DSWD approves P15 Million worth assistance for El Niño-hit areas in ZamPen

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has recently approved P15,527,000 to fund the cash-for-work project for the families who have been affected by El Niño induced drought.

The approval was made by DSWD 9 Regional Director Atty. Araceli Solamillo after a series of assessment and validation conducted by the department.

The said amount will be used to implement cash-for-work and food-for-work program in Zamboanga City, Siayan and Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte and Diplahan, Zamboanga Sibugay in response to the request of LGUs to augment their resources in addressing food insecurity caused by the phenomenon.

Based on the project proposal submitted by their respective Local Government Units, Zamboanga City gets P6,300,000 to aid the 3,000 affected farmers, Siayan has a share of P7,096,000 for 4,000 families, Sindangan receives P1,175,700 for its 817 beneficiaries while Diplahan is allocated with P995,500 to pay their 455 identified farmers.

The cash-for-work program will be implemented for 10 days. Each beneficiary will be paid P210 daily, which is 75% of the prevailing regional wage in exchange for doing environment-friendly activities, which will help reduce or minimize the effects of natural disasters, such as drainage and river clean-up, garbage collection, among others.

Solamillo emphasized that the cash-for-work scheme aims at combining short-term lifesaving support through providing monetary assistance to respond to their urgent needs while strengthening long-term resilience by proactively addressing the causes of vulnerability.

“El Niño is having devastating consequences not just around the region, but across the country. We have to step up our efforts by not just providing food security, but more importantly educating and empowering the public, encouraging them to take appropriate actions to avoid worsening the situation whenever we are hit by natural disaster.” Solamillo said in a statement.

Currently, there are 8 municipalities in the region that are still requesting for fund augmentation. Some of them are still under assessment and validation and some have yet to submit pertinent documents, such as project proposal, master list and resolution of the declaration of state of calamity, to be submitted to the DSWD regional office for approval.

DSWD is continuously working with other government agencies, such as Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor and Employment, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources to avoid duplication of interventions.

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DSWD-9 participates in the nationwide earthquake drill

Some 200 employees of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Office 9 evacuated from the office building after the emergency alarm was raised during the simultaneous nationwide earthquake drill yesterday, April 21, 2016.

DSWD joined the other government agencies in Zamboanga City during the announced drill organized and overseen by the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD). This is in the wake of temblors of magnitude-5 that have struck places around the Philippines in recent weeks.

The drill aimed to raise awareness on the imminent dangers that geological catastrophe, such as earthquake, may cause. The day before the drill, participating agencies were also oriented on the safe and standard evacuation procedures during such event.

OCD assigned observers and evaluators coming from different agencies and organizations to document all drill activities in chronological order.

The exercise was followed by a post-drill evaluation meeting where observers and evaluators reported the documentation, to include lessons learned, good practices, and necessary actions to improve emergency procedures, and incorporate them into the agency’s disaster plan.

OCD initially reported that DSWD-9 employees were able to evacuate and reach their assigned evacuation area in 2 minutes and 36 seconds which is not bad as compared to the drill conducted in 2013 wherein it took 10 minutes for the employees to leave the building. The said improvement is attributed to the continuous effort of the management in ensuring that employees are well informed and that hallways and exit routes are clear for smooth to allow safe and prompt evacuation.

OCD will send the complete post-drill evaluation to all participating agencies so that identified gaps will be addressed and incorporated to the agency’s disaster plan.


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CSOs called to register with DSWD before implementing, receiving public funds

In the effort to ensure responsible allocation and use of public funds, Civil Society Organizations are called to undergo assessment through the Department of Social Welfare and Development before they can be recipients, beneficiaries, or implementing entities of government funds

The assessment is part of DSWD’s mandate which is to register, license and accredit CSOs that intend to seek and utilize public funds for the implementation of Social Welfare and Development programs or projects.

CSOs or NGOs applying for DSWD accreditation shall be subjected to “social investigation”, wherein projects and programs that they claim to have implemented will be verified through communities they also claim to have served and worked with. Through the Standards Unit, DSWD shall also conduct series of assessment and validation through existing offices and past involvements in different organizations.

“The process is really tedious. But it’s all worth it because after all we are talking about the public’s money. And we just want to make sure that, families and communities receive quality services in non-discriminatory fashion.” Standard’s Unit Head, Flor Nicanor said in a statement.

Nicanor also reiterated the call for CSOs operating without a registration to start coordinating with the department because they are only given a period of one year to apply.

CSOs shall initiate the registration by submitting an application letter together with accomplished information sheet and complete requirements. For the list of complete requirements and downloadable form, they may visit DSWD’s website at http://www.dswd.gov.ph/downloads-2/forms/

To be accredited, CSO as an implementing entity must meet the following criteria: must have operated for at least three years, no derogatory record with any government agencies, must not be in default or delay in liquidating any funds received from any government agencies, and must not be related within the fourth civil degree of affinity to any DSWD official involved in the processing of its application or any official of the funding government agency.

Whereas, CSOs wanting to be accredited as a beneficiary must satisfy the following criteria: (1) Must be organized and composed of individuals directly affected by the problem/ crisis; (2) Must have undergone social preparation specific to the proposed project; (3) Must be in good standing with all Gas from which it has received; (4) Must not be in default or delay in liquidating any funds from any GA.

DSWD also puts forward the benefits that NGOs may enjoy if they will have their organizations registered: (1) technical Assistance from the DSWD on programs and services implementation.(2) Participation in DSWD’s capability building and skills enhancement and (3) Other benefits and privileges provided from time to time by DSWD.

DSWD has been partnering with various NGOs to monitor and assist in the implementation of its core programs such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Sustainable Livelihood Program and Kalahi-CIDSS, as part of its ‘Gabay, Tulay, Kaagapay’ Partnership Framework.

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DSWD programs uninterrupted amid election ban

Despite the ban on disbursement of public funds implemented by COMELEC, the Department of Social Welfare and Development ensures the public that delivery of services and implementation of programs for the poor will continue.

In a statement, DSWD IX Regional Director Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo confirmed that the release of grants to partner beneficiaries will go uninterrupted since most of the assistance that the department is providing is emergent in nature and some will cover daily expenses of indigent families.

“These programs are social assistance and we cannot deprive the people who badly need them from availing. We cannot put monetary assistance to individuals in crisis or emergency situation on hold only because it’s election.” DSWD 9 Regional Director Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo said in a statement.

Considered as the first responders during disasters are the LGUs, DSWD augments the initial assistance provided by LGUs to people affected by any unpleasant eventualities. However, Solamillo emphasized that LGU should take the responsibility of transporting these relief items to their respective cities/ municipalities.

“They have to pay for the hauling of these materials everytime they request for augmentation assistance. This will serve as their counterpart.” Solamillo said during a meeting with DSWD regional staff on Monday.

Last week, DSWD transported 1,468 family food packs to Basilan intended for internally displaced persons in Tipo-Tipo who have been affected by the clash between the AFP and bandits. Meanwhile, some of the Social Welfare and Development Team of Zamboanga del Sur reported that they have provided financial assistance worth Php225,000 to 440 beneficiaries last week. In addition, DSWD was also able to extend Home Materials Assistance in the amount of 5,000 pesos to each of 66 Zamboanga IDPs.

Some of the programs that will be continuously implemented are Social Pension Program with more than 80,000 beneficiaries in the region, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program with 292,132 grantees, Sustainable Livelihood Program with over 20,000 program participants, Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations, and Supplementary Feeding, among others.

Meanwhile, DSWD assures that they continue to protect their

beneficiaries and programs from undue politicking and reiterates that there are measures in place to empower their beneficiaries so they themselves won’t become victims of such and are able to make informed decisions during the Election Day.

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DSWD holds graduation rites for PWD trainees

AVRC graduates together with Center Head Ms. Leila Awis, Guest Rodolfo Quinday and DSWD Asst. Regional Director for Operations Ms. Consejo Usman during the Graduation Rites held at AVRC in Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City on April 15, 2016

AVRC graduates together with Center Head Ms. Leila Awis, Guest Rodolfo Quinday and DSWD Asst. Regional Director for Operations Ms. Consejo Usman during the Graduation Rites held at AVRC in Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City on April 15, 2016

Nine (9) Persons with Disabilities (PWDS) graduated at DSWD-AVRC today after completing the 6-9 months vocational courses.

DSWD IX Regional Director Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo, represented by Asst. Regional Director for Operations Consejo Usman, confirmed the 9 graduates for 2016 led by the outstanding graduate Nathaniel Victor C. Valdez, who finished a course in massage therapy.

Valdez, being visually impaired shared how he was able to overcome the feeling of inferiority whenever he’s with other physically abled people.

“Kung noon nahihiya kami kasi binubully kami, pagdating sa AVRC madami kami natutunan. Nirerespeto na kami, tapos tinuturuan kami pano makisama sa ibang tao. Madami talaga nagbago na nakatulong para maniwala ako sa kakayahan ko” Valdez said in an interview.

Meanwhile, RD Solamillo, in her message, acknowledged the unique advantages of PWDs and their determination in defeating their insecurities and fear and embracing of what the world can offer amid their condition.

“I believe that PWDs have those unique advantages; and if used properly, these will be the key to your success and the foundation for lasting progress. So I count on your sense of duty as specially-abled citizens in harnessing these gifts to unleash your great potential.” her message read.

The graduates who are orthopedically handicapped, persons with visual impairment and hearing impaired were trained on massage therapy, food service and canteen management, commercial cooking, tailoring, and Basic Computer. Aside from these, psychosocial interventions were also done to socially- prepare them for their mainstreaming and reintegration in the society.

Moreover, the center was able to rehabilitate and job placed 75 PWDs last year.###


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DSWD ties up with ZC LGU, PWD sector for new project

DSWD Officials Asst. Regional Director for Operations Consejo Usman, Social Technology Bureau Representative Marilyn Moral, together with ZC mayor Isabelle Cimaco-Salazar, CSWDO Ma. Socorro Rojas, PWD Official representative Teddy Kahil with some members of PWD community show the signed Memorandum of Agreement on CARe-ABLE project on April 15, 2016 at the Conference Room, City Hall

DSWD Officials Asst. Regional Director for Operations Consejo Usman, Social Technology Bureau Representative Marilyn Moral, together with ZC mayor Isabelle Cimaco-Salazar, CSWDO Ma. Socorro Rojas, PWD Official representative Teddy Kahil with some members of PWD community show the signed Memorandum of Agreement on CARe-ABLE project on April 15, 2016 at the Conference Room, City Hall

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Region IX has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Zamboanga City LGU and PWD sector for the implementation of Community-based interventions for the PWDs on April 15, 2016 at the Conference Room in City Hall.

The project, dubbed as Community Action and Resources for Accessible, Better and Leverage Environment (CARe-ABLE) for PWDs aims to provide holistic intervention to the said sector and reduce barriers from accessing resources both from the government and non-government organizations.

The project will be implemented through creating enabling mechanisms and structures for indigent PWDs and their families to access programs and services and participate in local governance, economic activities and disaster-risk reduction.

Establishment of Community Help Desk for PWDs and provision of financial and technical assistance are only some of the interventions identified by the parties involved.

The DSWD through its Social Technology Bureau (STB) will allocate funds for the pilot implementation of the said project in 5 identified barangays namely Mampang, Taluksangay, Arena Blanco, Labuan and Sangali, since these are the barangays with the most number of PWDs based on 2011 data of Listahanan.

“The pilot implementation of CARe-ABLE project will only cover regions 9 and 5. So we hope that this project will help make some changes in the lives of the PWD sector so it can be replicated in other cities or areas.” DSWD’s STB representative Marilyn Moral said in her message.

Present during the MOA signing were DSWD Asst. Regional Director Consejo Usman, ZC Mayor Isabelle Cimaco-Salazar, STB representative Marilyn Moral, Ma. Socorro Rojas of CSWDO, chairpersons of chosen barangays, and some members of PWD community.###

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DSWD sends some 1,400 food packs to Basilan

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Office 9 sent 1,468 family food packs to the internally displaced families in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan yesterday.

IMG_0859Each family will be provided with two food packs that each contains six (6) kilos of rice and other food items.

The said assistance worth Php675,280 serves as augmentation aid to 734 families who have fled their homes during the AFP-bandits clash last Saturday.

The 3,587 refugees, as reported by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, are currently seeking shelter in three evacuation centers located in Tipo-Tipo Proper, Subah and Amaloy.

Barangays of Baguindan, Silangkum and Bohe Piang were directly affected by the recent clash.

DSWD 9 currently has 8,620 family food packs and 9,000 stockpiles of non-food items on standby.

Aside from the food and non-food items, DSWD is also continuously coordinating with the PSWDO for other augmentation needs, such as manpower.

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She hopes to heal what used to hurt: A sexual assault survivor uses her voice with hopes of empowering others

Life changed in an instant for Sarah (not her real name), as a result of choosing to face her fear and break a painful silence.

She was 15 then when she became a victim of sexual abuse. The alleged perpetrator is no stranger to her. He was even part of her second family where she used to stay in to render some housekeeping services in the province of Zamboanga del Sur.

Sarah who spent her childhood in a municipality in the said province recounted how she and her family were so contented and happy with their life before the horrible incident. But since it was only her elder sister supporting them financially, she had to at least earn a little to make ends meet for their family.

In 2011, she was sent to her aunt’s house to help in the household chores. But in attempt of helping her family, Sarah turned out to be the one who needed help. The husband of her aunt allegedly attempted to rape her. A day that Sarah recounted she thought would be her last.

“Buti na lang nakatakbo agad ako. Tinutukan nya pa ako ng baril. Binantaan nya ako. Kahit na hindi nya man ako nagalaw, na-trauma talaga ako.” Sarah shared.

Because of the fear that it might happen again, or worse, that he will succeed in his intention the next time, Sarah decisively told her teachers and sought their help. She was immediately brought to DSWD for necessary intervention and to take appropriate steps.

A case on Act of lasciviousness was eventually filed against the alleged suspect. Sarah, on the other hand was brought to Home for Girls to undergo psychosocial assistance while the case was ongoing. Not long after, she was transferred to Balay Dangpanan sa Kabataan in Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte, a center managed by DSWD, due to persistent threats coming from her perpetrator.

Wala ku narealize gyud katung mga threats. Pero nahadluk ku katung naa na ku sa center kay abi naku gi preso na ku. Kasi maraming guard, room, bata. May mga rules nga gi sunod. Sigi ku’g hilak.” Sarah opened up.

However, the counseling, and regular meeting with their house parents in the center helped her calm down and adjust to her surroundings.

Despite the pressure and the hurdles that she was going through at that time, Sarah didn’t stop schooling. After graduating in high school, her transfer to Zamboanga City was immediately facilitated by DSWD so she can continue her education without being distracted by the threats that she has been constantly receiving.

In 2012, she was enrolled in one of the colleges in Zamboanga City and took up course in education. On top of the adjustments that she had to go through again, she was also faced with rejection.

“May mga friends ako dati, pero nung nalaman nila yung sitwasyon ko, umiwas sila kasi natakot silang madamay. Kaya feeling ko noon kakaiba ako sa mga ibang studyante.” Sarah disclosed, saying that she was fastidiously selective on people whom to share her story with.

Her decision to keep her story unknown from the people in school also became a challenge for her to seek permission from her teachers to absent herself whenever she had to attend the hearing in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur.

“Ang hirap talagang magpaalam sa teachers. Na kailangan ko mag-absent ng ilang araw para pumunta sa hearing. Tapos, kailangan pang magtago kapag pumupunta dun para umiwas sa kalaban.” Sarah narrated in tears.

And the years went by filled with fear and pain for Sarah, but hope never left her heart. Somehow, her studies contributed in her recovery little by little. That instead of thinking about her fear and pain, she became busy complying with her school projects and other academic requirements.

Yung negative experiences ko, nakakalimutan ko na. Mas naiisip ko yung mga projects, mga ikokomply sa skul. Kaya sobrang nagpapasalamat ako sa DSWD kasi hindi lang bahay, pamilya at pag-alalaga yung binigay nila sa akin. Yung suporta na binigay nila sakin sa pag-aaral, malaking tulong yun.” Sarah said while fending off her tears.

SarahSarah in no time finished her college education. Just last April 8, 2016, she was conferred with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, a milestone in her life that her family couldn’t just miss.

In that day, her mom who came all the way from Manila where she’s working as a house maid, her father from Davao who used to work as a gravedigger and her younger brother who traveled all the way from Bohol just to witness her sister’s graduation.

For a day, it was like a dream come true for Sarah who was able to make her family come together after several years of being away from each other, as a result of her situation. She added that part of her motivation and determination comes from her desire to build a house for her family where they can stay together.

“Pangarap ko to na magkita-kita kami ulit, magkasama. Kaya kailangan ko talagang makatapos para makahanap ng maayos na trabaho. Priority ko talaga ang magkabahay para maipon ko na yung pamilya ko at di na kame magkawatak-watak.” Sarah added.

At this point in time of Sarah’s life, she is still able to see the pinprick of hope that someday she will get by and survive these challenges. While scared and ashamed at first, it eventually became such a relief for her to be able to get a step closer to realize her dreams for her family. She is also able to slowly realize that she doesn’t deserve to carry the shame any longer and would like to begin to use her voice to encourage the other survivors who are scared to break their silence and try to forget them themselves.

“Kung may ginawang masama sa kanila, wag matakot magsumbong. Kung binabastos sila hindi sila dapat mahiyang magsabi, kasi baka walang tutulong, kung di nila kasalanan wag sila matakot.”

With courage and faith in God, Sarah believes that her life is bigger than what happened to her in that one fateful day. She acknowledges that she has still got a lot of healing to do, but nevertheless she also got a wonderful life in front of her.### Lei Mohammad, DSWD-9

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