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Social Welfare Office assures public of impartial service delivery

Cordillera Administrative Region- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here reiterates its commitment in delivering impartial public service to the Cordillera people. This is despite the worries raised due to the rejection of the appointment of former DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo.

“We would like to ensure that the DSWD here will continue to deliver our programs and services with excellence regardless of our clients’ affiliation”, DSWD-CAR OIC Regional Director Janet P. Armas said.

Director Armas highlighted that the DSWD-CAR continues to adhere to DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 9 which aims to promote the fair and equitable implementation of the Department’s programs and services by ensuring that those who are truly in need are the ones benefiting from the said program.

“Our offices are open to all individuals who have social welfare and development concerns. The Department has already set its guidelines in the selection of its beneficiaries and we ensure that our Office accepts any grievance that might concern this”, Director Armas added.

The Department is currently maintaining its own database of poor households through the Listahanan. A nationwide assessment was conducted in 2015 using the Proxy Means Test which aims to identify whether a household is poor or non-poor through a number of variables. Listahanan-identified poor households comprise the priority beneficiaries of most of DSWD programs and services like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and the Sustainable Livelihood Program.

“Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries are identified through a set of qualifications. First is that the household should be included in the Listahanan-identified poor. Second, the family should have a pregnant mother or a child 0-18 years old during the time of assessment. And lastly, the family should agree to comply with the Program’s conditionalities. These need to be satisfied for a family to be included in the Program. Again, the DSWD has the sole authority to add or remove from the list of its beneficiaries”, Director Armas said.

Services like the Expanded Assistance to Individuals in Crises Situation (E-AICS) recognize the assessment of potential beneficiaries conducted by government social workers through the social case study report. Beneficiaries of Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens are identified by the local social welfare and development officers in partnership with the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in the area and are validated by DSWD-CAR personnel. Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), the Government’s community-driven development program, selects its beneficiaries through the municipality’s poverty incidence and income class.

Meanwhile, there are DSWD programs and services that also cater to all individuals regardless of their economic status such as the Supplementary Feeding Program, Alternative Parental Care services, and center-based services. Victims of disaster may also receive assistance from the DSWD upon the completion of necessary documentary requirements.

“The Department will continue to provide its programs and services to anyone who needs our assistance. We will not look into the political affiliation, culture, or sector where an individual belongs to prior the provision of our program or service. As long as they satisfy our requirements or our guidelines, rest assured that we will serve them. Patuloy kaming mag-bibigay ng maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo sa lahat ng Cordilleran sa abot ng aming makakaya”, Director Armas said.

Queries on DSWD programs and services can be forwarded to the Regional Office through (074) 446-56-91 or focar@dswd.gov.ph. DSWD-CAR can also be reached through its social media accounts at www.facebook.com/dswdfocar or at @dswdfocar on Twitter.# DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva

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65 Cordi munis, cities recognized for child-friendly practices

Out of the 1,176 local government units (LGUs) identified to be eligible to receive the Seal of Child-Friendly Local Governance (SCFGL) for 2016, a total of sixty-three (63) municipalities and two (2) cities are from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

This has been the result of the Child-Friendly Local Governance Audit (CFLGA) done during the 2nd quarter of 2016. The said audit is being spearheaded by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC).

“For a city or municipality to be conferred with the SCFLG, the LGU needs to undergo an assessment process which includes table validation and field assessment conducted by various bodies”, DSWD-CAR OIC Regional Director Janet P. Armas said.

LGUs vying for the recognition are required to do a self-assessment focusing on the provision of programs and services to children, advocacy and observance of children’s rights and the integration of these to their local policies. LGUs that pose a score not lower than 75% undergo a verification process done by the members of the Regional Inter-Agency Monitoring Task Force (RIMTF) composed of representatives from the Department of Education (DepEd), (DILG), Department of Health (DOH), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The result of this assessment is then provided to the Regional Secretariat of the Council for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) under the DSWD. The RSCWC transmits this to the CWC for further assessment.

For 2016, there are ten (10) municipalities and Baguio City from Benguet Province that have been conferred the Seal of Child-Friendly Local Governance for 2016. There are twenty-three (23) municipalities in Abra, five (5) in Apayao, seven (7) municipalities and Tabuk City in Kalinga, ten (10) from Ifugao and eight (8) from Mountain Province that also received the seal.

The municipality of Sablan in Benguet Province under the 4th to 6th Class Municipality Category and Baguio City for Highly Urbanized City Category were able to reach the minimum 85% score and land in the top four (4) of the list in the region, qualifying them to be assessed for the Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities (PACFMC). Also included in the top list are Tabuk City, Kalinga for the Component City Category and the municipality of Rizal (Liwan), Kalinga under the 1st to 3rd Class Municipality Category. The aforementioned municipalities are also considered as the regional winners for the said categories.

LGUs that are conferred with the Presidential Award will be able to receive a project worth PhP 500,000.00. The winning LGU will be allowed to submit a project proposal focusing on capacity building activities, purchase of equipment and supplies, innovation projects, monitoring, evaluation, and documentation of child-related projects. Meanwhile, regional winners will also be granted PhP 50,000.00 worth of project.

On the other hand, assessment of potential conferees of the Seal of Child-Friendly Local Governance for 2017 has already started. # DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva

 

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1,870 Typhoon Lawin victims receive shelter assistance

After the thorough assessment of their documents, beneficiaries of the shelter assistance were able to receive the cash cards from Landbank which allowed them to immediately avail of the assistance.

Cordillera Administrative Region – Around PhP 12,715,000.00 has already been released by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here to 1,870 households whose houses have been damaged during the onslaught of Typhoon Lawin in 2016.

The shelter assistance was released through cash cards. This was done in partnership with the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) Baguio Branch.

“Unlike the first release which is in the form of cash, the remaining assistance to the victims is now being provided through cash cards which the victims can use in case that they will again need the assistance of the Department”, DSWD OIC-Regional Director Janet P. Armas said.

In 2016, Typhoon Lawin victims whose houses were damaged were given Emergency Shelter Cash Assistance (ESA) amounting to PhP 5,000.00 as an immediate and initial response to help rebuild their homes. Subsequently, a validation was conducted to ensure veracity of documents submitted to the Department. Victims who are able to comply with the requirements of the Department have been considered eligible for the second tranche of assistance amounting to PhP 5,000.00 for partially damaged houses, and PhP 25,000.00 for totally damaged houses.

In July 2017, the victims from the municipalities of Bokod, Kabayan, and Tuba in Benguet, and Baguio City were the first to receive their cash cards.

As of 23 August 2017, 856 households in Benguet and Baguio City were able to receive the assistance amounting to PhP 5,780,000.00 This accounts to all target beneficiaries in the said area.

Meanwhile, there are already 202 households in Kalinga Province who have received the assistance amounting to PhP 1,370,000.00. Around PhP 5,565, 000.00 assistance has also been distributed to 812 victims in Abra Province.

The Department is expected to provide the Emergency Shelter Assistance amounting to Php 268,635,000.00 to 45,007 households in the Region.

“The amount we have released is just a small portion of our target which means that most of our beneficiaries are still waiting for our assistance. And we, in the Department, are exhausting all our efforts to release the remaining assistance within August to September”, Disaster Response Management Focal Mary Ann G. Buclao said.

To further facilitate the release, distribution of ESA cash cards is being done in the municipal level. Meanwhile, beneficiaries who were not able to claim the cash cards during the on-site distribution can claim their cash cards at Baguio City Landbank Servicing Branch. Beneficiaries are required to bring one (1) 2×2 ID photo, a valid identification (ID) card with photo, photocopy of the valid ID and/ or Barangay Certificate signed by the Barangay Captain in absence of a valid ID.a

The DSWD-CAR will be coordinating with the respective Local Social Welfare and Development Offices on the specific schedule of the release of assistance.  #DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva and Phylein Maria Rosette U. Callangan

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Centenarians receive 100K incentive from Social Welfare Agency

A centenarian from Abra receives the Php 100,000 incentive from DSWD.

Cordillera Administrative Region– The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here has already released a total amount of Php 1.3 million to thirteen (13) centenarians from the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Kalinga and Mountain Province. The said amount is the incentive being provided to the centenarians or their families as a form of recognition and assistance.

The said incentive is the Department’s contribution in the implementation of Republic Act 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016, also known as an “Act Honoring and Granting Additional Benefits and Privileges to Filipino Centenarians, and for Other Purposes”.

In the Cordillera Administrative Region, there are twenty-three (23) centenarians who have qualified to receive the Php 100,000 incentive. Of the 23, nine (9) are from Mt. Province, four (4) from Apayao, Abra, and Kalinga and one (1) from Baguio City and Ifugao.

“One of the challenges that we encounter on the provision of the cash incentive to our centenarians is the lack of documents verifying their date of birth.”, DSWD-CAR OIC-Regional Director Janet P. Armas said.

DSWD’s Memorandum Circular No. 4, Series of 2017 states that the birth certificate or Philippine passport of the centenarian should be presented to the local social welfare and development officer, head of the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in partnership with a partner Civil Society Organization for the verification of the centenarian’s date of birth.

In the absence of the aforementioned documents, Senior Citizen’s identification (ID) card or any Philippine-government issued ID may also be accepted. Meanwhile, two (2) of the following secondary documents maybe accepted in the absence of the aforementioned primary IDs:

– Marriage certificate;
– Birth certificate of children borne by/of the centenarian issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) of the Local Civil Registrar;
– Affidavits executed by at least two (2) disinterested persons who are at least 80 years old with personal knowledge of centenarian’s actual age or date of birth;
– Old school or employment record showing date of birth of centenarian;
– Baptismal and/ or Confirmation records of centenarian certified by the parish church and other religious denomination;
– Medical or dental examination issued by medical practitioners; or
– Other related documents stating the date of birth of the centenarian.

Meanwhile, out of the 13, eight (8) centenarians were able to personally receive the cash incentive while the incentive of the deceased centenarians was received by their families or their representatives.

In a supplemental guideline, Filipino centenarians, whether residing in the country or abroad, who were alive when the law took effect on 15 July 2016 but died before the actual implementation of the law are still entitled to receive the incentive.
This shall be received by the legal representative or the nearest surviving relative of the centenarian.

On the other hand, the DSWD is still distributing the remaining Php 1 million to the centenarians who have not received their incentive.

For 2017, the DSWD-CAR has already received the documents of around 79 centenarians. However, the said documents are still for evaluation and verification. Incentive for the said centenarians are targeted to be released 3rd quarter of this year.

“We will do our best to fast track the release of the incentives because we recognize that time is of the essence. We hope that all our stakeholders, especially the family of our centenarians will be proactive in the process. We also hope that the incentive will be properly used for the benefit of the centenarians”, Director Armas said.

Any queries, comments, or grievances regarding the incentive can be forwarded to the local social welfare and development office, OSCA or to DSWD-CAR through https://www.facebook.com/dswdfocar/, focar@dswd.gov.ph or (074) 446-59-61 and look for Ms. Rojhelea Claur.# DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva

 

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Multi-awarded volunteer sparks inspiration as Kalahi volunteer

Mr. Kimbongan being recognized as one of the panelists during DSWD-CAR’s Regional Talakayan and Sharing of Lessons. He shared his experiences as a Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer in front of the different stakeholders of DSWD including local chief executives and representatives from partner NGAs.

For someone to render or express his willingness to undertake a service without getting paid or expecting valuable rewards is a truly inspiring act. A selfless act that is usually associated to those we call “volunteers” – bighearted and empowered individuals that are often unrecognized of their priceless service.

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” Elizabeth Andrew once said.

Volunteers are treasure to most government and non-government organizations that are into community service and community-driven development which includes the Kapit- Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS, now a National Community Driven Development Program (NCDDP) under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Throughout the two-year implementation of the Kalahi-CIDSS program in Atok, Benguet, the purpose of the program which is empowerment is slowly being fulfilled. This is evident on certain individuals and groups in the community who had shown exemplary performance and enhanced their knowledge and skills by actively participating in the implementation, decision-making, and management of development activities in the Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) of the program.

Most of them are community volunteers who willingly sacrificed their time just to involve themselves in the technical, financial and social management of the program.

One volunteer stands out among them all. His story truly embodies an empowered person. He began a journey as a simple volunteer who later involved himself to different government and non-government programs implemented in their barangay until he became a multi-awarded individual. He is Manong Moreno an Audit and Inventory Team (AIT) member for the Kalahi-CIDSS first cycle implementation and later became the Chairperson of the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) during the second cycle.

Manong Moreno Kimbongan hails from barangay Naguey, Atok, Benguet. A 53-year old jolly guy who lives alone, he manages a piggery and raises chickens for a living.

He actually dreamt of becoming an accountant but financial constraints caused him not to get a college degree. Gladly, as an AIT member he is now living a bit of that dream.

With his educational background, he still became “somebody” worth mentioning in his community. His long involvement to different local and national organizations, firms, and religious activities earned him various awards. If the municipality would have their own version of Hall of Fame awards, I bet he would be number one on the list.

He was a volunteer to the Plan International, a non-government organization in the 90’s for the organization’s livelihood project and child fostering services. In 1992, he was awarded as the Most Developed Volunteer by the organization.

From then, he continued his volunteerism joining cooperatives and Barangay Health Workers (BHWs). In 2006, his dedication landed an award as “Most Outstanding BHW.”

Receiving awards did not stop him from learning continuously. He involved himself to government sponsored seminars and trainings on Gender and Development, Barangay Child Protection Council, Case Management, Violence Against Women and Children Law, First- Aid among others.

In 2014, when the Kalahi-CIDSS was introduced to his barangay, Manong Moreno considered it as another opportunity to serve his “Kailyans,” thus becoming a volunteer.

The Kalahi-CIDSS is a community driven development program highly involves the community in its operation, consequently there is a need to create a BSPMC. This is composed of community residents representing various teams such as the AIT to implement the sub-project.

His experiences in volunteering to other national programs and his experience on financial management prompted Manong Moreno to be a member of the Audit and Inventory Committee. His knowledge and skills fits for the committee. Having attended trainings on finance, his knowledge and skills were enhanced letting him effectively perform his role during the sub-project implementation.

As the community empowerment facilitator (CEF) assigned in his barangay, Manong Moreno does not only help his community but he continues to inspire them including me, through his diligence, initiative, versatility, trustworthiness and many others.

Observing him, I can say that he became the mobilizer and teacher of his team and co-volunteers. He became more of a co-facilitator to the CEF in every barangay activities starting from the first Barangay Assembly of cycle 2 where he facilitated the discussion on Gender and Development. He also became the focal person for the succeeding activities specified in the CEAC.

Sometimes, he initiates BSPMC meetings and assists in the preparation of proposals. Diligently, he computes payroll rates and was always present during SPI Monitoring.

Working with him, I think he understands the importance of meetings and actively participates especially on project proposal preparation. When asked why he chose to stay as a volunteer, he said “kayat ko tumulong ta naragragsak ti mangted ngem ti umawat maysa pay ket ti resulta na daytoy ket living legacy nga pakalaglagipan me kadigiti apo min to (I want to help [my community] because I’m happier when I give rather than receive. Another thing is, this is a legacy we could leave to our grandchildren)”.

Despite his educational limitations, he had already contributed priceless things that enabled various national and local program successfully implement their services.  Particularly, his efforts are invaluable in the completion their sub-project – concreting of barangay Naguey Community Footpath with Railings.

Manong Moreno might not have fulfilled his dream to become an accountant but living his dreams while being able to give back to his community is more valuable than a piece of diploma. Being recognized are just bonuses for all his efforts. Indeed, the lack of a degree is not a hindrance in sparking inspiration to others. #DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Azriel Dolo-CEF with Jasmin Kiaso.

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Bangaan footpath: More than what it seems

Kasiyan na (All is well)! Leonard Omilleng, a farmer from barangay Tanolong says that the footpath has eased their difficulty in transporting their products to the main road.

It’s harvest time in Sagada, Mountain Province and it seems that this season is different from the previous years for the people of barangay Bangaan. As the newly concreted footpath sits around the farms and homes of the community, agricultural products are transported without delay.

The recent completion of the 1,447-linear meter footpath in barangay Bangaan brought sigh of relief to this community, so as they say. And, the people’s journey in finally realizing this decades-old dream have drawn us to visit this land of majestic caves and refreshing waterfalls.

Upon arrival at sitio Guesang of Barangay Bangaan, a mighty waterfall silently flowing between the lush mountains from afar greeted our eyes.

Having met two community volunteers while conducting courtesy call at the municipal hall, we considered ourselves fulfilled for this supposed “surprise” visit.

Great stories in between project implementation

Claudine Mang-osan and Jovy Dacwag, both community volunteers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensve and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS) cheerfully agreed to accompany us to their sub-project- a footpath. From the moment we met, I could sense their pride for being part of a historic project.

They told us that the footpath is the first and biggest project that was brought in sitio Guesang. It was financed through DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS and the municipal local government unit of Sagada.

Last June 20, it was formally turned over to barangay Bangaan local government unit and will be under the care and maintenance of Guesang Farmer’s Organization Incorporated.

Among the 477 barangays implementing the DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS, barangay Bangaan is one of those with good record in the overall implementation of the program.

While walking through the footpath, Claudine and Jovy kept sharing their experiences in a manner that sounded as if they never had problems during the implementation of the program.

“Adda met lang ti saan nga panagkikinaawatan no mamingsan ngem tadta nga nalpas kasla nalipatan amin diyay pati ti bannog (We also had our own share of misunderstandings but after everything was finished, it’s like we forgot all of those even our tiredness),” Claudine says while Jovy nods.

“First time mi nga makiparticipate ti kastoy nga project ken first time mi pay nga makipala ken makimasa (It as our first time to participate in this kind of project. I was even our first time to use shovel and mix [cement and sand],” they revealed.

Climbing all the way down to the artfully carved rice fields, Jovy and Claudine remembered their thrilling experiences from participating in construction-related labor. “Mabalin gayam nga makipordia ti babae no kastoy nga trabaho (Women can be laborers in [construction-related] works),” they realized.

It was a complete tour around their sub-project as they showed us the specific sites where children and elders used to cross creeks with difficulty, and where farmers used give up carrying their products due to muddy or steep trail.

“No maminsan ket haanen nga isang-at dagitoy saba gapo ti kadagsen na ken karigat pay ti dalan, uray maibati nga madadael laengen idiay garden (There are times that we won’t bother bringing these bananas home because it’s heavy and the trail is difficult. We would just leave it at the farm,” Claudine says.

Our learning visit allowed us to meet two guys trying to catch their breath along the way. They had sacks of rice beside them.

Both of them beamed when we asked about how are they now with the concreted footpath. “Ad-adu ah ti maeganan mi tadta ta napinpintas ti pagnaan,” they bragged. While we continued our walk, we thought that this is one of the perks in working with communities, seeing a small project bring bright smiles from farmers.

We also learned that they are from a nearby barangay but they own a farm in barangay Bangaan. “Adu ti mabenepisyarana daytoy nga footpath ta pati taga Tanolong, Fidelisan, Aguid, Pide ken Madongo ket magna da ditoy (A lot of people are benefitting from this footpath because folks from barangay Tanolong, Fidelisan, Aguid, Pide and Madongo are passing through this path)” Jovy says.

The 1.4 Million pesos is definitely worth it when it is being used by 181 households or even more from nearby barangays.

Our hike back up to the community volunteer’s office gave us the opportunity to refresh our eyes and our camera with Bangaan waterfall and the mountain around the small sitio while filling our lungs with fresh mountain air.

 

Simple but effective strategies

Over a cup of coffee, Claudine and Jovy recollected their memories in the implementation of Kalahi-CIDSS. They talked about simple strategies which greatly worked for them.

“Ti inkasta mi ket pakyaw labor, nagudwa kami iti tallo nga grupo isunga kanayon nga adda ti agtrabtrabaho idiay tallo nga site (we followed the pakyaw labor, we divided ourselves into three groups so in each site there would always be laborers.,” Jovy narrated.

Through different strategies, they were able to finish the sub-project within 40 days only against the 60 days target.

Claudine also talked about their division of labor between husbands and wife and how they managed to continue with their normal agricultural activities while conducting all the activities within the Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC).

The CEAC is a five-stage learning process designed for communities to realize their individual and collective strength, acquire and develop community project management skills, and increase their confidence in engaging local governments in dialogues.

“Tapno haan nga maapektaran ti panaggarden mi, ginudwa mi ti trabaho kadagiti agasawa. No dua nga aldaw ti babae sumublat met nga next dagidiay lallaki (so that our agricultural activities will not be affected, we divided the labor between husband and wife. If the wife worked for two days, the next days would be the husband,” Claudine explained.

 “Inlista mi no anya dagidiay matrabaho idiay garden ken idiay construction ken kinita mi ti mabalin nga trabahoen ti babae wenno lalaki tapos ineschedule mi ti panagtrabaho (we listed all specific work in the farm and in the construction and then we identified if these can be done whether by men or women. After that, we made the work schedule),” she continued.

The volunteers and laborers also regularly updated each other on the status of construction thus they were able to manage the manpower coming from the three pakyaw groups.

“Dagidiay nakalpas ti batang na idiay maysa nga site apan da tinmulong idiay bangir nga site isunga at least napaspas nga nalpas ti trabaho (Those who finished their designated work, they went to help at the other site that’s why we finished the project fast),” Claudine added.

Claudine and Jovy reflected that their barangay possesses a very important value which is unity or cooperation. “No functional ti volunteers ket kasiyana man (if the volunteers are functional, things will flow smoothly),” Claudine said.

DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the poverty alleviation programs of the government that seeks to help alleviate poverty through community-driven development or CDD.

CDD is a development strategy that puts power in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to decide the development of their communities. #DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Jasmin P. Kiaso

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Feature: Solo but not alone

Itogon, Benguet– It was fate that forced her to live a solo life but Mary of Virac, Itogon, Benguet was never alone.

In 2006, Mary Bayangan and five children were left behind because of his husband’s death. Aside from the pain of living without his partner in life, Mary had to bear the consequences of this demise.

“My husband worked as a farmer and a miner. It was 1996 that he started to become ill, and every year it got worse. We worked together to get through. Life is hard then but without him, it became harder”, Mary shared in vernacular.

To provide for the family’s needs, Mary had to be a jack of all trade. She engaged in various income generating activities. Once a week, she accepted laundry services. She also worked for a farm and was paid on a daily basis. She even engaged in manual hauling of sand and gravel in their area.

It was in 2006 when Mary became a Barangay Health Worker. But with the responsibility that entails her being a solo parent, she had to exert even more effort.

“In the afternoon, I have to collect “naba” (rejected mineral deposits with gold traces) and haul them manually to the foot of the mountain. I need to collect 8 sacks of these before I can process it to get the gold. Around 40 sacks of it will give me Php 15,000 to Php 18,000 but it would take me more than one month to collect such”, Mary shared.

The money she earned sustained the education of her children. But there are other needs of the family. It was in 2012 when Mary’s family was included in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Not alone

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4P’s is one of the poverty alleviation programs of the government implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).  It is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor households, particularly of children aged 0-18 years old. The program provides cash grants to beneficiaries provided that they comply with the set of conditions required.

“The assistance is really not enough, but it was a big help”, Mary said.

As a parent leader, aside from the cash assistance she received, Mary was also able to attend various trainings which honed her leadership skills and enhance her knowledge about values formation. Through the experiences, she was able to gain more than the assistance and knowledge but a treasure that she can keep for a lifetime- her friends.

“I was able to meet other people who are in the same situation as I do. And eventually, we became friends”, Mary added.

Solo but happy and fulfilled

Despite all the challenges and hardships, Mary maintained her positive disposition in life and now, she is reaping the fruits of her sacrifices.

“When my husband passed away, neighbors doubted by capacity to send my children to school. But I was determined to give my children the best gift that I can give them, their education”, she said.

Three of her children are now professionals. Her eldest, Zahani is a teacher, Afani Grail is a nurse and Sixto Jr. is a government employee with a degree in Information Technology.

Though the family has already been removed from 4Ps, Ivan Amiel and Jethro Lee, who were then enrolled as Pantawid beneficiaries, are still both in school.

“I always encourage other parents to do their best to send their children to school. Poverty should not be the reason for the children not to finish their studies”, Mary added.

From being a parent leader, Mary is now the President of Itogon Solo Parents Association.

“In the past, I always wished to be able to talk in front of many people and share my story. And now, I am able to fulfill this. I am happy that I also got to travel to Cebu and Naga because of my engagement in the association”, she shared.

Solo parents are encouraged to form their selves into a group for support and to further advocate their rights as a sector. Republic Act 8972 or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000 provides for the benefits and privileges of solo parents which includes additional leave privileges, livelihood assistance, scholarship for the children and others.

Meanwhile, Mary has been hired as an Administrative Aide III through the local government’s livelihood program. This gave her the opportunity not just to earn a living but also to continue doing what she loves- inspiring and serving people.

The passing of her husband led to Mary being a solo parent, but for her, this episode in their life taught them to become strong and how to let go of the past. This has tested her attitude and determination, but in the end, Mary stands in triumph.

“To other solo parents who are losing hope, do not give up. Just push through with your plans.”, she added.

Kahit saan ako pumunta, may handang tumulong saakin. Hindi ko alam kung anong dahilan kung bakit ako naging solo parent pero dito ko nakita na may Diyos na nagmamahal sa aming mga solo parent”, Mary shared.

The loss of her husband might have left a missing part in Mary’s life but, she is not alone in this journey. And she is full of hope and inspiration to spending her days ahead with her family while fulfilling the dreams they have. # DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva with reports from Joseph Tolingan, SWA, Itogon, Benguet

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Citizens wanted: The role of BLGU in community-led development

The BLGU of Catlubong, Buguias, Benguet received the recognitions for their hardwork and sacrficies during the Kalahi-CIDSS Bayani Ka! Awards in 2016.

Always dressed in the usual jacket-pants-bonnets, they organize people, conduct assemblies, give rewards and prizes, and partner with agencies who somehow share the same interest of their people.

They don’t appear fancy nor eloquent but their management and leadership skills can surely speak for them.

They are the officials of Barangay Catlubong, Buguias – the Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) winner of the Regional Bayani Ka! Awards 2016 held in Baguio on December 15, 2016.

Conceived during barangay assemblies

Following the empowerment cycle of the Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalagi-CIDSS) Project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Barangay Catlubong realized the importance of barangay assemblies.

According to local government code, barangay assemblies should be held twice a year. However, in Kalahi-CIDSS, the barangays are asked to meet five times a year.

“The barangay assemblies required by Kalahi-CIDSS help in organizing people to target and address the real problem in the barangay,” Punong Barangay Melchor Guesey said.

“However, gathering them in this barangay proved to be a challenge since, culturally, Benguet people usually build their houses near their farms thus, away from each other” Guesey added.

“This makes it difficult to call for assemblies and satisfy the 80% participation rate,” he continued.

But having to meet more than usual, the barangay officials seized the opportunity to mobilize the community to work together in a community project.

Guesey narrated one of their strategies in satisfying a high participation rate. “We were delighted they used their own vehicle to fetch residents from far sitios so they can join the barangay assemblies”, he shared.

To further encourage participation in their community, the BLGU synchronized the barangay assemblies with other meetings of the Parents Teachers Association, barangay council and COMELEC.

“Another strategy is we tried to give rewards to those sitios who are performing well. We allotted the 20% of the Barangay Development Fund to the sitio with the highest participation rate,” Guesey continued.

According to Community Empowerment Facilitator Grace Dumangeg, the barangay officials started mobilizing their people to join the roster of community volunteers after understanding the purpose of the program.

“The community volunteers are expressing thanks that they are able to attend trainings sponsored by Kalahi-CIDSS and the LGU as they realize that the time and effort they poured during the trainings and implementation paid off because they can now discern barangay development efforts in wider perspective”, Dumangeg added

Meanwhile, the linkage skills of the BLGU was tested while conducting activities stipulated in the Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC).

Guesey said that gathering people for an activity means spending resources for meals and snacks.  But then, through partnership with other agencies, feeding a whole community did not become a problem at all.

One time, they were able to ask a farm product distributor to sponsor their lunch and snacks. “Though sometimes when the sponsorship is not enough, the barangay officials defray some of the expenses from their own pockets” Dumangeg said.

 

Bringing CDD to a local yet higher level

Showing support to community-led development is not enough for BLGU Catlubong. Thus, they took it upon themselves to adopt the Kalahi way of allotting budget to the barangay assembly’s decision.

“Within one year of Kalahi-CIDSS implementation, the budget plan of our Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) was decided by the barangay assembly. The people are now the main decision-makers,” Guesey proudly remarked. In the past, budgeting the barangay IRA had always been in the hands of the BLGU.

Further, Guesey was requested to help motivate Barangay Sebang, a nearby barangay on the verge of waiving the implementation of the second cycle.

“He gladly said yes so we went to Barangay Sebang during one of the meetings in the barangay. There, he talked about community-driven development emphasizing its benefits to the people.” Dumangeg narrated.

He told them that grants to develop the community is not an everyday thing due to limited resources so they should grab the opportunity.

Aside from his inspirational talk, he gave five thousand pesos to the community volunteers for their transportation allowance since one of their problems is the transportation cost in processing documents needed in the project.

Fulfilling their accountability to ensure that their people’s needs are met, BLGU Catlubong has also been linking registered organizations in their barangay to agencies who can help fund their projects or capacity-building activities.

The many and fast development in the barangay can be credited to the officials who poured their labor to achieve it.  By networking with national line agencies, local government unit and private institutions, the barangay received projects which is now being enjoyed by their people.

“We recognize the efforts of BLGU Catlubong as active partner implementers of the Kalahi-CIDSS program. This just shows that the community has really adopted the community driven development approach” Kalahi-CIDSS Deputy Regional Program Manager Imelda Tuguinay said.

“Catlubong has already completed their project for the first cycle and they are again prioritized this second cycle. The community is now reaping the gains of all their hard work. We salute the BLGU of Catlubong for paving the way of their community towards development. We hope that more citizens like them flourish in our region as we continue working together for community development”, Tuguinay added. #DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Jasmin P. Kiaso

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