Archive | August, 2020

DSWD Secretary Bautista visits Masbate quake victims

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista (left) leads the distribution of financial assistance and family food packs to quake survivors from Cataingan,  Masbate. Joining the Secretary during the turn over of assistance are DSWD-Field Office V Regional Director Arnel Garcia (center) and Congressman Wilton Kho.    

In continuation of the relief operations for the victims of the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Masbate, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista personally visited the hardest-hit municipality of Cataingan on August 26 to oversee the provision of aid and ensure that all the needs of affected families are met.

During the visit, Secretary Bautista and DSWD Field Office (FO) V, led by Regional Director Arnel Garcia, extended P5,000 each to 35 families who were initially validated to have totally damaged houses because of the earthquake. In addition, family food packs (FFPs) were also distributed to affected families with partially damaged houses.

The Secretary also assured the victims on the readiness of DSWD to provide ample and timely augmentation support to local government units (LGUs) especially during disasters.

Based on the report of DSWD FO V, the Department has already provided assistance worth P915,478.36 which includes 1,103 family food packs, rolls of laminated sacks, tents, and financial assistance worth P325,000 for 65 affected families in Cataingan, Palanas, and Pio V. Corpus.

Meanwhile, Secretary Bautista also led the turnover of checks to three Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) beneficiaries in Dimasalang, Masbate. The recipients were the Buracan ECommunity Store SLPA, Buracan Egg Producer SLPA, and the Masagana Agrivet Farm Supply SLPA.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) projects were funded through the Microenterprise Development Track-Seed Capital Fund modality (MD-SCF) of SLP, a livelihood project of the DSWD. The MD Track focuses on starting, expanding or rehabilitating micro-enterprise activities. This track also includes entrepreneurship, technical – vocational and soft skills training.

With the current pandemic, the Department assures the public that it will continue to provide assistance to vulnerable sectors through the provision of appropriate interventions to sustain their basic needs and livelihood. ###

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Farmer waives SAP aid for other more needy families

Manong Romeo, with his wife and grandchildren, pose in front of their humble abode in Jabonga, Agusan del Sur. Having less in life did not prevent Manong Romeo’s family to make a difference in other people’s lives.

“Hantod nga kaya pa ninyo manarbaho, ug duna pa moy makuot, ayaw kamo pag depende sa gobyerno kay daghan pa ug gi atiman ug gi gastuhan ang atong gobyerno” (As long as you can still work, and as long as you still have resources that you can use, try not to demand from government for aid – government has still a lot of matters to attend to and expenses to take care of).

These were the words of Manong Romeo Demaymay, a 60-year-old farmer from Cuyago, Jabonga, Agusan del Sur, a qualified recipient of the Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). 

SAP is a social protection program implemented by various government agencies, including DSWD, to provide emergency subsidy assistance to low-income families in order to mitigate the economic shocks brought by the public health emergency due to COVID-19.

With majority of people clamoring to be part of the ESP, Manong Romeo opted to waive the aid, and told the barangay officials to give it to someone who is more in need.

Ako usa ka mag-uuma. Makapadayon paman ko sa pag tanom-tanom. Duna pa pud ko ginagmay nga ma-harvest. Kaya pa nako mabuhi akong pamilya maski naa ning kalisod aning virus. Kahibalo ko naa pay uban nga walang-wala na gyud. Mas angay sila makadawat anang ayuda” (I am a farmer. Right now, I can still do some farming. I still have some crops to harvest and I can still provide for the needs of my family. I know there are other families who need this aid more than me, so they should be the ones who should get it), Manong Romeo explained.

Jabonga has a total of 4,365 families who received the amount of P5,000 as emergency cash subsidy.

Among the recipients were 2,143 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries and 2,222 non-4Ps beneficiaries.

Wala ako naghago ana nga kwarta, mao ikaulaw ko nga dawaton ko kana labi na nga naa pay mas nanginahanglan  kaysa kanako. Nakasabot ko sa programa ang angay makadawat kadtong pinaka-nanginahanglan gayud. So angay na sa uban nga wala gayud makuhaan ug kinitaan ug pang-konsumo” (I did not work for that money, so I do not deserve it. It would be a shame if I will still get that money knowing that there are those who need it more than I do. I understand how the program works – those who are most affected should get the subsidy. So it should go to those who no longer have a source of income), Manong Romeo added.

His neighbors, including their barangay chairperson convinced him to avail of the aid, but he still insisted on waiving it.

Giignan man siya nga dawaton nalang pero nagingon gyud siya nga dili niya dawaton. Gusto lang niya nga siguraduhon sa Barangay nga mahatag ang ayuda sa kwalipikado gayud” (They tried to convince him that he should accept the aid, but he insisted otherwise. All he asked for was that the Barangay ensures that it would go to someone who is very qualified to receive the subsidy), Christian Joy Cervantes, OIC-Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer of Jabonga, stated.

Because of his selfless act, people began to show their respect towards Manong Romeo. They appreciated his strong will and principles in life. While the rest of the people are complaining against the local government units and the DSWD for their exclusion from the program, here is someone well-qualified but insisted not to take the P5,000.

“Karong panahuna, angay gani nga kita ang motabang sa gobyerno kay lisod ang panahon karon. Daghan ug gi atupag ang gobyerno nga mga panginahanglanon sa katawhan sa nasod. Kung kaya pa nato moatiman sa atong kaugalingon, molihok kita dili kay maghulat nga dunulan ta ug tabang ” (Nowadays, the government is facing a lot of challenges, attending to the needs of the people. It should be us who should help government, and just wait for government to extend help. If we can still manage to take care of ourselves – our needs, then we should take care of ourselves), Manong Romeo further said.

The inspiring story of Manong Romeo is an example of the Filipinos’ bayanihan spirit, that even in times of crisis, those who have less are willing to sacrifice and make do with the meager resources that they have so that others who are more in need shall benefit. -30-

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4Ps beneficiaries demonstrate honesty, empathy amid pandemic

Beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have demonstrated honesty in the midst of the pandemic by returning the duplicate cash assistance that they received from the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) by different agencies of the government.

Vilma Millamina, Jocelyn Colingan, and Maureen Kiloyen were among the 4Ps beneficiaries from Baguio City who willingly returned the P5,000 cash assistance that they received under the COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), while Imelda Sibayan, also from Baguio City, willingly returned the P4,150 she received under the second tranche of the  SAP implemented by DSWD.

4Ps beneficiaries received P3,650  to P6,650 SAP cash aid per month for two months as a top-up amount added to their regular cash grants and rice allowance. As such, they are no longer eligible to receive cash aid from other government agencies.

“Noong nalaman ko ang tungkol sa polisiya ng Social Amelioration Program (SAP), minabuti  kong ibalik ang natanggap ko mula sa DOLE dahil nakatanggap na kaming [mga 4Ps] beneficiaries ng P4,150” (When I learned about the SAP guidelines, I immediately returned the cash to DOLE because we [4Ps beneficiaries] have already received the P4,150 emergency cash assistance), Vilma shared.

Before the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vilma, 42, was a maintenance crew in a restaurant in the city, earning P5,600 monthly, while her husband, Perfecto, was an on-call construction worker.

Vilma admitted that the pandemic has challenged them as a family, but she is grateful that they have become stronger, thanks to the lessons they have learned from their monthly family development sessions (FDS) as 4Ps members.

FDS is a platform of 4Ps for delivering key knowledge or information that empower poor households so they could adequately respond to the needs of their family members. It also fosters deeper social awareness and promotes active community development and participation.

Meanwhile, Imelda, 58, and Jocelyn, 22, both shared that even though the pandemic gravely affected their sources of income, it did not dampen their resolve to do the right thing, as they still hold onto their principle of “Honesty is the best policy.”

Imelda, a mother of five, is an on-call dishwasher while her husband is a farmer-laborer. Jocelyn, on the other hand, is a solo parent and a former grantee of 4Ps but she is still living with her parents. She shared that she badly needs the assistance, but her mother already received SAP as a 4Ps program beneficiary, so she willingly returned the aid she received from DOLE.

Maureen, 42, on the other hand, did not hesitate to return the assistance she received from DOLE because she knew from the start that they are not allowed to receive duplicate cash aid from the government during the pandemic.

Maureen was a maintenance staff in a non-government organization in the city, but the company was forced to close due to the pandemic. Her employer applied for CAMP.

“Idi binagaan dakami ti DOLE nga addan diyay subsidy ti CAMP, saan ko nga napan inala ta ammuk nga bawal nga agawat kami iti duwa ta naala min diyay SAP me nga 4Ps. Idi pinalagipandak ti DSWD staff, napan kon inala idi May 12 ket inderitsok nga insubli ijay DOLE” (When DOLE notified us that we are eligible for the emergency subsidy under CAMP, I did not get the cash from the servicing bank because I knew that it is prohibited for us, beneficiaries, to receive duplicate aid. So when a staff from DSWD reminded me about it, I went to the servicing bank to claim the amount and directly returned it to DOLE), she stated.

While her family struggles financially, she said she values the importance of honesty and responsibility, as highlighted in their monthly FDS.

For Vilma, she admitted that, at first, she felt bad when she learned that they are prohibited to receive duplicate aid, but she later realized that many families affected by the pandemic are also in need of assistance, so she voluntarily returned the duplicate aid that she received.

“Alam ko rin na madaming mga pamilya ang apektado at nangangailangan ng ayuda dahil sa krisis (I also know that many families are affected and badly need assistance because of the crisis), Vilma empathized.

Jocelyn, who is now a displaced worker, believed that the P5,000 cash aid she returned would go a long way in helping to provide the needs of other affected families. Imelda and Maureen, likewise, believe that the subsidy that they have returned would benefit other families in need.

DSWD commended the beneficiaries who voluntarily returned the duplicate aid they received, emphasizing that they exemplify honesty as responsible members of the community and embody the true spirit of malasakit in these trying times. ###

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DSWD assists quake-hit areas in Masbate

Left Photo: A staff of DSWD Field Office V distributes financial assistance to families affected by the tremor that hit several towns in Masbate. Despite the emergency situation, beneficiaries followed the minimum health protocol by wearing their face masks and maintained social distancing while waiting for their turn to receive their cash assistance. 

Right Photo: Members of the DSWD Field Office V disaster team join a Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council meeting.    

Following the magnitude 6.6 earthquake that hit the province of Masbate on August 18, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through its Field Office (FO) V, has immediately extended assistance to affected local government units (LGUs) in conducting a rapid damage assessment and needs analysis in the municipalities of Pio V Corpus, Palanas, and Cataingan.

As of  10 am, August 19,  some 66 families or 334 persons have been affected by the tremor. Of this number, 11 families or 40 persons are currently seeking temporary shelter at the Cataingan National High School.

As part of its augmentation assistance, DSWD FO V, in coordination with the Philippine Navy, will deliver about 2,000 family food packs to the province. In addition, tents and rolls of laminated sacks will also be sent to Cataingan.

Likewise, the FO started today the provision of burial and medical assistance, under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), for the affected locals at the Masbate Provincial Operations Office.  Distribution of cash assistance to families validated with partially damaged and totally damaged houses is also on going.

“We assure the local government units, especially Cataingan, that assistance is ready. Our staff are currently doing assessment in affected areas to determine the needs of residents,” FO Director Arnel Garcia said.

Director Garcia added that the FO has more than 22,000 available family food packs with 884 packs prepositioned at the Masbate Warehouse,  P24.9 million worth of non-food items, and P3 million standby funds that can be used to augment disaster operations.

DSWD continues to coordinate with the provincial government of Masbate for other requests for technical assistance and resource augmentation to ensure that all the needs of their affected constituents will be addressed.

Based on Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 and RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, LGUs are the first responders in the occurrence of natural and man-made calamities, while the DSWD augments their resources through the provision of family food packs and other food and non-food items. The Department also conducts learning and development interventions to capacitate local governments to provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills in responding to calamities and disasters. ###

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DSWD assures all SAP beneficiaries will receive aid due them

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured that it will not close its books on the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) until all target beneficiaries have received the assistance due them.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, during the Department’s Virtual Presser on August 18,  stated, “Ang natitiyak po ng DSWD ay makakarating sa lahat ng benepisyaryo ng SAP ang kanilang ayuda.” 

To date, distribution of the second tranche of SAP is still ongoing and is nearing completion with 92 percent of its target beneficiaries already reached.

To continue the distribution,  the Department is still waiting for the local government units (LGUs) to complete the uploading of the Social Amelioration Card (SAC) forms of the remaining 300,000 beneficiaries and the validation of 200,000 others lacking vital information such as mobile numbers and middle names.

The LGUs were given until August 19 to accomplish these.  As of press time,  some 119,411 SAC forms still need to be uploaded while 167,537 beneficiaries are for validation.

The Department urged the LGUs to fast track their action and accomplish these concerns to immediately facilitate the processing of the SAP assistance of the remaining beneficiaries. ###

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Feature Story – A driver’s “fare” share to the public

When the government announced that public transportation will be allowed to come back this week, the news brought a huge relief to drivers, as they can finally return to work and provide for their families again.

As Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) drivers started to prepare for their eventual reinstatement on the roads of Metro Manila, there was one driver who went the opposite way: straight to the Central Office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Ronabelle Tadic, a solo parent and TNVS driver from Barangay Batasan Hills, Quezon City, drove her service vehicle to the DSWD to return the cash subsidy she received under the Department’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

Ronabelle returned a total of PhP16,000 to the Department, an honesty that can never be counted in cash, despite her family’s current struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the government’s announcement, Ronabelle narrated how life has been hard for her family.

“Taghirap din ‘ho. Hindi ‘ho ako – hindi ‘ho kami nakakapagpasada kasi po tigil pasada kami. Hindi po lahat nabigyan ng pagkakataon na makabyahe sa LTFRB. So, sa ngayon po, wala akong hanapbuhay, tinutulungan lang po ako ng mga kapatid ko, mga in-laws,” Ronabelle said.

After receiving multiple subsidies from SAP, Ronabelle knew that the other set of cash subsidy was not for her, and that the first batch that she received was already sufficient for her family.

“Ah, isinoli ko po itong sobrang ayuda dahil alam ko naman po na hindi po ito para sa akin. Nagpapasalamat po ako dun sa dalawang ayuda na natanggap namin, laking tulong nun,” she added.

There was no doubt in Ronabelle’s mind that the cash subsidy could benefit other people who are in need. According to her, even if she initially received more than what was intended for her family, there were other families out there who greatly needed the financial assistance.

After receiving her official receipt as proof of returning the cash subsidy, Ronabelle encouraged others like her to give back the extra money they received.

“Kung sino man ‘ho ‘yung nakatanggap ng sobra, isoli niyo na ‘ho para naman makatulong sa iba. Huwag ‘ho kayong magalala na sa kamay ng kung sino man mapupunta ‘yung soli niyo, dumeretso po kayo dito sa DSWD office – tsaka meron naman pong resibo in case na magsoli po kayo,” Ronabelle expressed.

With public transportation now back, a TNVS driver drove the extra mile to return her “fare” that will be shared with others. Ronabelle’s honesty deserves more than a rating of five (5) stars. ###

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Former rebels to receive aid from DSWD

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as a member of National Task Force on Ending Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), continues to help former rebels to start their lives anew and return to the fold of society.

The Department’s Field Office (FO) in Region IX conducted a livelihood orientation last August 6, 2020 to former rebels in Surigao del Sur who have surrendered to the 53rd Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The orientation aimed to prepare the 54 former rebels for the subsequent provision of livelihood assistance by DSWD under the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

The former rebels, who are from Districts 1 and 2 of Zamboanga del Sur, are set to receive a total of P1.36 million livelihood assistance grant from the Department.

Aside from DSWD, other national government agencies have extended assistance to the former rebels, including the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) which provided aid through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). The former rebels also received psychosocial interventions from the Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO).

Under DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 3, series of 2020 or the Revised Guidelines in the Implementation of Executive Order No. 70, series of 2018, former rebels and their families, as well as individuals and families affected by armed-conflict who have been referred to DSWD, shall be provided with interventions that would address their immediate needs.

These interventions include temporary shelter, appropriate assistance under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS), and the provision of protective services, such as house rental assistance, psychosocial counseling, food packages, and hygiene and sleeping kits. They will also be assessed to determine the most appropriate DSWD programs and services to be provided to them, such as enrolment in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), provision of livelihood assistance under the SLP, and Cash-for-Work (CFW) Program, among others.

As one of the members of NTF-ELCAC, DSWD guarantees the implementation of social welfare and development programs and services to address various risks and vulnerabilities contributing to insurgency. ###

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DSWD intensifies workplace safety measures to prevent, mitigate COVID-19

As more of its employees test positive for COVID-19, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has intensified its health and safety measures and protocols to prevent and mitigate the spread of the virus in its workplaces.

DSWD has increased the frequency of disinfection and sanitation of its offices and buildings and is enforcing strict adherence to social distancing and wearing of masks and face shields among its employees.

The Department is also implementing a work-from-home and skeletal workforce arrangements among its personnel to limit face to face interaction.

Shuttle services are being provided for employees who are part of the skeletal force, while food rationing is being implemented so personnel need not to go outside to buy food. DSWD has also provided accommodation to employees who could not go home.

In addition, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista has directed the heads of offices to recommend lockdowns, whenever needed, in their respective offices for disinfection and sanitation purposes and prevent further spread of the virus.

The Department also regularly issues health advisories in accordance with Department of Health (DOH) protocols as well as Frequently Asked Questions to guide its staff and increase their awareness to strengthen their compliance with workplace prevention protocols.

As to testing, some 97 DSWD personnel have been tested for COVID-19 with the help of the Marikina Molecular Laboratory, while its employees under the Crisis Intervention Unit were tested through the help of Philippine Coast Guard. Tests have also been conducted for the employees of DSWD Field Offices.

DSWD also came up with algorithms to guide future actions as regard to COVID-19 testing, including if a person underwent a rapid test or a swab test, contact tracing within the workplace, exposure to confirmed COVID-19 cases, and exposure to cases with positive rapid test results.

In addition, the Department also formed a COVID-19 Action Team to monitor and assess the situation of cases in the agency so appropriate actions can be undertaken to further protect its staff and assist employees who tested positive for the disease.

To date, DSWD has recorded 161 confirmed cases among its employees in the Central and Field Offices with 57 recoveries and one death. From March 17 to August 13, more than 1,500 personnel underwent self-quarantine after being exposed to individuals who tested positive for the disease.

DSWD is closely monitoring the condition of its personnel, especially those who contracted the virus, for the provision of appropriate support and interventions. Among the assistance extended by DSWD to affected staff include health monitoring and referral to DOH facilities and provision of personal protective equipment, vitamin supplements, hazard pay, and financial and medical assistance. The Department also provided mental and psychosocial services to the concerned personnel.

DSWD reiterated that despite some of its frontliners testing positive for COVID-19, it remains committed to provide unhampered public service amid the health crisis. ###

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