams (ACT) in different municipalities implementing DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS. The nomination is based on the impact and engagement of the volunteer groups actively participating in the implementation of the program.

These organizations were classified according to their category such as gender and development, elderly, youth, promotion of just peace, sustained community volunteer group, persons with disability (PWD), improved local governance, indigenous peoples’ welfare and environment protection.

The nominations were judged through a desk review conducted last April 24. The technical working group is composed of partner-agency representatives and selected DSWD workers.

Winners has received a development incentive worth Php 10,000.00 which will be added to their group’s developmental funds.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Gender and Development Category

WINNER: Haluban BSPMC – Brgy. Haluban, Lupi, Camarines Sur

Elderly Category

WINNER: Pinontingan Senior Citizen’s Organization – Brgy. Pinontingan, Gubat, Sorsogon

Youth Category

Winner: Youth Task Force – Brgy. Poblacion Central, Barcelona, Sorsogon

Promotion of Just Peace

Winner: San Jose BSPMC – Brgy. San Jose, Lupi, Camarines Sur

Sustained Community Volunteer Group Category

Winner: Lumbang Water System Association (LUWASA) – Brgy. Lumbang, Pilar, Sorsogon

Persons with Disability (PWD) Category

Winner: Lantangan BSPMC – Brgy. Lantangan, Mandaon, Masbate

Improved Local Governance Category

Winner: Ilaor Norte Barangay Local Government Unit – Brgy. Ilaor Norte, Oas, Albay

Indigenous Peoples’ Welfare Category

Winner: Agta-Tabangnon – Brgy. Salog, Goa, Camarines Sur

Environment Protection Category

Winner: Rural Workers’ Organization of Brgy. San Ramon – Brgy. San Ramon, Barcelona, Sorsogon


For more information, you may visit the official Facebook page: @dswdfo5 or DSWD Region V.

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DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS conducts advocacy training for CDD Institutionalization

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS) organized the Strategic Planning for Legislative Advocacy at AGM Beachfront Resort, Donsol, Sorsogon last May 28 – May 31 this year.

The training was attended by 30 Social Marketing Officers (SMOs), Project Development Officers (PDOs) and Administrative Assistants (AAs) of the program as they have a vital role in organizing lobby groups and supporting the passage of Community Driven Development (CDD) ordinances at the barangay and municipal levels.

This four-day workshop aimed at directing social marketing activities and campaigns towards the adoption of CDD in the local development process.

CDD is being operated on the principles of transparency, participation, accountability, community empowerment and enhanced local capacity.

The strategic planning was held in Donsol, Sorsogon as its Local Government Unit (LGU) has already adopted the CDD approach in their local development plan. They have created the Office of the Barangay Affairs to monitor the development programs of the government and private organizations.

This Office of the Barangay Affairs also focused on creating a database containing the salient information about the communities and their needs as identified by these barangays to address their critical poverty condition.

Through this, the LGU of Donsol is a good case study as basis for legislative advocacy to create strategic plan towards the institutionalization of CDD on the LGUs.

During the workshop, Usec. Luzviminda Ilagan of Office of the Undersecretary for Legislative Liaison Affairs and Special Presidential Directives in Mindanao Region discussed the lobbying experience at the national level.

Meanwhile, Ruperto Sabalo Jr., a SMO of Region I also shared his lobbying background at the municipal level.

To provide a deeper context on the adoption of CDD approach, the SMOs conducted a focus group discussion with Mayor Josephine Alcantara-Cruz, local chief executive (LCE) of Donsol, Sorsogon.

During the interface, Mayor Cruz described how she was able to understand the community empowerment activity cycle (CEAC) process, a unique aspect of the program that helps community members to be part in the local planning, budgeting and implementation.

“I see Kalahi as a university of barrio folks because it teaches communities how to handle a project in uplifting their living condition through its trainings,” she said.

To further intensify the support for CDD institutionalization, the SMOs created its advocacy action plans anchored on the national objectives considering their regional settings and needs.

A nationwide activity is set to be conducted this month as part of the celebration of the program which was launched last June 23, 2014 in Ormoc City.

DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS will run until 2019, targeting to benefit approximately 5.3 million households with a total project cost of PhP 43.9 billion. #PRRAMS03June2018

For more information, you may visit the official Facebook page: @dswdfo5 or DSWD Region V.

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Bicol celebrates World Day Against Child Labor in Cam Norte

Daet, Camarines Norte—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region V together with the International Labour Organization (ILO) officials, BAN Toxics and its partners; Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the local government units (LGUs) and its barangays will celebrate the World Day Against Child Labor (WDACL) in Villa Mila Hotel on May 30, 2018.

The WDACL theme is: Ligtas sa Paggawa, Malusog na Batang Malaya (Generation Safe and Healthy).

WDACL campaign focuses on the need to end child labor and to improve the safety and health of young workers as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is an annual event to spread awareness about the negative impacts of child labor and how to address it by underscoring existing strategies and initiatives.

Currently, DSWD, ILO, Bantoxics is implementing the Strategic Helpdesks for Information, Education, Livelihood and other Developmental Interventions (SHIELD) project for Child Laborers in three municipalities with the highest cases of child labor, namely, Labo, Jose Panganiban and Paracale which started in June last year.

For this year, SHIELD implementers will covey a WDACL summit that will engage 200 child laborers and stakeholders including their families, miners and financiers from the six pilot villages implementing SHIELD, namely, Malaya and Dalas in Labo, Sta. Rosa Sur and Luklukan Sur in Jose Panganiban and Palanas and Tawig in Paracale.

Activities include Literary and Arts workshops, Family Development Session (FDS) and forum on the following topics: Occupational Safety and Health in Small Scale Mining, Child Labor Situationer, Formulation of Commitment.

A press conference will be conducted at 11:00am to12:00 noon tomorrow.

On the other hand, a storybook will be produced from the literary and art workshops that will be presented tomorrow as part of the culminating activity. The storybook will be distributed to the mining areas as part of the project’s advocacy material.

The key guests and speakers are Child Labor Officer CARING-GOLD Mining Project Arlene Taguba, BAN Toxics Program Manager Sarah Marie Aviado, DSWD Social Technology Bureau Chief Marilyn Moral, DOLE Assistant Regional Director Rovelinda Dela Rosa, Jose Panganiban Mayor Ricarte Padilla, Labo Mayor Joseph Ascutia, Paracale Mayor Lourdes Briguerra and Gov. Jonah Pimentel.

SHIELD utilizes a three-pronged approach and multi-layered strategies to help eliminate child labor, particularly its worst forms and those in the blanket ban (below 15 years old). These approaches and strategies are reflected in the three (3) project components: Child Labor Local Registry (CLLR), Barangay Help Desk on Child Labor and Organizing, Advocacy and Capability Building.

This year, the DSWD through the SHIELD project has provided educational assistance for the first quarter with a total of PhP117,000.00. Each child is entitled to PhP500.00 per child every month.

The LGUs already formed SHIELD Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), developed and pre-tested CLLR tools, designated SHIELD help desk persons in all six pilot barangays, profiled child laborers and their families and passed their Barangay Resolution in the adoption SHIELD. To date, there were 264 validated of the 274 recorded child laborers, 78 of which received educational assistance from DSWD while the 102 children were withdrawn from the mining activities.

SHIELD is being implemented not only in Bicol but also in Region IV-A and Region VIII as pilot areas in the whole country.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) 2011 data, Bicol has the highest number of child laborer in the country with 218,400 or 10.4% if the 2.1 million child laborers.

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Continuing one’s love for the community

Dolores Brijuega, one of the community volunteers of Barangay Ilaor Norte, Oas, Albay is committed in maintaining the drainage canal sub-project to assure the cleanliness of their neighborhood.

The drive to help the community is one of the most difficult things to sustain especially when you also have so many different priorities in life such as family and career. But according to Cesar Chavez, an American labor leader, we cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity of our community.

He also added that our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.

Coretta King, wife of 1960s civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., also said that the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.

Many people from different races, religion and gender had proved that collective action is important in the community to take a big leap to a better future wherein the residents of Barangay Ilaor Norte attested to that belief.

Barangay Ilaor Norte is one of the biggest barangays in the municipality of Oas. The neighborhood is located near the central business district area of the municipality.

According to Lilia Rances, barangay captain of Ilaor Norte, the community has experienced three (3) main problems such as poverty, health and cleanliness.

Since the barangay only receives minimal Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), they only prioritize the projects that they can cover.

Kaunti lang naman ang mga nakalaan na mga gagastusan. Kaya nga nung nakasali kami sa Kalahi, guminhawa na yung mga namomobrelema (Before, we can only cover a number of projects, with the inclusion in the Kalahi program, most of the people were able to experience comfort),” she explained.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS) is a poverty alleviation program of the Philippine government.

It uses the community-driven development (CDD) approach, a globally recognized strategy for achieving service delivery, poverty reduction and good governance outcomes. The program also encourages barangays or communities to participate in more inclusive local planning, budgeting and implementation.

In 2015, the community’s drainage canal was included in the prioritized sub-projects of the program in the municipality.

During the construction of the sub-project, not all people supported the intervention. With the complementation of the community volunteers and barangay council, they explained to the residents the importance of the program to the community.

Yung mga iba [residentes] ayaw ipagalaw yung mga lugar na dapat pagtrabahuhan namin. Sa mabuting pakiusap, naipaliwanag namin sa kanila ang magandang resulta (Some of the residents do not like to dismantle their respective areas to give way for the construction. Through dialogue, we have explained to them the good results.),” Rances explained.

“Sabi ko, pinapaganda natin yung canal para continuous ang flow ng tubig at naiintindihan naman nila (I also said [to them] that we are constructing a drainage system for the continuous flow of wastewater.),” the barangay captain expounded.

To ensure that transparency on the construction of drainage canal, the volunteers together with the barangay council continuously update the residents through the barangay assembly.

Nagpapatawag kami ng barangay assembly para maintindihan nila [residentes] kung saan galing itong patrabahong ito kaya sinasabi ko sa kanila na dapat maki-alam sila. (We are conducting barangay assembly to explain to the residents about the program and how we were able to acquire the funds for the construction so I said to them that they have the right to know),” she explained.

“Gusto naming [barangay council] na-iinvolve sila kasi partners kami (We want the residents to involve themselves in the community activities),” Rances furthered.


Upon the completion of the sub-project, the community oversees the maintenance of the drainage system to avoid floods in times of heavy rains. The Red Cross is a community-based organization of the volunteers who continues to clean, dredge and unclog the canal every month as part of their endeavors in the neighborhood.

Isa pa sa na very appreciative pa po ang mga kababayan naming dito dahil we have a certain group na Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries na nasa ilalim din ng DSWD ay nagkakaroon sila ng monthly na clean and green program (One thing that the community is very appreciative are the group of 4Ps beneficiaries under DSWD who also conducts monthly clean and green program),” Celia Ragot, barangay councilor said.

Aside from the Red Cross and 4Ps beneficiaries, the youth also renders community service in which cleaning the canal is part of its activities.

Sa ngayon po na climate change na po tayo, ang pina-prioritize na din po naming ay yung kapaligiran naming na maging malinis kaya itong drainage system na ito ay siguradong mapapangalagaan naming ng maigi (Since we are experiencing climate change, we also prioritize the surroundings wherein we are trying to maintain the cleanliness of the drainage system and we assure [you] that we will take care good of it),” she elucidated.

Ragot also added, “Kasi po sa ngayon, collective na ang service naming na ibinibigay sa pamamagitan ng paglinis ng kapaligiran. (As of now, we are giving collective service like cleaning for the environment.)

The service for the community does not only ends within the residents. The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) of the barangay also gave assistance for the cleanliness of the neighborhood.

“It started in the last part of 2017. Nagbigay sila ng pondo para sa beautification at clean and green program kung saan pinadaan nila ito sa contest sa taga-purok. (It started in the last part of 2017. They gave funds for the beautification and clean and green program in which they conducted a contest per zone),” the barangay councilor said.

Ragot assured the OFWs have promised to continue giving their support to the barangay to continue the clean and green program.

Naging aware na sila [OFWs] na maganda pala na makita nila ang barangay na malinis lalo na tuwing mayroong contest. Naisip nila na may katuturan pala ang paglilinis ng kapaligiran (The OFWs became aware that the barangay is indeed beautiful when it is cleaned especially during contests. They also thought that there is significance in cleaning the surroundings),” Ragot added.

Likewise, Dolores Brijuega, 59 years old, president of Red Cross Organization as well as a community volunteer of their barangay shared her experience in maintaining the cleanliness of their sub-project.

Pagkatapos ng bagyo, tinitingnan namin kung may nasira sa drainage canal. Rinereport naming rin sa barangay kung mayroong sira dahil mapapaayos ang drainage para walang ma-stagnant na tubig, (After the typhoon, we inspect the drainage for any damages. Then, we report it to the barangay if there are findings to avoid stagnant water),” Brijuega said.

Brijuega also added that she would often call for a meeting with the members of Red Cross Organization and other 4Ps beneficiaries to discuss the scheduling of weekly maintenance.

Masaya rin kami kasi mayroon ng nagbibigay na dito snacks matapos namin maglinis. (We are also happy because there are people who gave us, snacks after cleaning the canal),” she narrated.

The volunteer also imparted her message to fellow volunteers in serving the community.

Ang masasabi ko lang sa kapwa volunteers ay pagbutihan lang nila, at i-maintain ang magandang asal para sa komunidad (For my fellow volunteers, continue to serve and maintain the good deeds for the community),” she noted.

Due to the unwavering love for the community, all sectors despite differences continue to provide collective action not just because for the improvement but the sense of fulfillment.

Fulfillment is not seen through the success of the barangay but the immeasurable smiles of the people as they greet each other every morning. #FSRAMS17May2018

About DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS

Albay has implemented Kalahi-CIDSS in eight (8) municipalities with a total implementation grant of Php 363,564,740.69 and local counterpart contribution of Php 8,418,938.69 from barangay and municipal local government units (LGUs) to fund community-managed sub-projects.

DSWD had allocated Oas with Php 40,000,000.00 with a counterpart from the LGU of Php 1,400,746.42

The construction of 1.867.5 linear-meter drainage canal has a total project cost of Php 2,742,388.80.

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

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100 teenagers attend DSWD’s first youth forum in Bicol on safer internet usage

Naga City—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region V convened more than 100 youths in the first youth forum on safer internet usage last May 18, 2018 at Prime Days Hotel and Restaurant.

Camarines Sur had notable cases involving online sexual exploitation of children. In 2016, there were four cases of child pornography recorded in the said province.

The said forum aims to mitigate child pornography by educating minors about online child safety. Teenagers were invited from 19 out of 27 barangays in Naga City to attend the one-day forum.

Julyka Mae Reola, 17, of Brgy. Mabolo, Naga City, is one of the youth attendees who said that the youth should be cautious when going online specially that they are frequent Facebook users.

“Kaipuhan na maprotektahan ang kabataan online dahil babad na kami sa cellphone. Kaipuhan mi na maaraman ang mga bagay na dapat iwasan sa paggamit ning internet at dapat limitahan ang oras ning pag gamit ning gadgets (We need to protect the youth online because we are exposed to cellphones. We need to educate ourselves on how to avoid abuses online and should limit our gadget usage),” Reola added.

The following topics were discussed during the forum: Social Media and Internet Safety Rules Against Online Sexual Exploitation of Children, Legal Basis and Procedures, Salient Points of Laws and Policies Related to Online Child Abuse, Legal process from reporting to conviction and the Digital Landscape in the Philippines and Globally.

Subsequently, a workshop was facilitated to solicit answers from the participants on what makes them feel unsafe online and how they can make the internet a safe space for children.

On the other hand, anyone can file a complaint against child pornography who can directly seek immediate assistance from their nearest local social welfare and development offices (LSWDOs) or report to Philippine National Police (PNP) Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC).

Moreover, victims of child pornography can access the mandatory services from different government agencies, namely, emergency shelter or appropriate housing, free legal and counselling services, medical or psychological services, livelihood and skill training; and educational assistance.

Under the Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 perpetrators are penalized with a life sentence or a fine up to five million pesos if proven guilty of child pornography.

Child pornography refers to any representation, whether visual, audio, or written combination thereof, by electronic, mechanical, digital, optical, magnetic or any other means, of child engaged or involved in real or simulated explicit sexual activities.

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SLP: A road to opportunity

Gerald Briones happily doing his job at San Juan Magarao, Camarines Sur Highway.

Nowadays, every one of us is aiming for a progressive life by looking for a stable job that will sustain our daily needs. The recurring routine of life that makes us greet the dawn with a renewed hope and eagerness, prepare for another onslaught of problems at work and ends the day back to the reason of continuous fight for survival, to earn and assume all responsibilities.

Tirelessly, performing the task not minding the difficulties rather looking forward to the meager compensation that will help sustain and augment the bumpy financial battles of the days ahead. The moment that we are given an opportunity to work, we become eager to prove ourselves and value time for opportunity knocks once in a while and we should make our very best and learn on how to treasure it.

Gerald B. Briones, 35 years old, a native of Naga City and currently residing at San Juan Magarao, Camarines Sur. He was married to Myra Briones, 35, an active Pantawid Parent Leader of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program at Barangay San Juan, Magarao Camarines Sur. They are blessed with five children and living in the said barangay. Their eldest, Mary Jane, is a fourth-year college taking up Information Technology and at the same time a working student at the University of Nueva Caceres. Their second and third children are both Grade 11 of Camarines Sur National High School while the fourth and fifth are second-year high school and Grade two respectively.

Their family was a recipient of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program for five years. Two of his children are beneficiaries of the said program. The couple wanted the best for his family and a good example to their children.

Through DSWD-SLP, the program supported Gerald for his completion of documentary requirements for the “Trabahong Lansangan Project”. The project is one of DSWD’s means of accessing beneficiaries of 4p’s to gainful employment in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“Sobra akong nagpapasalamat na binigyan akong ng oportunidad na maging parte ng proyekto“. (I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to be part of the Project”), said Gerald.

The family also have a Sari-sari Store managed by his wife while doing household chores to augment their income but unfortunately, the store was closed this year due to loss of income because they prioritized the schooling of their children.

Previously, Gerald works as a plumber at Naga Water District but unfortunately, he was not renewed for the succeeding year and he became unemployed for 5 months.

To his surprised during the conduct of FDS of 4ps beneficiaries attended by his wife, an opportunity came to his family.

“Iniisip ko ang pamilya ko noon, nag-aaral pa lahat ng aking mga anak, buti nalang nasabi nila sa Family Development Session na inatendan ng asawa ko about Trabahong Lansangan. So I grabbed the opportunity, hindi ko pinalampas. Hindi na ako nagdalawang isip. sinabi ko na gusto ko makisali para sa pamilya ko at sa mga anak ko ayaw ko kasing mawalan ng trabaho”, (I was thinking of my family back then, all my children were studying, fortunately, during the family development session attended by my wife, trabahong lansangan was tackled. So I grabbed the opportunity and didn’t have second thoughts. I expressed my desire to join because I don’t want to be unemployed), Gerald shared.

As he recalls, Briones learned different works in the roads, he learned to mingle with other people and helped them through “Oplan SUMVAC” (Summer Vacation) for the summer months and Holy Week. He helped visitors entering the Province of Camarines Sur.  He was also active in different activities conducted by DPWH like tree planting, booth construction, and road maintenance.

Due to his hard work, persistence, and self-discipline, he was absorbed by the DPWH District 2 of Camarines Sur as a maintenance laborer subject for renewal every six (6) months. He was able to receive about 8,400 monthly salaries. Through this venture, Gerald can now sustain the needs of their children with the help of the grants given by the Pantawid Pamilya Program to the education of their children.

At the moment, the family has an on-going construction of their dream house through their small savings because they are living with their in laws.

Gerald also shared that through the project, he learned the importance of self-discipline, gained knowledge, enhanced his skills and realized the value of time, and learning’s to every opportunity would come to his journey.

Along with Pantawid Pamilya, the Sustainable Livelihood Program is a part of the convergence strategy for poverty reduction of DSWD that helps its participants who have guaranteed employers that need financial assistance to obtain the necessary pre-requisite requirements for the job through Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) under Employment Facilitation Track of the program.

Now, Gerald B. Briones able to prove that of all these undertakings in his family, each day is an opportunity with renewed strength and courage to fight and set a new dream through the help of National Government Programs that alleviates every Filipino family to poverty.#MPDOrramos #NPOJFS051718

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Euphoria. Ricky Noblesala, 24, a Manide, is happily living with his tribe as he sees the new improvements such as the ongoing construction of their access road under DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS.

Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte – “Life is truly beautiful in simplicity. When we lead a simple life, we achieve an unknown happiness – a happiness that surpasses any other form of happiness,” Avijeet Das, poet and writer of New Delhi, India said.

Through simple living, we achieve a bigger understanding of the true purpose of life just like in one of the communities in the town of Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte.

Inside the small nipa huts surrounding the trees and crops, you will see the big smiles of the Manides. This tribal group is living in the mountainous part of Barangay Osmeña in the town of Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte. This 26-hectare land was declared as their ancestral domain.

Currently, there are 52 Manide families living in the said barangay. It is greatly observed the simple living of the tribal group because they have a more relaxed life as compared to the people living in the city. They also grow their own food and use less modern technology.

According to Joy Del Rosario, former Municipal Area Coordinator (MAC), the community has zero crime rate. Through this, it shows that simple living makes people realize the opulence of love, life and the unbridled beauty of the natural world.  In the middle of their peaceful community, a daycare center strongly stands. As the door of the daycare center opens, Ricky Noblesala, 24, proudly recounts the infrastructure they have built under the DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS that became their symbol of unity as a tribe.

The Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) is a DSWD program that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development (CDD).

According to Ricky, they saw the need of the tribe to construct a daycare center in order for the young Manides to study and gain new knowledge.

Nakita naming na dumarami ang mga batang nangangailangang pumasok sa paaralan subalit malayo ang lalakarin ng mga bata kaya naisip namin ang daycare center (We were able to come up with a daycare center because of the rising number of young Manides who have to walk long distance just to attend school),” Ricky said.

Big Changes

As of now, there have been many changes not only to the people residing in the main town but also to the community of Manide.

Before, they were shy and afraid of the people living in the town due to bad experiences such as discrimination and abuse. They were afraid to talk to other people because of their belief that they will be used as slaves.

After the Indigenous People Rights Act (Republic Act 8371) was implemented, there have been changes. The Manides became more confident because of the training or seminars provided by the different agencies explaining to them the benefits they can get as part of the tribal group.

It is important for Ricky to be part of Kalahi-CIDSS wherein he is one of the community volunteers of the said project.

Katulad ng mga seminar na aking dinaluhan natutunan ko ang simpleng bookkeeping, (Because of the seminars I’ve attended, I was able to learn simple bookkeeping),” he added

Mas natutuunan ko ng pansin bilang katutubo na hindi lang kami umiikot sa aming lupaing ninuno dahil pwede rin kaming makihalubilo, lumabas at ipahay ang aming (Also, I was able to learn that we [Manides] do not only revolve around our ancestral domain because we have the ability to talk, show and share our learnings as a tribal community),” Ricky explained.

Part of the changes they’ve experienced is the education wherein many Manides were able to read and write not only the youth but also the elders.

Ricky was also one of them who has graduated college in 2014 with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at Camarines Norte State College. Through this, he was able to impart the knowledge he acquired to his fellow Manides.

Moreover, he works as a daycare worker for two (2) years wherein he teaches the young Manides from 8:00 in the morning until 10:00 AM.

According to Ricky, the daycare center served for the greater purpose because the young Manides were able to grasp education.

Dito sa daycare center, makikita ang kahalagahan ng edukasyon (In the daycare center, you will see the importance of education,” he said.

Also, the Manides will no longer experience the muddy path when they are going to the town because of the ongoing construction of access road under DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS in their community with a distance of 1.3 kilometers from the Manide village to the daycare center.

The vehicles will not anymore experience immobility when going to the community because the path will be smooth for the delivery of services for the Manides.

Being Open to the People Living in the Cities

Little by little, the Manides became more open when dealing with the people living in the cities and vice-versa.

According to Ricky, they have the ability to talk to the people living in the cities. They are also included in the activities of the town.

He also added that they have received great support from the barangay in their tribal activities such as Indigenous Peoples’ Week, a celebration during the month of October.

In the eyes of Ricky, he is full of eagerness to pursue projects that will improve their tribe and he is willing to achieve the needs of their daycare center such as the additional books and supplies for the students.

The community volunteer is positive that there will be a rise of Indigenous people finishing college.

Sa ngayon kaya na naming patunayan na bilang katutubo may kaalaman na rin kami. Kaya na rin naming makisabayan sa mga tao at alam na rin naming ang mga karapatan ng mga katutubo (As of now, we can already prove to others that as tribespeople, we have acquired knowledge that we can share. Also, we have the capability to protect our rights and welfare of our tribe),” he said.

With the advancement of technology, the Manides are also adapting to the developments. In connection with this, Ricky has cellphone and Facebook account for faster communication.

Even though there has been continuous change in the society, Ricky will never leave the tribe.

According to him, the tribe is more important as compared to thrive in the city.

Mas masaya ako na kaharap ko ang kapwa ko katutubo. Dito ako lumaki, kaya paninindigan ko na isa akong katutubo. Proud na proud ako na parte ako ng tribo (I am happy living with the tribe. I grew up here [village] so I am proud to be part of this tribe),” he exclaimed. #FSRAMS04182018

About DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS

The DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS had allocated the province of Camarines Norte with a total implementation grant of Php 327.403 million and local counterpart contribution of Php 4.503 million from barangay and municipal local government units (LGUs) to fund community-managed sub-projects.

In the municipality of Jose Panganiban, there are 22 sub-projects that were funded by the program wherein two (2) of these sub-projects are from Barangay Osmeña.

The daycare center with a total cost of Php 837,000.00 has also served as an evacuation center of the Manides.

On the other hand, the construction of the access road has a total implementation grant of Php 3,929, 574.00 and local counterpart contribution of Php 11,456.00.

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