Archive | July 8th, 2015

DSWD: 4Ps is epal-free

AMID suspicions that the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the National Government, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Davao assured that politicians do not have a hand in selecting beneficiaries.

CCT gives cash assistance to the poorest of the poor provided they fulfill some obligations with regard maternal and child health and education.

DSWD-Davao information officer for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Sheryll Fernandez they are ensuring that their operations are “epal-free.”

4Ps is a conditional cash transfer program initiated by the government. It aims to address the poverty problems of Filipino households on a short-term basis, investing in health and education of kids ages 18 years old and below.

The family beneficiaries are given P1,400 cash assistance every two months of the year.

“Wala po silang (politicians) power to include and delist families as beneficiaries of 4Ps,” Fernandez told Sun.Star Davao in a recent interview at their office.

Fernandez said that the enforcement of the anti-epal campaign is one of their initiative to inform the beneficiaries that politicians are not involved in the implementation of the program.

“We repeatedly tell beneficiaries that they should not believe claims by politicians that they can delist families. They don’t have that power,” she said.

In order to strengthen their anti-epal campaign, DSWD has been partnering with other government agencies including Commission on Elections (Comelec), Department of Education (DepEd), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to monitor the actions of some national and local candidates.

All agencies are collaborating, she said, to finally put a stop to these wrong impressions.

Fernandez said that beneficiaries who experienced being threatened or influenced by any politicians through DSWD’s program may submit their grievances and reports to their regional office.

“Kung may grievances sila on the matter, pwede sila magsubmit (DSWD) through our social workers who are stationed in each specific areas. If we receive any complaints, we will forward it to the Comelec and DILG sa Manila and they will be calling the attention of the involved candidates,” Fernandez said.

The 4Ps program has also been criticized by some for being the roots of corruption among its implementers. But Fernandez insists that government personnel do not have access to the funds.

“Yung ayuda na ibinibigay natin sa ating mga isang beneficiary ay hindi dumadaan sa kamay ng ating mga personnel. Pumapasok derecho yung mga incentives sa kani-kanilang mga ATM accounts,” Fernandez said.

Listahanan or Talaan ng Pamilyang Nangangailangan is a database used by DSWD to determine and identify which households are eligible and qualified as beneficiaries.

Arlyn Limato Quimque, a mother of six kids, and a resident of Barangay 23-C in Davao City, who has been a beneficiary since 2008, admitted she did not know anything about 4Ps before.

“Sa una abi namo hinabang lang gikan kay Mayor pero kadtong naexplain na gyud sa amoa didto mi nakabalo na dako diay ni ug pwede maitabang sa amoa (At the start we thought this is just part of our mayor’s assistance. It was only later when we realized that this is much more than what we thought it was),” Quimque said.

Quimque said that 4Ps has been helping them a lot, especially when their house was razed along with more than 1,000 others in the April 2014 fire at Isla Verde and Mini-Forest that affected more than 3,700 families.

She said that not once had any politician approached her family with regards 4Ps.

“So far, wala man pud mi nakaexperience na duolun ug pulitiko ug pugsun mi na mubuto sa iyaha (We did not encounter any politicians asking for our vote in exchange of 4Ps benefits),” Quimque said in a separate interview at their residence.

Elena Alingalan, a social worker designated in the barangay, said that they don’t allow any gatherings for 4Ps beneficiaries during election period so that the program cannot be taken advantage of.

“Even gani mga brgy. officials ginamonitor nato (We also monitor even the barangay officials in the areas),” she added.

According to Alingalan, the implementation of the anti-Epal Campaign is essential to avoid any forms of abuse.

Meanwhile, Fernandez said that the implementation of the 4Ps program is also extended even to the Indigenous People (IPs) and peasant groups in far-flung areas.

But as of late, some lumads and peasants in provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental have accused the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of threatening them of being delisted as beneficiaries in the said program.

In a recent statement furnished to Sun.Star Davao, Pasaka spokesperson Isidro Indao said: “Parents of students enrolled in Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) and MISFI Academy in Sitio Mantapay, Limot and Bagangan, Brgy. Binondo, Baganga, Davao Oriental are threatened by elements of the military that they will not be able to receive their CCT if they continue to patronize the schools which the military maliciously accused as NPA institutions.”

However, Army’s 10th Infantry Division (ID) spokesperson Lieutenant Vergel Lacambra denied the accusations, saying these claims are just forms of propaganda of the said groups.

“Hindi gawain ng mga sundalo yan na mag-threaten ng mga civilians. Gusto nga natin silang madevelop yung areas nila at mabigyan ng government interventions,” Lacambra said.

Lacambra said they do not have power to delist beneficiaries since the program is under DSWD.

Fernandez affirmed the statement of Army, saying that only committee members of the program can delist them should they violate parameters that include fraud, among others.

“Walang right and power and military to remove beneficiaries from the program. Yan yung tandaan nila. DSWD lang naay capacity to add or remove beneficiaries,” Fernandez said.

As of April, Davao Region had 232,533 households in the program, with 85,535 coming from Davao del Sur, 47,961 from Davao del Norte, 41,718 from Davao Oriental, and 57,339 from Compostella Valley. (Sun Star Davao)

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Person with disability leads the development of his community


Rey Jaboneta discusses with the workers and community residents during the construction of the Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project 200 linear meter drainage canal in Barangay New Panay.  Rey Jaboneta (left) poses with DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman during the awarding ceremony of the Kalahi-CIDSS’ 1st Bayani Ka recognition where he was awarded as Best PWD.

Rey Jaboneta discusses with the workers and community residents during the construction of the Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project 200 linear meter drainage canal in Barangay New Panay.
Rey Jaboneta (left) poses with DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman during the awarding ceremony of the Kalahi-CIDSS’ 1st Bayani Ka recognition where he was awarded as Best PWD.

Alam ko na ang kapansanan ko ay isang limitasyon para makapagsilbi lalo na kung pisikal na lakas ang kailangan. Subalit, hindi ito magiging limitasyon sa pagtupad ng aking mga pangarap (I know that my handicap will limit my ability to serve. However, it will not limit my capacity to dream and pursue my goals),” asserted Rey E. Jaboneta, 42, a volunteer of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services National Community-Driven Development Program (Kalahi-CIDSS), one of the anti-poverty programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Kalahi-CIDSS uses the Community-Driven Development approach that puts power back in the hands of the people by giving them the voice and the vote to participate in the local development process and identify solutions that will address needs identified by communities themselves. Through CDD, citizens work hand-in-hand with government and non-government organizations to ensure that their needs are met and they become actively involved in local processes.

Despite being a person with disability (PWD), Rey does not stop by simply doing his share of community work.  He tries his best to excel as proven by his Kalahi-CIDSS’ 1st Bayani Ka recognition as Best PWD, which he recently received from DSWD.

The 1st Bayani Ka Award aims to acknowledge outstanding community volunteers and initiatives, and build a pool of champions for positive change.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman stressed that PWDs should also have equal access to training, and other opportunities.

“Rey is a good role model that each one of us has the capacity to become movers of change given the right chance,” Sec. Soliman said during the awarding ceremony.

Volunteering his services

Born with polio, Rey has experienced discrimination from people around him.

Maraming nagdududa sa aking kakayahan at may mga nagpapasaring tungkol sa aking kapansanan (They would often question my ability and hurl insensitive comments about my disability),” he said.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, he re-focused the negative vibe as a challenge to motivate him in pursuing his goals of helping the community.

Since 2012, he had been leading the Kalahi-CIDSS implementation in his village in Barangay New Panay in Maragusan in Compostela Valley as Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee Chairman.

To date, 173 community projects had been implemented in Maragusan which consist of roads, electrification project, bridges, school buildings, water system, drainage system, pre/post-harvest facilities, light house, eco-tourism projects, and skills training/capability building activities.

“His role is to take care of the overall management of Kalahi-CIDSS sub-project together with other elected committee members,” said Helenbergs Tulang, Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinator in Maragusan.

Rey shared, “Nakulbaan ko pero nalipay sa responsibilidad nga gisalig sa akong mga kauban sa barangay sa akoa (I was anxious but happy at the same time with the responsibility entrusted to me by the community).”

He also expressed his gratitude to community facilitators of Kalahi-CIDSS who were always supportive of his endeavors.

Boosting the morale

Barangay New Panay is almost a five-hour ride from Davao City where the delivery of basic social services is hindered due to lack of cooperation from the community.

“The people used to feel demoralized and insignificant since most of them were not able to finish school and were more focused on how to earn and provide for their family. Community work and volunteerism were not their priority,” shared Lyre Divine Balili, Kalahi-CIDSS community facilitator.

For someone who had been the subject of ridicule due to his physical handicap, Rey used his disability to boost the morale of the community. Unmindful of his condition, he set an example by joining barangay assemblies and capacity building sessions.

The residents were then encouraged and inspired by his dedication. They started to become active in their community’s development by helping choose, design, and implement projects that address their most pressing needs through Kalahi-CIDSS.

Rey believed that if he could do it, the people around him will realize that they could do so much more.

After awhile, the villagers started working together, gradually building various successful community projects.

Numerous projects

With Rey at the helm, Barangay New Panay was able to complete numerous projects like the construction of a drainage canal and a community E-library.

A training on embroidery and interior design was also held in the village which benefited 1,389 residents.

“Through Kalahi-CIDSS, Barangay New Panay now has the opportunity to generate more income and establish a school facility for the children in the community,” said Maragusan Mayor Cesar Colina.

Nagpapasalamat ako sa DSWD sa pagbibigay ng oportunidad sa aming mga may kapansanan. Ipinaramdam nila sa mga katulad ko na puwede rin kaming makapag ambag sa aming komunidad (I am thankful that DSWD gives equal opportunities to people with disabilities like me. They opened opportunities for us and they made us feel that after all, we can contribute to the development of our community),” Rey concluded. (DSWD)


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Humble backyard garden provides food on the table, generates additional income

Helen Camacho tends to her seedlings which she grows through Urban Container Gardening.  She attests that with her produce, she is able to put food on the table.

Bringing food on the table is a primary concern of every family,  more so for a poor family with little or no income at all to sustain nutritious meals.

To help address this, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) included the topic “Bio-Intensive Gardening (BIG)” in its enhanced modules for Family Development Sessions (FDS) regularly attended  by beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18. It provides cash grants to partner-beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers for checkups, and attending the monthly FDS.

FDS is conducted monthly by DSWD and partners from non-government organizations, the private sector, and civil society organizations. It serves as a venue where topics on effective parenting, husband and wife relationships,  child development, laws affecting the Filipino family, gender and development, home management, active citizenship, and electoral education are discussed.

BIG teaches Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries to become food secure through backyard gardening since food grown at home is usually consumed by the family.

According to DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, achieving a well-fed and food-secure household would mean improving what people eat, in terms of quality, quantity, and variety.

This would require efforts related to increasing not only the available food supply, but also both physical and economic access to it.

Sec. Soliman encourages beneficiaries to engage in backyard gardening, specifically BIG, to provide fresh and higher quality vegetables with better nutritional values for the whole family.

Income generating hobby

For Helen Camacho,  a 43-year old Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary of Purok 13, Barangay Tibungco, Davao City, gardening is an income-generating hobby.

”Sa pirmiro nako nga pagtanom, nagsugod ko sa baynte ka semilya sa pechay. Nagakuha pud ko sa sementeryo og mga tetra pack aron matamnan (I started off with only 20 seedlings of Chinese cabbage. I also go to the nearby cemetery to gather and recycle tetra packs which I use as pots),” shared Helen.

From 20 pechay seedlings, Helen now has over 70 seedlings along with other crops that she cultivates in their house. To make soil containers, Helen personally sews the tetra packs that she gathers from the cemetery. She even builds her own makeshift racks.

“Dako kaayo og tabang ang urban container gardening sa amoang pagpamuyo. Busa magkugi gyud ko aron mas mapanindot pa ni (Urban container gardening is a huge help. I will really strive to improve my garden),” Helen said excitedly.

Helen has been cultivating her urban container garden since February 2013 and now has over 200 seedlings.

She narrated that her husband, 41-year old Alejandro, works as a tricycle driver and earns at most P300 a day. For additional income, Helen repacks the seedlings that she buys and sells it to  fellow Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries at P5 per piece. Helen also sells her produce to her neighbors or at the local market.

Her backyard garden also supplies her family’s food requirements, since they consume the vegetables which Helen harvests. This would result to savings which they could use to meet their other needs.

Urban Container Gardening magamit gyud ni namo kay dili lang kini makalingawan namo, usa pud kini ka pamaagi nga makakwarta kami (We can really use this Urban Container Gardening. It is more than a hobby but it is income generating as well),” explained Helen.

For those living in urban areas with little space for a backyard garden, urban container gardening is an initiative that hopes to help boost food security in the community.

Likewise, in Barangay Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, Pantawid Pamilya women-beneficiaries are growing high value crops such as strawberry,  lettuce,  and cauliflower,  among others. They are also engaged in backyard gardening and root crops production.

A mother of 13 children, Vercita Gawahan  is one of the more than  3,500 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Manolo Fortich town.  She loves to just stay at home while her husband works in a farm as the sole provider of the family.

After learning about BIG through FDS, however, Vercita thought of engaging in backyard gardening to help her husband sustain the needs of their large family.

Vercita said that she and her husband can now begin to look forward to a brighter future for their family because aside from the educational grants for their three children, she can now help augment the family income through the profits she makes by selling her garden’s produce.

”Sa pamamagitan ng Family Development Sessions ng Pantawid Pamilya, natutunan ko kung paanong malagpasan ang aking mga kahinaan at mag-focus sa aking mga kalakasan, na naging daan upang magbago ang aming buhay (Through the Pantawid Pamilya’s Family Development Sessions, I learned how to overcome my weaknesses and focus on my strengths which paved the way to achieve change in our lives),” she emphasized. (DSWD)


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Livelihood for Boston folks

LIVELIHOOD. DSWD Assistant Regional Director for Operations Rebecca A. Santamaria [2nd from left] awards the Php 11 million cheque for the implementation of Enhanced Skills Training on Abaca Production for Pantawid families and disaster survivors in Boston, Davao Oriental. LGU Boston was led by Mayor Rebecco B. Rosit Sr. during the recent Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement and Ceremonial Turnover in the town. Also in photo are LGU and DSWD Officials as well as some DSWD program beneficiaries.

Implemented through the DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program, PhilFIDA will conduct the training and provide the technician while LGU Boston will do the monitoring. Program beneficiaries will then be providing the area and DSWD will supply the planting materials. (DSWD)

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