BaSulTa Region to officially conclude household validation this week

The National Household Targeting Unit (NHTU) will officially conclude the conduct of Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) validation in the Province of Sulu on or before Friday.  “We expect to finish on June 8 with our validation activity in the remaining municipalities of Sulu,” said Ben Nasser B. Isnain, Regional Field Coordinator of NHTU-BaSulTa.

The BaSulTa Region with three island provinces has a total target of approximately 141,000 poor households for validation. Sulu has the biggest target at 96,063 households, followed by Basilan (27,123) and Tawi-Tawi (18,288) respectively. “We started last April 15 in Tawi-Tawi and April 17 in Basilan. Both provinces were able to complete the validation last May 15, while the Province of Sulu began its validation last May 5,” added Isnain.

Moreover, a total of 471 validators and 42 administrative aides were deployed in the said provinces. Based on the partial report dated June 1, 2018, there were 25,773 and 17,082 households validated in Basilan and Tawi-Tawi respectively, while 68,258 were validated in Sulu. On the contrary, 982 households were not validated excluding those from the latter.

According to Isnain, some of the target households had already migrated to other places such as Malaysia, neighboring provinces, municipalities, and even cities due to “financial and economic reasons.” Furthermore, he also noted that others were displaced or forced to transfer because of the peace and order situation and other similar concerns.

During the whole duration of the activity, the RFC mentioned that they “…encountered a series of problems such as the presence of Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA), unpredictable weather conditions, no regular transportation, and pre and post-election tensions, among others.”

Right after all forms are encoded, a final list will be recommended to the Central Office. “By following the process flow of the validation, a final list will be recommended afterwards to the UCT National Program Management Office (UCT-NPMO) who shall identify the potential beneficiaries of UCT Program,” ended Isnain.

The payout for 2018 is expected to happen on the 3rd quarter of the year after the Data Collection and Analysis Phase.

Following the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, to reduce the impact of increase in prices of products affected by the tax reform, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is mandated to provide social mitigating measures to protect the poor and vulnerable who will not benefit from the lower income taxes but accordingly will be adversely affected by the rising prices. The UCT Program is one of those identified mitigating measures. Meanwhile, the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) shall determine the remaining 2.8 million potential beneficiaries (out of 10 million) by conducting a validation activity to ensure that only the poorest of the poor will be part of the program. ###


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Listahanan bares plan to produce IEC material on regional profile of the poor

The National Household Targeting Unit (NHTU) is expected to come up with an information, education and communication (IEC) material on the regional profile of the poor based on the data generated from the second round of Listahanan assessment in 2015.

“As of now, we’re just awaiting for the final version of Listahanan 2 database to be released this year by Central Office. The said IEC material in the form of magazine is a statistical report… of poor families from a bird’s eye view level,” said Al-Nahda Nandu, Regional Associate Statistician of NHTU.

In 2016, the regional profile of the poor was officially launched in Zamboanga City. Nandu added that the IEC material will further advocate and promote the utilization of the database. The regional profile of the poor “can be used as reference by different social protection stakeholders in planning, policy and/or program crafting, and research, among others.”

Moreover, the profile will summarize and describe the poverty situation of Region IX. “At household level, we can determine the socio-economic information of the poor households such as but not limited to roster composition, type of housing unit (and construction materials used) and access to basic services, while based on an individual level, we can determine the sex, age, marital status, educational status, and employment status of the regional poor,” she added.

In terms of the Listahanan data to be incorporated in the IEC material, the National Household Targeting Office (NHTO) will be giving the official guidelines to all its regional counterparts anytime soon. Meanwhile, Nandu revealed that during the 2015 assessment, out of the 704,870 households assessed, 364,750 (or 1,924,318 individuals) are identified as poor.

The results also showed that 50% of the identified poor are children while majority or approx. 83% of them can be located in rural areas. Furthermore, 40% do not have access to safe main water and 46% likewise do not have access to electricity.

NHTU continues to invite stakeholders to enter into MOA on data sharing

“As of now, we continue to encourage our partners to utilize Listahanan 2. By having them peeked into our data, they may explore the idea of having a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with us for them to be able to access our database or at least request statistics from us. In fact, a number of LGUs and NGAs have already requested from us earlier this year,” said Nandu.

She also emphasized that the data can be requested for free. “Albeit limited only to poor households, our data are comprehensive. The technical experts who crafted the tool used to measure whether a certain household is poor or not is composed of the social welfare agency, NSO (now Philippine Statistics Authority), National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), University of the Philippines- Diliman, Pulse Asia, and Social Weather Stations (SWS).”

The National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) or commonly known as Listahanan, is a database of poor families and/or households consisting of their identification, socio-economic information, and household rosters. These are gathered by the Proxy Means Test (PMT), a statistical model that estimates household income using proxy variables or income predictors. ###


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Roughly 116,000 households validated in Zamboanga Peninsula

The household validation for the potential beneficiaries of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Program officially concluded in Zamboanga Peninsula on May 19 with more than 116,000 validated households.

“Out of the 147,498 target households for validation, 116,291 were accomplished while 6,753 (as of June 5) were not validated,” said Michael DS. Mustafa, Regional Field Coordinator of NHTU- IX.

Accordingly, many of those households not validated had no qualified respondents. “A number of those we visited either did not have members who are at least 15 years old (minimum age requirement for respondents), family members already transferred to different locations or houses were still vacant even after three visits were already conducted,” he added.

He also mentioned that all Household Validation Forms (HVFs) used during the validation activity were already encoded in the Regional Office.

Right now, “the data are being run through the Proxy Means Test (PMT), a statistical model that measures household income and socio-economic information using proxy variables. After that, the registration of beneficiaries of the UCT Program shall follow.”

Furthermore, the social welfare agency is looking forward to conduct the first payout for the beneficiaries of the said program by August this year. “For Region IX, we expect that 80% of the households validated will benefit from the program.”

The UCT Program refers to the social mitigating measure under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last year. Identified beneficiaries will be receiving P200 per month in 2018 and P300 per month in 2019 and 2020, respectively. ###



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Field Office 9 prepares for the upcoming UCT validation

The Field Office IX through the National Household Targeting Unit (NHTU) is currently preparing for the validation and updating of the Listahanan 2 poor households as potential beneficiaries of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) program.

“As of now, we are in need of field workers to be deployed throughout the region for the upcoming special validation of Listahanan. Particularly, the hiring process is already being initiated by the Human Resource and Development Division (HRDD) since the authority to hire was already released yesterday,” said Michel DS. Mustafa, Regional Field Coordinator (RFC) of NHTU.

The NHTU is also closely coordinating with Local Government Units (LGUs) for the upcoming validation.  “Before the actual validation, we will be conducting an orientation for all the LGUs concerned and a separate orientation for our field staff,” added Mustafa.

The DSWD is mandated to implement the UCT scheme for three years as stipulated in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law which was signed last year by President Rodrigo Duterte. The department through its field offices will release P2,400 (P200 per month) in 2018 and a total of P3,600 (P300 per month) in 2019 and 2020 respectively. The recipients of the program include the current 4.4 million beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), 3 million indigent social pensioners, and 2.6 million households which will come from Listahanan through the upcoming validation.

The activity is expected to begin on the first week of April and may conclude on May 30, 2018. There are 147,498 target households for validation in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Meanwhile, the UCT program aims to help the poor adjust with the adverse economic effect of the TRAIN Law. “The Field Office IX through our unit will implement the said activity to ensure that those who will be part of the program will really come from the poorest of the poor,” ended Mustafa. ###

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DOLE IX to utilize Listahanan 2 database

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region IX signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the lead agency in social welfare and development in order to access and utilize the local database of poor families based on the results of the second round of Listahanan assessment in 2015.

“Since DOLE has already entered into MOA…they can already be given an access to our database,” said Michael Mustafa, Regional Field Coordinator (RFC) of the National Household Targeting Unit (NHTU) of DSWD FO IX.

He added that the said partner agency will use the information management system for planning purposes and as well as in “identifying potential beneficiaries of their respective programs.”

Mustafa also mentioned that DOLE IX was the first national government agency (NGA) to partner with them after the Listahanan 2 database was officially completed last year.

“Right now, we wish to invite more stakeholders to utilize our database. Aside from the aforementioned, it (database) can also be used for validation and research purposes,” he ended.

The signing of MOA was held on January 15 in time with the blessing of the new office building of DOLE IX located at Evangelista St., Sta. Catalina, Zamboanga City.

In 2017, the guidelines for data sharing were released in order to address the requirement for the proper management of the data of poor households. This will also strengthen the mechanism for data sharing by ensuring compliance to pertinent laws, including Republic Act 10173 otherwise known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012 which aims “to protect the fundamental human right of privacy, of communication while ensuring free flow of information to promote innovation and growth” in both the public and private sectors. ###

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Building hope for sustainable change

While some would say that the children are the future of our nation, others would probably suggest that they already play a vital role in the society as early as now. But the question is, would they still remain the hope of the society when some of them are in conflict with the law?

In 1979, the Regional Rehabilitation Center for the Youth (RRCY) started its operation as an institution mandated to provide intensive treatment in a residential setting for the rehabilitation of the children in conflict with the law (CICL) whose sentences have been suspended. It serves as a nurturing out-of-home placement for those who are in need of rehabilitation. This is in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 603 known as the Child and Youth Welfare Code of the Philippines and Republic Act No. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice System and Welfare Act of 2008 which provides that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall establish this rehabilitation facility.

Currently, the DSWD Field Office IX is operating its 5-hectare rehabilitation facility headed by Ma. Salome E. Mangubat at Anastacio, Polanco in the Province of Zamboanga del Norte. Mangubat serves as the family head of the 65 children mostly 16-17 years old in RRCY. According to her, most of the cases of their clients have something to do with crimes against property like robbery and theft. It is followed by crimes against persons like murder and rape and those cases with special laws involving the use and selling of illegal drugs, anti-carnapping, and violation of anti-endangered species, among others. She recalls that during the establishment of the said facility in 1979, only five children were initially admitted with two house parents. Today, there are 14 regular staff managing the center who are well-trained and competent with six house parents. Four of them were given by the Provincial Governor of ZDN upon the request of Mangubat. “I never expected that we would have four additional workers given by the governor. I only tried sending him a letter and eventually he fulfilled our request immediately,” said Mangubat. For her, one of the strengths of the center is its ability to effectively coordinate and partner with local government units (LGUs).

Furthermore, the center has 134-bed capacity higher than 50 being the standard requirement. “In terms of services, we continuously look for ways to provide better and effective services especially for case management,” said Mangubat.

The center conducts regular activities facilitated by different sections of the rehabilitation team to address the needs of the clients. Under the Home Life Section, they do daily Therapeutic Community (TC) and group sessions.  They also have sports and recreational activities. Furthermore, the center also teaches, monitors, and guides their clients on home life activities like doing household chores, building brotherhood relationships, and maintenance of cleanliness and orderliness within the facility.

A general assembly meeting is also regularly held to determine the issues and concerns among and between the clients. Meanwhile, the children also undergo psychological test, evaluation and counselling (one-on-one and group). Others are also referred for psychiatric evaluation.

The center likewise facilitates the appearances of CICL to court hearings. They have a “good and close coordination” with courts and legal counsels and has an ongoing advocacy to local social welfare offices, and other partners of the diversion program and release on recognizance of CICL whose cases are non-heinous in response to the fast increasing number of admissions in the center. The rehabilitation facility also conducts case conference and a dialogue with visiting parents.

Under the Manpower and Development Officer (MDO) Section, the center facilitates skills training to its clients in coordination with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). With this, the center would like to ensure that all CICL will be given a life skills training that could be useful upon their release from the center. “Actually, we started with these skills trainings in 1981, but there was no assessment yet during that time. It was only in 2015 when we had assessment in different qualifications like carpentry, masonry, tile setting, plumbing, and electrical installation and maintenance among others,” said Mangubat. Early this year, 20 CICL took the competency assessment in Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC II and 18 of them passed it.

Aside from these, the clients also participate in community clean-ups and yearly testimonial dinner. The latter activity aims to invite clients who were once detained in the center to share their success stories with the CICL to serve as inspiration. In terms of spiritual enhancement program, the center conducts daily rosary for Catholics and bible-sharing for Non-Catholics. Meanwhile for Muslims, they are being escorted every Friday to the mosque to pray.

As of November 25, the center already accomplished a percentage of 151.11% out of the annual target to serve 90 CICL. Mangubat added that “out of the target to discharge 30 CICL for the whole year, the center has already accomplished a percentage of 190%.”

RRCY, as mandated to provide CICL with the treatment and interventions to enable them to improve their social functioning with the end goal of reintegration to their families and communities, ensures that these children will live a life that is worth living. There is still hope for them. In fact, “when the world says give up, hope whispers, try it one more time.” Indeed, the children are the hope of this nation and with our continuous efforts to provide them the best facility for rehabilitation, there is no reason that one day, they shall rise again and be the change they want to see in other young children.

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Listahanan conducts forum on data-sharing

The new guidelines for Listahanan data-sharing were officially presented to more than 30 social protection stakeholders in a forum held last November 7 at Grand Astoria Hotel, Zamboanga City.

“The activity aimed to encourage more stakeholders to utilize the data generated by Listahanan in 2015,” said the Regional Field Coordinator of National Household Targeting Unit-ARMM-BaSulTa, Ben Nasser B. Isnain.

During the activity, the participants were oriented on the background and objectives of Listahanan. It was explained that the information management system aims to establish an objective targeting system and reduce the leakage (inclusion of non-poor) and under-coverage (exclusion of the poor) in social protection programs and services. A discussion of the process involved in the targeting system was also conducted. Furthermore, some of the highlights of the 2015 assessment results were also shared to them.

According to Isnain, accessing the data from Listahanan is guided by laws and issuances related to data-sharing, and data protection and security. One of these laws is the Data Privacy Act of 2012. Under its general provisions, it states that it is the policy of the state to protect the fundamental human right or privacy, of communication while ensuring free flow of information to promote innovation and growth.

Aside from these, there was also a discussion of Proxy Means Test (PMT), a statistical model used by Listahanan in order to estimate the income of the households assessed using 52 proxy variables reflected in the Households Assessment Forms (HAFs).

Moreover, the Regional Information Technology Officer, Alexander S. Ansao II explained to the participants the guidelines for data requests. These guidelines shall accordingly apply to requests pertaining to the use and/or access of the database of poor families by social protection stakeholders, including the academe.

Based on the guidelines, a stakeholder who would like to request for statistical data is required to submit a letter of request addressed to the regional director enumerating the specific data needed, the purpose of the request, and the timeline of the releasing of data. Furthermore, those who would like to request for either personal information or sensitive personal information from the information management system must enter into Memorandum of Agreement with DSWD and should designate a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who shall plan, implement, and evaluate policies for data privacy and security in accordance with the aforementioned law on data privacy. Likewise, an annual report of how the data was utilized in the implementation of social protection programs and services must also be submitted to the field office through the NHTU.

The Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) is an information management system that provides a database of poor families as reference in identifying potential beneficiaries of social protection programs.

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NHTU-9 officially concludes household assessment

The National Household Targeting Unit (NHTU) officially completed the assessment of 1,329 households last October 10 during the conduct of On-Demand Application (ODA) in Isabela City, Basilan.

According to the Regional Field Coordinator (RFC), Michael D.S. Mustafa, “Eighty-seven percent (87%) or 1,522 of the target households were met.”

Twenty-one (21) barangays were involved during the data-gathering with Barangay Sumagdang (193) having the most number of households  assessed. It was followed by Lanote (183), San Rafael (122), Kaumpurnah Zone II (101), and Lampinigan Island  (91).

Mustafa added that “the assessment went easier than expected” since the unit prior to the said activity coordinated with the mayor of Isabela City together with the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), Social Welfare and Development Team (SWADT), city links, and barangay officials.

Immediately after the completion of ODA assessment, the encoding of Household Assessment Forms (HAFs) followed last October 24. Meanwhile, it is expected to be completed within 15 days. “As of now, 721 HAFs were already encoded out of 1,329 HAFs and we’re targeting to finish the encoding by November 10,” said Mustafa.

During the second round of assessment conducted by Listahanan in 2015, the National Household Targeting Office (NHTO) recorded 260,118 Exclusion (EX) 02 complaints during the Validation Phase. According to NHTO, the number included households who were away on a long vacation and those not visited by an enumerator during the Data Collection Phase. The reasons could have been their locations were not classified as pockets of poverty (in the case of urban dwellers) or there were ongoing or intermittent armed conflict, time and fiscal constraints during the collection of data. In Isabela City,  1,522 households filed for requests to be included in the special validation.

At present, the NHTO looks forward to officially close the Listahanan 2 database and generate the final list of poor households that will be shared to social protection stakeholders as their primary reference of potential beneficiaries (for protection programs and services). The data generated from ODA will be incorporated in the said database and will also be utilized in coming up with the national profile of the poor. Furthermore, the Listahanan data may also be used in planning, validation, and research among others.



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