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March is Women’s Month

The month of March is special for Filipino women. What makes the month truly special is the country’s observance of Women’s Month. Pursuant to Proclamation no.224 series of 1998 declares the month of March each year as Women’s Month and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day. Proclamation no. 227 series of 1998 provided for the observance of the month of March as Women’s Role in the History month and Republic Act 6949 is the National Translation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

In consonance with President Benigno Aquino’s pursuit and vision of “tuwid na daan”, the theme adopted for the 2013 Women’s Month Celebration is “  Kababaihan, Gabay sa Pagtahak sa Tuwid na Daan”. This theme underscores the need to accelerate women’s participation in governance and enhance gender perspective in upholding good governance. It highlights the importance of strengthening the mechanisms and institution that support women and to widen the arena for their participation. This year’s celebration aims to a.) highlight women’s leadership roles, participation in decision-making and participation in the political arena, peace building and conflict resolution b.) to build upon the gains achieved under existing mechanisms and institutions that support women and gender responsive governance and c.) strengthen partnership with media in promoting women’s rights and in advocating to address gender issues.

Led by Legazpi City Mayor Geraldine Rosal and DSWD Assistant Director Felix M. Armeña, the month long celebration was kicked off with a fun walk last March 8, 2013.

Unmindful of drizzle and cold wind, about hundred persons representing 21 member agencies of the RIACAT-VAWC joined the fun walk which started at Embarcadero de Legazpi to the Rock Port of the city. This was followed by a short program and “Hataw” which was led by DOH.

Other lined-up activities are:

Date Activity Lead Agency
March 15, 2013 Orientation on Civil Registration with IRR NSO
March 18, 2013 Installation of Advocacy booth, DepEd
Poster making contest, Pagbigkas ng
Tula, Talumpati & Conscience Theater
March 19, 2013 Buntis Congress DOH
March 19-20, 2013 Symposium/Training on RA 9208 DOJ & DSWD
& Rehabilitation for Traffic persons
March 22, 2013 Symposium on Violence Against Women CSC & GSH
and Forum Gay Bi-Sexual & Trans-Gender

To culminate the month’s activity is the “ Tipon-Tipan on Women, a live forum at the PIA office.###eeferusalem/smu/dswdfo5.

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DSWD Extends Assistance to Bereaved Families of Capsized MV-JOHN ASVEE

Twenty two survivors, mostly teachers were rescued in a passenger pump boat that capsized in the town of Bacacay in Albay late Friday afternoon of March 8, 2013. Four people died in the accident.

The four fatalities were identified as Jeffrey Osorio,a census enumerator of NSO,  Emerlita Barrameda,a teacher, Diego Crisol, the boat captain and a minor Liza Espenisin. All residents of Bacacay.

Report said, just one kilometer off the coast of Poblacion, Bacacay, an engine failure suddenly occurred, causing panic among passengers.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development extends support to the victims of the capsized boat by conducting critical incidence stress debriefing (CISD). They also provided financial assistance as well as food packs to the bereaved families.

Survivors rescued, mostly teachers experienced trauma caused by last Friday’s accident. The DSWD will coordinate with the Department of Education for the conduct of critical incidence stress debriefing (CISD) to the said teachers.

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How Pantawid Pamilya Changed the Lives of an IP Family

Letty and her husband belong to the dark-skinned, short in statue and kinky haired individuals called “ AGTA”. They are settled in a hinterland barangay of San Ramon, Iriga City.

Letty’s family were among the 13 families drifted from the Black Village, in Santiago, Iriga City  by the National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP).

Their houses are made of wood, most of them out of thin three trunks that are found around the area. Most of these are not separated by rooms and can barely accommodate an average family of eight people. They just have floor spaces where the family does all their activities like sleeping and eating their meals.

Letty and husband depend on the earth for survival. They are farmers by heart because it is the kind of environment they were born into. They produce few crops such as cassava, camote, rice and vegetables. Letty bared that their harvest is just enough for the family consumption. To augment the family income, her husband work as hired laborer for other farmers in the neighboring barangay.

It is an awe inspiring dream for Letty to send her children to school.” Isa sa aking pangarap ay ang makapag-aral ang aking mga anak. Ayaw kong matulad sila sa aming  mag-asawa na hindi nkapag-aral”Letty disclosed. She admits that she cannot give her aspiration outright because of the status she is in.

Children’s education is limited in the tribe. Oftentimes, most children fail to attend sessions due to geographical reasons. The centers and schools are too far for the children to  walk everyday.

Likewise, aside from having proper education, health services are a concept that is not popular to them mainly because they have no access to medication. The hilot or “herbolario” ( Quack Doctors) are the most accessible health service providers because their method of assessment is in accordance to their culture.

These concerns for health and education of Letty’s children were responded. Educational assistance were provided by the National Commission for Indigenous People      ( NCIP) and DSWD through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Letty’s family is one among the Indigenous People families in Barangay San Ramon who became Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries. She was filled with joy and hope because she is now assured of her children’s education.

The family recounts of their life before the Pantawid Pamilya. “ Their life was in extreme poverty”. “ Kahit mahirap, kailangan naming magsikap para maitaguyod ko ang aking mga anak sa kanilang pag-aaral.” Letty recounts.

Seeing her children in school and have a better life in the future is Letty’s big dream.

With the Pantawid Pamilya, Letty became conscious of the family’s health condition. Though there is much to be done, through her and his husband’s attendance to the Family Development Sessions, the health practices and parenting skills of the dela Cruz’ couple will be much improving.

Letty further relates that with the Pantawid Pamilya, she is not only confined at home doing her daily routine and her husband working in the farm. Now, they have learned to integrate with people, join community activities and likewise attend meetings when called.

These IP Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries and the rest in the tribe are now able to correct the common mistake made by outsiders which they think the IP’s still dwell in their primitive world, still dressed in their traditional garb. But now, they have already adapted the fashion in the community.###eejerusalem

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More Classrooms for Pantawid Pamilya Children

The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) will fund the construction of additional classrooms in areas where Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) was previously implemented.

A total of 83 classrooms and day care centers (DCCs) will be constructed in the first semester of 2013 to better address the educational needs of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) children .

Beneficiary barangays were identified through the community driven development (CDD) approach employed by Kalahi-CIDSS.

Kalahi-CIDSS is a CDD Project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) wherein communities collectively gathes data on their existing conditions, analyze identified issues, and define appropriate development interventions to address  their needs. Barangay assemblies are conducted to validate these findings.

Through Kalahi-CIDSS, community empowerment is ensured by giving people authority and control over decisions and resources of their community.

With a total grant of PhP 89,760,000.00, AusAID will be piloted in the municipalities of Donsol, Claveria, Libon, Pioduran, Manito, Rapu-Rapu, Palanas, and Cataingan during the first semester of 2013.

Kalahi-CIDSS, 4Ps, and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) are the core social protection programs of DSWD. The convergence of these programs aims to enhance the department’s contribution in the achievement of a more sustainable and tangible impact on poverty reduction in the country. ###jmarbella

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NHTS-PR Constantly Advocates to Stakeholders

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 5 through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) continuously reaches out to stakeholders, local government units and partners to use the NHTS-PR database in identifying beneficiaries of their social protection programs.

Series of orientations were conducted. In Donsol, Sorsogon last Nov.22, 2012, in San Pascual, Masbate last Jan.10, 2013 and in Cabusao, Camarines Sur last Feb.26, 2013 during the Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC) meetings of each municipality. Likewise, re-orientations to Local Chief Executives were implemented in the municipalities of Vinzons, Capalonga, San Vicente and Sta. Elena in Camarines Norte last February 5-8, 2013.

The NHTU laid down a common understanding about the NHTS-PR and clarified numerous issues and concerns about the program. This also served as venue to encourage the stakeholders to adopt the database in the implementation of their poverty reduction projects and the execution of the convergence strategy of DSWD.

According to Mr. Ciriaco B. Abejuro, NHTS-PR Regional Focal Person, “Strengthening the advocacy implementation like orientations, meetings, radio guestings, distribution of information, education & communication (IEC) materials, press releases and consultation dialogues will be our main focus as part of the advocacy for NHTS-PR.”

The Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC) is an organization composed of municipal mayor as the chairman, the municipal social welfare officer (MSWDO), planning and development coordinator, school district supervisor, local government officer and school heads of covered barangays as members. Its function is to discuss matters pertaining to program implementation as well as problems to the respective areas.

At present, 5 local government units (Sorsogon, Albay, San Pascual, Mobo, Sto.Domingo) and 2 Non-Government organizations (LCC & Tzu Chi Foundation) have entered into Memorandum of Agreement while 75 LGU’s requested and was provided with statistics data.###crbarrameda

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DSWD-TESDA Cash for Training Launched

In support to the government thrust to provide a sustainable intervention to improve the plight and condition of the youth, the DSWD-TESDA Cash for Training project was launched in Donsol, Sorsogon last February 12, 2013.

Regional Director Conrado Bares of TESDA and Arnel B. Garcia who led the launching ceremony was joined by Donsol Vice Mayor Emetrio Belmonte Jr., Mr, Ramon Razo, Secretary of the Mayor, Ms. Myra Relativo, Asst. PSWDO of Sorsogon, MSWDO Arlene Berdin and other LGU officials.

The DSWD-TESDA Cash for Training Program aims to train the youth for possible employment in targeted communities and provide them basic requirements that will enable them to facilitate their trade to gainful occupations.

Training shall be organized and provided by TESDA with two independent components: training for wage employment (Trabaho) and training for self-employment (hanapbuhay)

About 3, 286 slots were allocated in the region with a total funding of 1,314,610,856. The amount of 20,000 per trainee shall be provided. This is in a form of training vouchers, toolkits (for training and self-employment)

In Donsol, 50 youth will be the training beneficiaries, 25 will be trained on commercial cooking and 25 for welding. Out of these, 50 trainees, 21 are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.###eejerusalem-dswdfo5-smu


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DSWD Turns-Over Sewing Machines to LGU Ligao

The LGU of Ligao City in  the province of Albay thru the City Mayor Linda Gonzales received 20 units of sewing machines from DSWD Director Arnel Garcia. The simple turn –over ceremony was held at DSWD Complex, Ligao City last February 4, this year. From the 20 units, 13 are electric high-speed sewing machines while seven are foot operated.

Director Garcia said that the DSWD aims to improve the disadvantaged sector the women in particular through the provision of practical skills in sewing and other productive activities thereby making them capable in engaging in livelihood endeavor and eventually augment the family income.

Meanwhile, Mayor Linda Gonzales bared that the LGU will assume the full responsibility of sustaining the project by ensuring that funds for the training, supplies and other logistic support will be made available. It will also include the maintenance of the equipments to ensure that it will always be functional and in good condition.

Mayor Gonzales added that her office have already coordinated with TESDA for the conduct of the training/skills enhancement. # # # # #eejerusalem



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“It is while we are young that we envision what we want to be in the future.”

This is true especially to those children who have parents who are financially capable to support their every dream. But how about those with less in life? Those abandoned, neglected, orphaned or children born with ailing or unsupportive parents? Could they even afford to dream?

Working with children as Municipal Link of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program opened my eyes to various reality. Most of the children that I work with, no matter how miserable their situation might be, still create and hold on to their dream because for them dreaming is what keeps them going.

One of them is Raffy Orolfo, a fifteen year old minor grantee of the program from Barangay Caranan, Pasacao, Camarines Sur. For him, the hardships that he experienced in life serve as an inspiration to strive harder and persist in his dream of a better future.

Raffy lives with his two siblings and ailing father. Their small house, which is made up of hollowblocks for walls, “anahaw” as roof, cemented floor and with few salvaged materials on some sides, is being shared with two other families. On the “sala”, is where Raffy and his family live, eat, cook and sleep. On the other part, which was supposed to be the bedroom, lives his father’s married nephew, and on the other side, lives his father’s married niece.

Way back in 1982, when his father Miguel was still agile and working, the latter met Raffy’s mother, an Ilonga. The couple got together but Raffy’s mother refused to get married. They stayed together for 22 years in Bulacan and had six children, three girls and three boys. In 2004, his father started feeling the onset of his arthritis, which made him unable to work and provide for the family. He had severe arthritis- giving him swollen feet, making him almost paralyzed. Upon experiencing difficulty, Raffy’s mother, started having affairs, became a drunkard and eventually left them, taking with her, her three daughters. While his father Miguel, with nothing left but hope, took them back home in Pasacao in 2007.

Without anyone to turn to, Raffy then at his young age, took on the responsibility of providing for their family’s basic needs. Their situation may have deprived him and his siblings of an easy life but never did it diminish his spirit and determination to persevere and realize his dreams. Even with all the hardships, he did not give up. He worked hard to support himself through school believing that education could give him the life he wanted.

During school days, before and after school, Raffy, only in Grade 5, would fetch water for an eatery owner known to them as “Tiya Bibi”. In return, the latter provides his breakfast, lunch and supper. He also runs errands in the eatery.

They are very grateful of their neighbor’s generosity for they often survive the day through left-over being given to them. On Saturdays, Raffy washes clothes and earns P25.00 for 10 pcs. of shirt washed. They use said amount in buying rice while as for their viand, they most of the time borrow or “utang” at a nearby sari-sari store.

Meanwhile, his brother, Orlando, only in Grade 2, buys and sells scrap materials during weekends while Mark Anthony, also in Grade 2, has been informally adopted by a retired couple from the school in which the siblings go to.

But life for them is really hard. It is not every day that their neighbors could give them food. There are times that they have missed meals. As for Raffy’s schooling, even if he works double time he still could not cover all his school needs like projects and school contributions. He and his siblings walk to and from school because they don’t have money for their tricycle fare.

Becoming a Pantawid Pamilya Beneficiary

Although known as the Summer Capital of Camarines Sur, Pasacao remains as one of the third class municipalities in the said province and has initially 3,662 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, of which Raffy is included.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a human development and right-based program of the national government that utilizes the conditional cash transfer scheme to help poor families realize their children’s rights to health and education.

Raffy and his family are thankful to Pantawid Pamilya because it has helped them a lot. In times when the siblings have no earnings, they utilize the grant for their food and daily needs.

His personality may be that of a shy, reserved boy with few words, yet has strong determination to survive in a kind of existence he only knew– that of “hand to mouth existence.” His life is a testament to the Bicolanos ingenuity, the perseverance to endure the hardships thrown his way and his journey to what he envisions as a better and wonderful future.###by:annalindalorejo.municipal link (amayor.4PsIO)

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