Sibuco now poorest municipality in Region IX

ZamPen MapA whopping 80% poverty incidence was posted in the municipality of Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte. This figure made the said municipality poorest among all municipalities in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Data shows that 6,391 out of the 7,981 households that were assessed by the Listahanan, a project under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), were identified poor in the said area.

During the first assessment conducted by the Listahanan in 2009, Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte was reported as the poorest among all municipalities in the region with 90% poverty incidence. As of the latest assessment, this figure significantly dropped down to 77% putting the said municipality second to Sibuco. Third poorest municipality is Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur with 71% poverty incidence.

“After we have identified the poor households during the 2009 assessment, several social protection stakeholders have requested to utilize the Listahanan database to serve as their basis in identifying their potential beneficiaries. This really helped in our efforts in poverty alleviation,” DSWD-IX Regional Director, Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo said in a statement.

In Region IX, a total of 364,723 households were identified as poor by the Listahanan. The assessment used the Proxy Means Test (PMT) models to estimate the per capita income of the households. DSWD found that 52% of the 704,872 households in the region have annual per capita income less than the poverty threshold reported by the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) for 2015.

Significantly, there is also a decrease in the poverty incidence of the entire region from 61.54% in 2009 versus 51.74% in 2015.

DSWD will officially launch the regional Listahanan database in June 2016.


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On Monday, DSWD staff under the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) went to E-Media Productions, a local TV network in Zamboanga City to discuss one of the tracks of the program, the Employment Facilitation.

Questions on the processes, benefits and industry partnership were addressed during the one-hour program entitled Servicio Todo-Todo anchored by media personality, Arvie Delos Reyes.


“SLP is one of the core programs of DSWD. It aims to sustain the level of well-being of our beneficiaries thru employment facilitation or and/or micro enterprenuership,” says External Relations Officer of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) Melanie Ladjamalik


Edgar Mag-abo explains that the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) factors in the level of well-being of Pantawid beneficiaries in determining beneficiaries of the program particularly on Employment Facilitation.


“Meron tayong tinatawag na pre-employment fund to help the beneficiary in processing his requirements for employment such as for medical exam and the likes,” Edgar Mag-abo said.


“I’m calling out sa ating mga companies dito sa region Kung gusto niyo po ng mga quality workers, puede po kayo makipagcoordinate sa DSWD dahil makakapagprovide sa inyo ang SLP ng workers na fit sa qualifications na hinahanap niyo,” Melanie Ladjamalik, External Relations Officer.


Servicio Todo-Todo (DSWD Episode) is aired live every Monday, 3:00-4:00 PM on E-Media free TV channel 37, Skycable channel 54 and Mindanao cable channel 98. It is simultaneously aired over 105.9 E-media Mo! and live streaming via

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DSWD reveals updated list of poor households

national database

Information material produced by the National Household Targeting Office distributed to the attendees of the National Launching of Listahanan Database 2 at Manila Hotel

The 2015 second round of household assessment is finally over and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Listahanan launched the updated database of poor households in the country Tuesday, this week.

A total of 5.1 million households were identified as poor in the entire country out of the 15.1 million households assessed. This translates to 14% decrease in poverty rate compared to the results of the first assessment in 2009.

Through this database, the government will be able to develop social protection programs that are targeted to address the felt needs of the poor. This database will also serve as the basis in the identification of potential beneficiaries of social protection programs.

“It is their (beneficiaries) situation that dictates the services to be given to them. The government is actually able to focus its resources to who need it the most,” says DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman during the launching of the database.

DSWD reiterates, however, that inclusion in the list of poor does not guarantee a household automatic inclusion to government programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program as this program as well as all other programs from the government and other social protection stakeholders follow certain qualifications.

Meanwhile, the national launching of the Listahanan database strengthens the partnership between the department and its stakeholders such us the World Bank and other national government agencies.

“Listahanan has become a major database of core social protection programs,” says Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Amanda Gorely.

In Region IX, 366,621 households were initially identified as poor out of the 665,866 households assessed as of September 30, 2015. This does not include those who were assessed and reassessed during the validation period conducted at the last quarter of 2015.

Regional launching of the database will be conducted after the 2016 elections.

Local government units, national government agencies, non-government organizations are encouraged to utilize the updated database in identifying beneficiaries of their programs. This serves as an effort in securing that funds and resources are not wasted by targeting the genuinely poor and deserving less fortunate individuals as recipients.


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Photo Exhibit showcasing the actual household assessment conducted by the field enumerators in all regions.

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DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman delivering a speech during the launching of Listahanan Database 2

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Sec. Soliman answering queries from the media during the press briefing which was held right after the launching of the Listahanan Database

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DSWD, TESDA, ILO ink MOA for employment of IDPs

In its effort to uplift the lives of as many disadvantaged Filipinos as possible, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the TESDA, Century Pacific Food, Inc. and International Labour Organization (ILO) to capacitate the internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in transitory sites through skills enhancement training in the region.

Through the MOA, the parties vowed to work together to empower and improve the quality of life of the individuals and families who are now moving forward from the devastation caused by the 2013 Zamboanga siege.

200 IDPs will benefit from this collaboration of which 60% are youth with 40% women and 40% are IDPs regardless of age and gender. First 2 batches of 50 members each will commence with their training this April while the next 100 beneficiaries will follow on May.

Funding for the training will come from the ILO, an agency dealing with labour issues, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities.

As part of its mandate to facilitate employment to the vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens, the DSWD through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) will conduct social preparation for the beneficiaries to prepare them for this employment opportunity.

“For now, we are yet to determine who will be included as participants of this training. Our role will be on social preparation and employment facilitation afterwards. Currently, the DSWD has an existing MOA with Century Pacific who has been our partner in providing employment opportunities for the vulnerable individuals and families,” says Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) Head Elizabeth Saavedra.

The signing of MOA marked another milestone to the department’s mission to improve the lives of its clientele. Prior to the MOA signing, there were already 380 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who were trained and employed in Century Pacific Food Inc. through SLP’s employment facilitation program.

The SLP is a multi-stakeholder program of the department that aims to improve the standard of living of poor households by facilitating opportunities for development and management of resources viable for micro-enterprises, community empowerment through skills training and employment facilitation.

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March is National Women’s Month



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DSWD urges Pantawid beneficiaries to undergo household assessment

With the 2nd round of household assessment coming to conclusion, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through the Listahanan, a project that identifies who and where the poor are, rolls its sleeves up to find Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries who were not assessed by the project.

A total of 2,537 Pantawid beneficiaries are to be located by the Listahanan field workers in region 9 while 10,884 beneficiaries are not assessed in BASULTA areas.

Listahanan Deputy Regional Project manager, Marilyn D. Fabian, said that the Department wants to make sure that all Pantawid beneficiaries have undergone the household assessment so that appropriate interventions can be provided to them.

“We have recently concluded the regular household assessment and validation activity in Region 9 and BASULTA. However there are still a few households particularly those beneficiaries of the Pantawid program who were not located because of various reasons, such as transfer of residence. That is why the DSWD is doing all its effort to find these beneficiaries,” Fabian said.

As of this writing there is no definite timeframe yet for this endeavor but the Listahanan takes this as an urgent action to accomplish.

Pantawid beneficiaries who were not assessed during the regular and validation period are advised to coordinate with their respective Municipal/ City Links.

This endeavor seeks to further promote transparency in the identification of deserving beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the DSWD.

On the other hand, the department would like to reiterate that Listahanan is a separate project and does not form part of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. It is an information management system that makes available a database of poor households to be utilized by agencies in identifying potential and deserving recipients of social protection programs.

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Driver’s Road to Success

The road seemed to be an endless wandering place for young Dodong or Emilio Isnani. Being abandoned by his parents, the streets became his home back in the days. With the struggles and hardships that he had been through, many of us might probably think that he would end up shattered and devastated. But he knew about life better.

He knew that life is like a road –at some point it’s smooth, at other point it’s rough. But a good driver knows how to make a good ride to success. After all, it’s not about how you get there but about how you made your journey worth the bumpy ride.

In an interview, Dodong recalls how difficult it was to live life on the streets. At a young age, he was refined by the experiences that served as the foundation of his being. But Dodong says that he was far from being a goodie-goody boy. He says he was actually full of foolishness as a kid.

At daytime, you would see him, together with his brothers, ramble around the city searching for whatever they can do to survive. During the night, they would take an uncomfortable sleep on their carton-made bed beside shopping malls. That pretty much was his day-to-day life on the street until he was taken to the then Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) –now known as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

During his stay in the MSSD’s Silungan Center, he was given an opportunity to start-up a small shoe-shine business to support his necessities. He then had a few more experiences outside the city as he enters puberty. He got back in the city and later on was transferred to DSWD’s Lingap Center. By then he already was back to school and was determined to finish his studies.

He managed to finish secondary education with the help of the people who believed in his potentials. He started to build a happy family to whom he promised never will experience any of what he had been through. Dodong sought the help of Ms. Fatima Saudia (now Caminan) for a decent job that would help him support his growing family. And so, knowing his capabilities and perseverance, he was hired as a driver for the Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC). As a driver, he was able to build a house for his family, purchase tricycle and a motorcycle that he use to earn extra income after his duty. The regional office saw his determination and commitment to the job hence he was promoted to a regular position as a Security Guard.

When asked about his childhood dream, Dodong says he wanted to be a soldier. He may not have fulfilled his childhood dream but he says that being a Security Guard makes him feel that somehow, he is able to contribute something to the community just as much as a soldier can. Dodong never left his post and, in line of duty, was hit by a bullet in his arm in the middle of the crossfire during the unfortunate September 2013 Zamboanga siege where the regional office was caught right in the battleground.

After his 6-month rehabilitation leave, Dodong continued to serve the agency with his own genuine brand of the “Mahusay, Matapat at Magiliw na paglilingkod” to the truest sense of these words.

Recently, Dodong was recognized as the Most Outstanding DSWD Worker as Public Servant for 2015 for his undeniably inspiring passion to serve the vulnerable, marginalized and disadvantaged individuals.

Truly, no one knows where the path of life will lead you. But with guidance, prayers and lots of determination, one can reach a beautiful destination he never had imagined.

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DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman together with the DSWD Executive Committee members awards Emilio “Dodong” Isnani as the Most Outstanding DSWD Worker as Public Servant during the PRAISE (Program for Rewards, Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence) Awarding Ceremony last January 29, 2016 in Manila.


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Will the POOR always be with us?

We have seen the many faces of poverty, for sure. We have felt it in so many ways –in education, in employment and even when we purchase goods at the grocery. It becomes as if it’s a cycle passed on from one generation to another.

Advocacies on poverty alleviation sprout like mushrooms everywhere. Companies build their own corporate social responsibility activities; private individuals create groups with a call to help those in need. We can pretty tell that we are surrounded by people who are willing to make a move to create positive changes in the society. But despite this, why are we still battling against poverty? Will the poor always be with us?

In 2009, a comprehensive targeting system called the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) now known as the Listahahan project was developed by the government through the DSWD to identify who and where the poor are in the country. Through the project, the government was able to form unified criteria for the identification of poor.

As stated in the Republic Act 8425 or the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act, Poor refers to individuals and families whose income fall below the poverty threshold as defined by the government and/or those that cannot afford in a sustained manner, to provide their basic needs of food, health, education, housing and other amenities of life.

Based on the 2009 assessment, a whopping 5.2 million Filipinos were identified as poor by the said project as of that year.

As the second round of household assessment concludes, will we expect this number to have decreased by now? Maybe.

In one occasion or two, as a Communications Officer, I get to randomly ask identified poor families how they cope with the plight. And each time, I would be left flabbergasted by their responses. Some would say “If you fail 10 times, you should get up 10 times.” Others would utter “When we learn something from our Family Development Sessions, we apply it in our daily lives,” or something like “We save a part from the financial assistance that we receive and the rest we invest in business.”

 And although these are just singular thoughts and personal accounts of random people, these echo similar voices and story as with the majority in the society.

Lola Dionita

Lola Dionita proudly shows her merchandise from the monthly stipend that she receives from DSWD’s Social Pension program.

The other day, Lola Dionita Diego of Barangay San Roque, Zamboanga City visited the DSWD Field Office IX bringing with her merchandises that she sells as a means of living. It was quite an inspiring scenery seeing Lola Dionita do the sales talking. For a 78-year old woman, we could just imagine how difficult it is to peddle around daily to earn a living.

Lola Dionita and her husband are both beneficiaries of the Social Pension program of the agency. She shares that their monthly stipend helps them in so many ways. They save money in the bank, they invest on medicines and vitamins to keep them healthy and they invest in small business such as merchandising. Isn’t this a story that is worth sharing and emulating?

The voices that tell this kind of stories is an exhibition of the power of the poor –the power to change their own lives, the strength to make it despite and in spite the situation that they are in, and the opportunity of a positive revolution.

Helping one’s self is a great start to step out of an unpleasant situation. But it is not a standalone. The same is true with agencies providing assistance to clients to alleviate their lives. One cannot make it without the intervention of all other social protection agencies to address the faces of poverty. Another popular saying can best express this idea: together we stand, divided we fall.

Now, will the POOR always be with us? This and all other similar stories of perseverance that you may have heard probably is the answer to the question.


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