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A Promising Tomorrow

Alvin Patano was born to a very simple family. Alvin is 37 years old and her husband Arnel is 39. They have 3 children, Arnel Jr. (13 years old), Vinrachi (9 years old), and Shadee Drex (7 years old).

Life for the family was not easy, Alvin was unemployed and dedicated herself to taking care of the family. She didn’t have any source of financial help, while Arnel her husband, was only a “habal-habal” driver.   Even being a “habal-habal” driver, Arnel was not able to earn enough for the family, because there were too many drivers in the area, and only very few passengers to cater to. The only other financial help they have, was a part-time and small time business that Arnel held on to. Arnel took extra effort to buy chicharon products from Zamboanga City and delivered them to his customers. Even this was not enough to get their children to school.

In 2012, Alvin became an SLP participant. She also volunteered for KALAHI-CIDDS, and thought

that this is a way to make herself more productive. Being a participant, somehow, helped her learn things about business and other ways of livelihood.

When skills training was introduced to them by DSWD worker, she realized that this was going to be an opportunity for her and her family to get through their financial difficulties. She immediately proposed that chicharon would be a promising product for their group. She thought that instead of buying chicharon from Zamboanga, why not produce their own chicharon. This seemed to be a good idea, because she already had knowledge about how chicharon is done. This too was not easy since a number of their group’s members were hesitant about the idea, and it looked like she was not getting full support from the group.

Alvin, being positive about the idea, still pushed for the proposal, she also worked and eventually managed to convince members to support her. Fortunately for her and the group, the proposal was approved.

Eventually, the proposed project turned from a dream and slowly became a reality. On the 9th of November of 2015, their chicharon production opened and operation began. They named their business TIPABECPA, which means Tiayon Pantawid Beef Chicharon Producers Association, they started with 86 members, and Alvin became one of the Board of Directors.

When Production started, the group bought 55 to 150 kilos of raw beef skin from the local market of Zamboanga. They clean them well, cut them into desired sizes and cooked the beef skin. There are 3 different stages in cooking, they blanche the raw skin for 8 hours until they become tender, then the skin get seasoned and left   overnight. The next day, the seasoned skin is deep fried, left cool and then packed. Each kilo of beef skin costs ₱55 pesos and produces 20 to 25 packs of cooked chicharon. Each pack sells for ₱4.50, and the group earns not less than ₱10,000 per production. All of the group’s members help in the production while Alvin’s husband, Arnel, delivers their products to their regular customers, who purchase wholesale from them. Some of the other members also sell their products in retail.

However, like any other small time and starting business, struggles are always present. After doing good for several months, sales started to go down, and disposal of products became slow. To add to the trouble, raw beef skin also became scarce. But the group’s positive thinking helped them get back to their feet, they tried a new marketing strategy and soon enough, things were back on track.

TIPABECPAS’s Chicharon eventually reached the shelves of the stores in Zamboanga City and other neighboring areas. The group is convinced that together with Ipil’s fast developing phase, their chicharon will also be known to a wider market.

Today, Alvin and the group believe that this project helped them so much, that they are now able to provide for their family’s needs, “Sauna maglisud jud mi kay usahay mag absent pa akong anak, maglisud pa kanang inadlaw ba, sa pamasahe. Pero karon naa na jud mi makuhaan nga makahatag jud mi sa amoang mga anak ug pangpag adlaw-adlaw nga pangkaon.” (In the past, it was difficult for us to send our children to school and sometimes they have to be absent in class because we could not provide them their fare. But now, we already have a source to pay for our children’s daily expenses, especially for food.) Alvin added.

During an interview with Alvin, saying “thank you” never felt enough for her. As she shared her story, she was genuinely smiling as she was saying “Nagpasalamat jud kaayo ko ani nga project kay tungud niani, dili lang ni sa amoa, kun dili sa amoang miembro pod uban nga kursunada pod kaayo makahatag kini sa ilahang dugang income. Salamat.” (I am very thankful because this project has helped augment our family’s and other interested members’ income. Thank you.)###


Written by:
Bernely Sheilaine L. Nemil

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Saved by the bridge

Life in Barangay Pisa-Puti is simple. Locals’ source of income majority comes from farming.

Amud Yamid, 21 and Walid Tangkian, 20, both grew up in Pisa-Puti and were raised by their parents through farming.

Most of the farm area was located uphill, this is why Amud Yamid lives with his two cousins while his father is taking his time out in the farm for most of the time and would only come home when the harvest reach its fruition.

The same also with Walid, his father would also stay out in the farm together with his brothers while he has to look after his mother and wife and his two-year old child.

Since most of the residents were located at the low-land area, and the municipality is a coastal one, come rainy season, they would experience difficulty in crossing some areas within the barangay proper to their farm.

Iyong nakita nyo na ilog diyan, kapag umuulan ng malakas, umaakyat iyong tubig ay hirap nang makatawid”, Amud explained. (If you have noticed the river right there, when it rain so hard and the water get high, then it cannot be crossed.)

For people who would dare to cross will have to face the hard way. As Amud shared “lumalangoy kami kapag mataas ang tubig, kapag may baha. Tapos kapag naman bumabaha na, iyong iba, mga matatanda na galing sa bukid, hindi na sila nakakatawid”.

(We swim our way to the other side when the water gets too high, when there’s flood. And when it’s flooded, the rest especially the elders who come home from farm will no longer cross.)

This scenarios has been frequent for the people who live in Pisa-Puti, that’s why when they were called to a barangay assembly, they never hesitated to join.

“Noong nagpatawag na ng meeting at nagsasabi na sila kung ano iyong gustong gawin namin, iyon naisipan namin na kailangan talaga ang hanging bridge na project sa amin dito naninirahan para kung mag-ulan, magbaha may madaanan”, Amud said. (When they called a meeting and then everyonediscussing what they wanted to propose, we felt the need to put up a hanging bridge as our sub-project so when it rains, comes flood, we can still cross.)

Walid Tangkian also shared “Sa dalas ng ulan dito, may namatay na nga diyan noong minsan nag-overflow ang tubig sa ilog. Kaya kailangan talaga namin nito”. (Rain occurs most often around here, and it has caused the death of someone during the time when the water in the river overflowed. And this is why we needed this thing up).

The clamor for a hanging bridge was then realized through Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA. Built on April 18, 2015 was completed by September 8, 2015, the sub-project has been accessible not just to the people of Barangay Pisa-Puti, but to its neighboring barangay as well.

The construction of the hanging bridge sub-project has been a big help to community, while rain has been a frequent visitor and flood still get in the way, but people anytime of the day can pass through no matter the weather. And they will no longer get stranded whenever they would go uphill to farm or would bring farm products to home.

Although they’re both too hesitant to talk more on their experiences but they were genuinely happy with having been part with the realization of the sub-project. As Amud expressed, “ang masasabi ko lang salamat talaga kasi may ganitong project binibigay ang DSWD. Kailangan na kailangan namin dito, hindi naman siya basta basta ilalagay dito kung di siya makakatulong”.

(I am thankful to DSWD for it was a big help to us here for giving this kind of project. We badly needed this here. It wouldn’t be built here if it wasn’t helpful).

“Hindi na kame mahirapan pumunta sa bukid kapag bumabaha, mabuti na rin iyon kasi may dumating na proyekto na makakatulong sa mga tao. Para sa akin, nakatulong na rin sa barangay”, Walid added. (We wouldn’t be struggling to go to farm despite the flood, it is really good to have a project that is able to help people. For me, it’s more of helping our barangay).

PAMANA is the Phiippines Government’s program and framework for peace and development. It follows a CDD approach where it allows to put power back in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions on locally identified options for develop and manage resources to implement sub-projects that address needs identified by communities themselves.#

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Sandayong and Jerry Libulong had a history together. Born at a time when Sandayong was formally became a Barangay, the thirty-five year old Subanen knew every single corner of this village and so with the needs for basic services in their community.

Located 26 kilometers away from the municipal proper, Sandayong is the farthest barangay in the Municipality of Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay. An uphill village composed of 95% Subanen people and can only be reached through motorcycle or locally known as “habal-habal”.

Farming has been the primary source of living for Jerry and the rest of the people of Sandayong. Occasionally, they would bring farm products downtown, but for most they would store it for supply.

Before Jerry became an active volunteer, he had doubts on joining the program, thinking “Hindi pa kami sanay sa ganitong mga activities. Sa opinion ko lang, parang impossible talaga dahil sa laki ng proyektong pinag-uusapan”, (We are not used to these kinds of activities. In my opinion, it seems impossible considering the volume of the projects being discussed).

Aside from these, they (Subanen) were reluctant to participate in any of the government initiated activities.

But this has caught Jerry’s attention, the reason why he volunteered to join Kalahi-CIDSS was because of their problem with water.

Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan –Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services  (Kalahi-CIDSS) employs community-driven development (CDD) strategy that gives people power to decide for their community in ensuring that their needs are addressed and empowering them to become active citizens of the country.

He sees this as an opportunity to give his Subanen brothers access to safe drinking water. And his sense of commitment motivated the people to reach out to the program as well. Unfortunately it didn’t pass the potability test and instead they swapped their sub-project to school building in time for the MIBF.

Jerry Libulong only managed to finish high school and this is the why they opted to build school building for the Subanen kids in the village. Since most of their students would attend school at distant barangays.

One of the most active volunteers of Sandayong, he had held two positions, the BRT Chairperson and Procurement Team Chairperson. He exercised leadership in the entire process of mobilizing community members in community problem analysis, project development and project monitoring. In a number of times, he had dipped his hands in actual labor work in the construction of barangay Sandayong’s sub-projects.

Under Jerry’s leadership, Barangay Sandayong clinched the top spot in both the 1st and 2nd cycle MIBF-prioritized list of sub-projects, with its  1-Unit 2-Classroom Elementary School Building and 1-Unit 3-Classroom High School Building, respectively.

In addition to these, Barangay Sandayong had also breezed through the implementation of 3 KC-PAMANA sub-projects, namely Community Security Outpost, Balay Husayanan (House of Tribal Justice) and Tribal Hall – community-initiated projects that are designed to promote local security, participation and general well-being of the Subanen indigenous people that Jerry, a Subanen, represents in many forums.

He is also an eloquent public speaker. As a volunteer, he has done project proposals, sub-project monitoring, procurement and community mobilization – making him an all-around volunteer.

Although it was really challenging on their part, he admitted “Mahirap siya para sa mga katulad naming volunteers na karamihan ay hindi nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral. Mahirap lalo na pagdating sa paperworks. Pero gaano man iyon kahirap, kung i-rate natin ang programa ng Kalahi-CIDSS, anumang paghihirap ang maencounter ng mga volunteers, iyong rating natin ay excellent pa rin kasi tatayo ang project natin, talagang hindi pwedeng hindi matapos, kung may problema man pilit hinahanapan ng solusyon, kasi part yan ng training”.

(It is really hard for volunteers like us who didn’t finish their studies. It is really difficult when it comes to paperworks. But no matter how hard it is if we are to rate the program of Kalahi-CIDSS, whatever hardships that we may have encounter, we’ll still rate it as excellent because the project will stand, it cannot be left undone, and if there maybe problems, we will try to find a solution because that is part of the training).

He also expressed how valuable were the sub-projects of the other modality like KC-PAMANA,”Doon nga sa tribal learning center/tribal hall na iyon, parang nanumbalik doon ang relasyon ng lumad sa gobyerno natin na meron pala”. (With the Tribal Learning Center/Tribal Hall, it rekindles the relationship of the Lumads to the government which they once had).

And through the tribal learning center, he believes it has once again lifted the culture of the Subanen Indigenous People.

More so, he was thankful for the experiences he had while journeying together with the program. He confidently responded “Sa sarili ko, iyong kakayahan ko ay mas naenhanced, nadeveloped iyon, nagkaroon ako ng kaalaman sa technical. Kahit ngayon kung i-actual mo ko pagawan ng porma ng building, kaya ko ngayon. Kung kinakailangan na tayo ang magprepare ng mga papers, kaya na”.

(Personally, my capability was enhanced, developed, I have gained technical knowledge. If you’ll ask me to create an actual building form, I can do it right here, right now. If there’s a need for me to prepare the papers, it’s manageable).

Jerry also provided detailed changes with his community. With the coming of Kalahi-CIDSS in Barangay Sandayong, what used to be a threat in their security for being a former camp of the lawless elements, has now been neutralized with the construction of the Community Security Outpost.

“Kung dati-rati may mga alitan sa mga kapit-bahay, walang office ang barangay kung saan i-hold iyong sinasabi nilang amicable settlement. So ngayon, meron na. Dahil meron na tayong Barangay Justice Hall”, (Whenever there used to be trouble in the neighborhood, there’s no office in the barangay that holds settlement. Now we had a place for it, we now have the Barangay Justice Hall).

With great pride he gladly shared “Kung dati-rati marinig mo lang na Subanen ang nakatira diyan, ngayon may identification na ang Subanen people sa Barangay Sandayong kasi nakatayo na iyong Tribal Learning Center natin. Ito iyong nagiging landmark, nagpaalala sa mga Lumad, sa lahat ng mga tao sa Sandayong na nandito itong tribal center dahil Subanen ang nakatira dito. Ito ang mga pagbabago dito sa barangay naming, napakalaking empowerment para sa mga kapatid namin na mga Subanen”.

(They would just hear about Subanen living in this village, but now we have imprinted our identification as Subanen Indigenous People of Barangay Sandayong because here stood our Tribal Learning Center. This has been a landmark that reminds the Lumads, and all the people of Sandayong that here stands a Tribal Learning Center because Subanen people lives here. These have been the changes in the barangay, great empowerment for my Subanen brothers).

And above all, they were grateful to the program for realizing the construction of school building. For paying attention to their problem on education, this has given the Subanen children the opportunity to become competent. “Dahil sa Kalahi-CIDSS ang pangarap ng Subanen ay naisakatuparan din”, Jerry ended. (Because of Kalahi-CIDSS, Subanen’s dream has been realized).

The Subanen Indigenous People of Sandayong who used to be so hesitant and passive has now become participative and responsive in both government and non-government affairs. They have become assertive in advancing their welfare by way of community participation not limited to Kalahi-CIDSS program alone. #

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PHOTO CAPTION: Municipal Talakayan in Sindangan

kalahi talakayan 1

“Pakiglambigit Alang Sa Kalambuan”… A larger-than-life picture of projects and plans for the people of Sindangan was presented during the conduct of the 2016 Municipal Talakayan in Zamboanga del Norte.

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71 Zambo IDPs complete skills training, set to work for a big firm


“Nagsara man ang pinto ng oportunidad para sa amin nang magkaroon ng giyera sa Zamboanga, nagbukas naman ang isang mas magandang oportunidad para sa amin nang mabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na pag-aralin ng DSWD at CSWDO.” said Alseyd Jauhari, one of the IDPs who graduated from OLT Institute on Monday.

Alseyd, a resident of Mariki, Zamboanga City was one of the thousands who were heavily affected by the infamous Zamboanga Siege last September 2013. He used to work as a freelancer in local firms in Zamboanga. But due to lack of formal training, he could hardly get a stable job. That is why when he was offered to undergo a skills training by the City Social Welfare and Development Office, he immediately grabbed it, though he was anxious and hesitant at first.

In May 2016, some 71 Internally Displaced Persons in Zamboanga were sent to Ozamis City by the City Social Welfare and Development Office through the funding of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Office IX. The IDPs had undergone training in vocational courses such as Housekeeping, Masonry, Carpentry, Cooking, Baking, among others, in two months.

One of the DSWD scholars who have been enrolled in carpentry shared their learning experiences during their 2-month stay with the Our Lady of Triumph Institute Technology, Inc., a training facility in Ozamis City that offers world-class training amenities that ensure to produce job ready trainees and skilled manpower in both domestic and overseas work places.

“Swerte kami kasi napabilang kami sa mga scholars. Tinuruan kami dito para makakuha kami ng mas magandang trabaho.”

Through the Disaster Rehabilitation Fund of DSWD which amounted to Php212,000.00, the first batch of identified IDPs were not only provided with skills training, but were also given food and shelter to cope up with their daily needs.

olt 2After the 2-month training, 71 IDPs have successfully completed their chosen tech-voc courses such as masonry, carpentry, housekeeping and cookery and baking. On July 10, a graduation ceremony was held where they were conferred with certificates of completion. The fifty five (55) masonry graduates were immediately engaged into a Contract Signing with one of the biggest construction firms in the Philippines. They are scheduled to leave for Manila on July 13 for job placement in Manila.

Present during the graduation rites were DSWD IX Asst. Regional Director for Operations Consejo Usman, Zamboanga City Local Social Welfare and Development Officer Ma. Socorro Rojas, OLT Executives Mr. and Mrs. Galileo Maglasang, TESDA and DOLE Regional Officials and DSWD X staff.


“This milestone would not have been possible without the interest and the sacrifices of the participants. They always have to remember that they are the ones who should really work on the change that they want to achieve. The government and other partners are only here to facilitate. And we hope with the skills that you now have, you can build a better future for yourself and your family.” Usman said in her inspirational message.


Another batch of Zambo IDPs is also scheduled to undergo the same skills training in the coming months.

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PHOTO CAPTION: An IDP from Mariki completes training on carpentry & masonry

Caption OLT 1

“Nagsara man ang pinto ng oportunidad para sa amin nang magkaroon ng giyera sa Zamboanga, nagbukas naman ang isang mas maganda oportunidad para sa amin nang mabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na pag-aralin ng DSWD at CSWDO. Salamat sa inyo at maging sa OLT na maaari na namin ngayon ipagpatuloy ang pagbabago na aming inaasam at pinapangarap.” -Alseyd M. Jauhari, an IDP from Mariki expressed his gratitude as one of the beneficiaries of scholarship in Skills Training Program of OLT accredited by TESDA.

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In diaspora, Bajaus find hope in mainland

The Bajaus or the sea gypsies as they are universally known for were historically a seafaring nomadic tribe of hunter-gatherers who lived in the waters of the Southern Philippines. They handcraft wooden boats to serve as their home, their workplace and their life. They were born out at sea, lived out at sea and they died out at sea.

But this traditional life has changed for some Bajaus, after countless generations at sea, some are now settling on land.

Forty (40) minutes from the Zamboanga City mainland, a small community of Bajaus inhabits a section of the barangay Sangali. Adapting to life on land, this is how they make a living.

Based on the barangay profile, 10% of their population is Bajau. Like most of them, Bajaus in Sangali are migrants who came from different parts of Mindanao, and who are continuously finding a place where they can sustain themselves and their families’ needs.

Sangali Barangay Chairperson Daud Bakil disclosed that Bajaus used to sail day and night with the currents, counting only on their fishing gear to make a living. He added that ironically, they survive the deadly waves for them to save their lives from hunger and poverty.

“Noon kasi, pangingisda lang ang source of living nila. Mahirap din para sa kanila tuwing may bagyo, wala silang huli, walang kita, at wala din makakain ang Pamilya nila.” Bakil opened up.

IMG_20160407_111543The people who once led nomadic lives navigating the seas have now increasingly adopted new livelihood opportunities on the mainland.

In November 2015, the Department of Social Welfare and Development through its Comprehensive Program for Sama-Bajau identified Sangali as one of its pilot areas for Cash-for-work implementation.

The cash-for-work was conceptualized after thorough assessment and coordination with key stakeholders were conducted to choose and implement interventions that will not only address the economic conditions of Bajaus but will allow them to become more adaptive in all types of environments.

DSWD Regional Office IX thought of introducing and transferring knowledge on crops planting to Bajaus to enable them, especially women, to earn additional income for their family. This will also help them survive whether they choose to live in coastal community or in mainland area.

IMG_20140308_150013-1In cash-for-work program, identified beneficiaries are required to plant vegetables and other related activities for 10 days in exchange of 1,500 pesos. Aside from this, beneficiaries get to bring home the produce. Some sold them; some are brought home for their own consumption.

DSWD Regional Focal Person for Sama-Bajau Program Balma Sali shared that they needed to partner with different stakeholders to realize the said initiative.

“Of course aside from continuous coordination with the LGU, BLGU, we also partnered with the Department of Agriculture for the technical assistance. They taught and trained our beneficiaries to plant properly.” Sali recalled.

Georgina Ruiz, one of the beneficiaries of the Cash-for-work program narrated their experiences and the things they learned from the series of trainings organized by DSWD that help them understand the program and the process of planting crops.

“Dimungug kami marayaw para makahati kami, byariin magtanum. Na imingat da kami Bukun da tuwi isab mahunit, pasal hinduan da kami. Na byaun awun na sin namu, iban mga sayul dahun pa bay. Magsukul tuud ha DSWD, ha barangay, pasal nagsupport sila kamu.” (We listened carefully to learn how to plant. It wasn’t that hard, after all. Now, we do not just earn money, we also get to bring home some food for our children. We are thankful to DSWD and to Barangay officials) Georgina shared.

Meanwhile, Hermela Mosqueda, a Barangay Councilor witnessed how Bajaus were so enthusiastic to participate in the project. She further said that they were a revelation to her since she didn’t expect that they were that interested to learn new things, especially planting.

“Nung nainform na namin sila na may paparating na tulong galing sa DSWD, palagi na silang nagfofollow-up dito sa Barangay Hall. Interesado talaga sila. Kaya nasabi ko talaga sa sarili ko na hindi pala totoo na mga tamad ang mga Bajau, na very dependent. Narealize namin na talagang hindi lang sila nabibigyan ng opportunity para tulungan ang mga sarili nila.” Hermela related.

Georgina and her co-Bajaus’ new learned skill has boosted both their status and of their family as the cash-for-work project did not only provide them with livelihood opportunity, but it also motivated them to fully participate in the training and proved that fishing is not the only option there is to live.

“Makug kami kasi awun na kami dugaing usaha. Misan kami pakain yatu, misan ha mga bud yatu, mabuhi na kami, ba’t maingat na kami magtanum, awun kame makaun, iban hika-buhianan ha mga anak. Oo, Bajau kami sah, kaya na namu mangusaha.” (We are happy that we now have other means to earn. Even if we live in mountains, we can already survive, because we already know how to plant so we’ll have something to put on the table. Yes, we may be Bajau, but we are capable to live a decent and good life.) Georgina added.

Georgina also shared her plans of sending her children back to school this year since was also able to put up a small sari-sari store using the money she earned from the cash-for-work and from the vegetables sold. Aside from this, her husband was also one of the beneficiaries of livelihood assistance given by the same program of DSWD.

Since the start of the program, DSWD was able to serve 238 Sama-Bajaus in Sangali and 1,231 beneficiaries in other Barangays in Zamboanga City.

The Comprehensive Program for Sama-Bajau is on its 4th year pilot implementation in Barangays Sangali, Tulungatong, Arena Blanco, Bolong, Mampang, Mulu-Muluan, Muti, Maasin, Sinunuc, Sangali, Baliwasan, Campo Islam and Taluksangay. This aims to enhance the potential or the capacities of Sama-Bajau so they will not resort to their negative practices, particularly begging. The program offers Educational Assistance, Livelihood, Cash-for-Work, skills training and learning sessions focused on parenting skills and values re-orientation.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Cash for work program for farmers affected by El Niño


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