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ICRC visit ICRC visit1

Officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Wednesday visited the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office IX to meet with Regional Director Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo and discuss about the processes of interventions and services being provided to Pinoy deportees coming from Malaysia.

ICRC Zamboanga Head Marcel Gayoneche and ICRC Kota Kinabalo Head Mao Sato spearheaded the visit to find out the policies along provision of immediate aid to IDPs such as hygiene kit and medical kit since ICRC has been regularly donating in-kind assistance to Processing Center for Displaced Persons (PCDP), a center operated by the DSWD.

The meeting allowed a rich exchange of perceptions between DSWD and ICRC to further enhance the services and assistance given to the repatriates. It also became an opportunity for both parties to work on strengthening the coordination with DSWD provincial office in Tawi-Tawi as far as reporting the number of clients served is concerned to avoid double counting.

PCDP is mandated to respond to the needs of the increasing number of Filipino deportees/ repatriates from Sabah, Malaysia as well as other locally-displaced persons e.g. victims of trafficking in persons/ illegal recruitment, etc. needing temporary shelter and emergency relief assistance. It provides social support services and intervention to which include temporary shelter/ care, food Assistance, clothing assistance, psycho-social services, medical assistance, burial assistance, transportation assistance, literacy/ awareness session, livelihood/ skills training and referral services.

Last night, June 8, 193 Pinoy deportees arrive in Zamboanga at around ten o’clock and were immediately brought to the PCDP wherein they were properly documented, assessed and provided with necessary assistance.###

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Utilize Grievance System for Pantawid complaints-DSWD

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office IX urges the concerning public and partners to utilize and file complaints through the Grievance Redress System should there be any Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program issues that they wish to be acted upon.

The department ensures that there will be a systematic procedure for handling grievances and appeals which was integrated in the program to minimize and manage risks. The Pantawid Pamilya grievance redress system (GRS) was designed to facilitate due process in resolving the complaints of beneficiary households and citizens at large.

DSWD also recognizes the expansion of the program in terms of its scale and scope which led to an increase in queries, clarifications and problems related to program policies and procedures. To date, the program covers 4.4 Million households nationwide.

Among the common complaints were issues revolving inclusion errors among the members of Pantawid Pamilya. These errors happen when a certain household has been classified in the database as poor and later found out to be over qualified to be part of the program due to some instances like having stable income and have acquired huge properties.

The Grievance Officer on field however, investigates and validates all recorded complaints for the veracity and truthfulness of all information. There are different categories of common complaints that can be addressed and resolved through employing the process.

DSWD Regional Director Atty. Araceli Solamillo said, “Any allegations must not create public opinion without providing valid facts. Come to the office, bring it to our attention and let us work collectively to bring proper concerns on the rightful venue to resolve the issues.”

“We acknowledge all grievances that come to your knowledge and we enforce everyone to partner with us to validate these allegations not to create misinformation” Solamillo added.

The city links who are front liners and workers on the field individually manage 800-1000 household beneficiaries of the program. The workers on the ground are performing all their duties to provide the beneficiaries not only right to receive their grants but also social interventions through Family Development Sessions and Convergence Inter-agency efforts that normally addresses pressing needs such as livelihood, trainings and community involvement.

Should there be grievances filed against the beneficiaries, the fieldworkers conduct case management to assess and manage the prevailing complaints. On the other hand, beneficiaries themselves can also utilize the said system to raise personal complaints and appeals.

From January-December 2015, DSWD Field Office IX has recorded 15,208 filed grievances with 97.5% resolution rate. It has already delisted 2,071 households on Misdemeanour and Waived cases on the said period. ##

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Zampen social welfare and development forum held

SWD FORUM 2The Department of Social Welfare and Development held a 2-day Social Welfare and Development Forum with Local Social Welfare and Development Officers (LSWDO) across the region on May 31-June 1, 2016 in one of the hotels in Zamboanga City.

The forum was attended by 72 Municipal/ City SWDOs to get updates on the program and projects implemented in their respective localities.

The forum highlighted the updates on the core poverty reduction programs such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Kalahi-CIDSS and Sustainable Livelihood program. It also created an avenue for participants to raise their issues and concerns in line with the implementation of DSWD’s devolved programs such as Supplementary Feeding and Social Pension. The participants were also briefed about the result generated from the Listahanan’s poor household assessment, wherein they found out the poverty incidence of their respective municipalities and the count of poor households in their Area of Responsibility.

The said forum has provided opportunity for the department to thresh out issues and concerns and level-off expectations with its local counterparts. In this manner LSWDOs will be able to grasp of the social welfare and development situation in the region and appreciate the milestones and accomplishments along major SWD programs and services provided to their constituents.

Futhermore, DSWD 9 Regional Director Atty. Araceli Solamillo expressed deep appreciation to LSWDOs for the assistance and support that the latter have been extending to the department and for ensuring that basic social services to are efficiently delivered to address issues of poverty in the region. She also emphasized that the mandate of reducing poverty is not monopolized by DSWD, but should be a collective effort by multiple stakeholders.

“DSWD considers social protection and poverty reduction as a shared responsibility. It requires our collaboration and joint efforts with the local government units and other social protection program implementers to muster the resources, vitalities and intellectual capacities to produce an optimum result.” Solamillo said during her opening remarks. ###

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DSWD reports over 200k Pantawid beneficiaries in Region 9 are now in self-subsistence

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Office 9 on Tuesday revealed that there are 229,375 Pantawid households now with improved level of well-being, which is 82% of the overall population of Pantawid beneficiaries across the region.

The said households were identified to belong in self-subsistence level after undergoing the Social Welfare and Development Indicator (SWDI) Assessment last year. This means that these beneficiaries are now exposed and can readily access to resources and alternatives provided by the government to make ends meet.

Atty. Araceli Solamillo giving her opening remarks during her first meeting with C/MSWDOs of Region 9.

Atty. Araceli Solamillo giving her opening remarks during her first meeting with C/MSWDOs of Region 9.

“It is inspiring to note that while most of the Pantawid families started on survival when they entered the program, on the fifth year, 82% have moved up to subsistence level, while a good number of 15% of the once identified as poorest of poor households are now with sufficient capacity to live a decent and dignified life.” DSWD 9 Regional Director Atty. Araceli Solamillo said in her opening remarks during a forum with LSWDOs on Tuesday.


SWDI is a tool that aims to determine the level of well-being of Pantawid beneficiaries so that appropriate interventions will be provided to them not just by DSWD, but by other social protection programs implementers as well. Through the administration of the said tool last year, the department was able to identify 6,336 Pantawid households are still in level 1 (survival level), 229,375 are in level 2 (self-subsistence level) and 43,501 are now in level 3 (self-sufficient level).

Following the SWDI result generation, DSWD now makes available the SWDI data to its partner agencies which they can use as a baseline data for planning and implementing interventions to enable beneficiaries to pass through survival, subsistence up to self-sufficient standard of living.

“The SWDI is a comprehensive assessing tool where we can identify the gaps in the services that we provide the Pantawid beneficiaries, and through identifying these gaps, we can tap or partner with other agencies that can give them the appropriate intervention, like livelihood and employment so that they can elevate further to self-sufficiency level.” Solamillo added.

Survival is a set of condition where there is lack of inner and external resources which make households unable to resolve problems and survive in a daily basis. Subsistence is a condition that opens some resources and alternatives to the beneficiaries to surpass basic needs daily, while self-sufficiency means the households have already other sources of income and can already stand without interventions from the government.

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DSWD starts distributing rice to Zambo City farmers

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 9 (DSWD 9) on Wednesday started distributing rice to 466 farmers in Zamboanga City who have been severely affected by El Niño.

DSWD thru the Crisis Intervention Unit conducted rice distribution in the barangays of Bunguiao (238 farmers), Sangali (49 farmers) and Dulian (179 farmers) as part of the department’s intervention, the Food-for-Work program (FFW).

Each of the beneficiaries received 25 kilos of rice in exchange for ten (10) days of work doing community projects, such as repair and reconstruction of community facilities, clean-up and garbage collection, among others.

Rodora Santos

Rodora Santos gladly claims her share of 25 kilos rice after rendering her services for 10 days under DSWD’s Food-for-Work project

“Nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa DSWD dahil napakalaking tulong nitong bigas sa amin. Wala kaming ani at income mula nung nagsimula ang El Niño. (We are grateful to the DSWD because this sack of rice is really a big help to us since we did not have any harvest and income since the drought started.)” says Rodora Santos upon receiving the temporary aid.

A total of 1.5 million pesos is allotted for the Food-for-Work program that will benefit around 2,000 farmers in the city.

The agency is set to complete distribution of rice within this month as augmentation assistance to drought-stricken families. Beneficiaries of the said program were identified by the Office of the City Agriculture (OCA).

Meanwhile, the other 3,000 identified farmers in the city will be recipients of the Cash-for-Work program.

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Paluwas Min Tahik (Rise from the Sea)

They have always been regarded as the people who jump in the waters of the sea for some coins. But beyond their knowledge and expertise in the command of the waves is a community struggling to rise from the tides of poverty. They are Bajaus.

In the coastal road of Barangay Caragasan, Zamboanga City, there live a community of indigenous people known to us as Bajau. Fishing is their main source of livelihood as they are experts in deep sea diving and fishing. In fact, they are widely known as “Sea Gypsies.” But they are also known for their unique culture that is reflected in their music, fashion and lifestyle.


Sama-Bajau claims her grant for her mat-weaving livelihood at the DSWD 9 regional office

During the payout conducted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development IX (DSWD) thru the Social Technology Unit-Comprehensive Program for Sama Bajau on Monday, we have met Basaria J. Tahaji, 32, a volunteer who selflessly give her service for the good of her community in the Ayuda Badjao.

Basaria narrates how she has personally seen the changes in the lives of her fellow Bajaus. She tells us how DSWD interventions particularly the Empowering Learning System and Values Formation provide an avenue of self-development among these Indigenous People (IP).

“Dati kung makikita mo ang mga Bajau walang tsinelas, karamihan sa kanila walang birth certificate tapos iniisip ng mga tao panggulo sila sa kalsada. Pero ngayon iba na.  makikita mo na talagang gusto nilang matuto. (Bajau before do not wear slippers, most of them do not have birth certificates and people think that they are a nuisance on the streets. But things have changed. You will notice that they are very much eager to learn this time.)” Basaria recounts her observations as volunteer.

Basaria attributes these changes to the learning assistance and self-development approach extended to the IP community. The 15-year volunteer says that her family and the entire Ayuda Badjao community are grateful that the DSWD protects and promotes the welfare of their tribe.

To express her profound gratitude to the department, she initiated a project that will help the adults and elders in their community learn basic education such as familiarizing the alphabet, write and pronounce letters and words and even read or formulate a sentence. Her Adult-Literacy-Program is conducted twice a week from 2 to 3 in the afternoon.

“Eto yung paraan ko para masuklian ko ang DSWD sa tulong nila. Tutulungan ko rin yung mga kapwa ko Bajau lalo na yung mga matatanda na hindi nabigyan ng pagkakataon mag-aral dahil sa hirap ng buhay. Meron nga kameng estudyante 72 years old. (This is my way to give back to the assistance provided by the DSWD. I will do my part to help my fellow Bajaus especially the elders who were not given the opportunity to study because of poverty. In fact, we have a 72-year old student.)” Basaria added.

On the other hand, aside from the educational learning system, the Bajaus also receive livelihood grants from the department. Most of which will be used to finance their livelihood in mat-weaving which is another thing that the Bajaus are known for. Others will put up sari-sari store.

Basaria is among the 2,430 Bajaus who were identified poor by the Listahanan. A total of 113,644 IPs are found to be poor in the entire Zamboanga Peninsula based on the recent household assessment conducted by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

In 2015, 1,305 Bajau families were served by the department providing various assistance in education, livelihood and even in live birth registration.

The tide of poverty may have been high but evidently it becomes lower as interventions are directly felt by the beneficiaries themselves just like the accounts shared by Basaria. With such perseverance and compassion in hand, we can truly ascend from the waters of paucity.


15-yr volunteer, Basaria J. Tahaji accompanies beneficiaries of the livelihood grant for Sama-Bajau

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PHOTO: ICAB, DSWD conduct training on inter-country adoption


“Working with children is a very challenging working arena, where when we’re able to place the children into a permanent home, we feel we became a part and a significant person in the life of every child that we have placed out of foster home or permanent placement be it local or inter-country adoption”, ARDO Consejo Usman shared her experiences working with children through adoption during the ICAB’s weeklong Training on Inter-Country Adoption Program at Astoria Hotel, Zamboanga CIty.

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DSWD 9 urges newly-elected officials to prioritize poor households in the region

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) urges newly-elected Local Chief Executives (LCEs) to utilize the national household targeting system in determining potential beneficiaries of the latters’ projects, programs and services. This is to ensure that identified poor families are prioritized in the provision of social protection services.

Through the Listahanan project, an information management system under the DSWD, the LCEs would be able to cluster their beneficiaries according to its specific target sector, age, location, etc. This means interventions will be more responsive and effective to the disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors who in need the most.

In Region 9, out of the 704,872 households that were assessed, 1.9 million individuals were identified as poor by the Listahanan. Zamboanga del Sur was noted with the highest number peaking at 881,189 which includes the poor individuals in Zamboanga City. This is followed by Zamboanga del Norte with 620,678 poor individuals and Zamboanga Sibugay having 364,491. Meanwhile, Isabela City has 58,478 poor individuals as shown in the Listahanan database.

LCEs are encouraged to enter into memorandum of agreement with the DSWD-Listahanan for data-sharing. The database of poor families/individuals makes available to stakeholders such as the Local Government Units as reference in developing social protection programs and identifying its beneficiaries.

The regional profile of the poor households will officially be launched in Zamboanga City next month.

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