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DSWD clarifies election-related misinformation, allegations

The Department of Social Welfare and Development reiterates that only the DSWD has the right to remove a beneficiary from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and no political candidates can use that claim.

The beneficiaries are reminded and assured that only non-compliance to the conditions of the program such as non-attendance to monthly Family Development Sessions, Failure to attend school,  health center visits including failure to meet eligibility requirement are the grounds for delisting a certain household. However, delisting will still undergo thorough process and validation.

The department refuted the issue on the alleged use of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in favor of electoral candidates which simmered issues on removal to the program once not voted.

The DSWD, as part of the government remains apolitical and is not indorsing any political candidate nor involved in any political activity.

Pantawid Pamilya is an empowering program that enables our partner-beneficiaries to stand and speak for their rights and actively participate in community activities in support of fostering good governance.

As citizens, the partner-beneficiaries are not prohibited and are in fact encouraged to be involved in the entire electoral process. They are, however, barred from using the program activities and its beneficiaries to promote certain candidates or political party.

DSWD has geared the beneficiaries to be equipped with their rights for them not to be harassed nor deceived especially during campaign period. Pantawid Pamilya has included the Active Citizenship module in their monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS) which sought to educate the beneficiaries on their responsibility and role in participating the electoral process. Being the direct recipients of the program, the sessions helped them to understand the election as another transition period which may also affect their current status considering the program is only a policy and at risk of losing its sustainability thus, choosing a right leader plays a crucial role for them.

The beneficiaries also expressed their concerns as it calls for support on the approval of the CCT bill to formally institutionalize it as a Poverty Alleviation strategy.

The beneficiaries are already empowered enough to be critical in their own preferences by exercising their freedom to choose and elect the official whom they think worthy of their trust.

The agency has employed the Grievance Redress System as a mechanism to receive any election related complaints or concerns pertaining to Pantawid Pamilya.

Should you know a staff/ official or beneficiaries who are using the program for personal or political gains, you may submit your complaints through the Grievance Help Desk at DSWD Field Office IX. ##

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DSWD urges Pantawid G10 completers to register SH voucher program online

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office IX urged all Pantawid Pamilya grade 10 completers to avail the Senior High voucher program of the Department of Education thru online registration.

Based on the generated results of Compliance Verification System in Region IX, there are more than 23,000 monitored children who have completed their junior high school education in 655 high school facilities region wide.

The registration in the said program will ensure educational financial support for senior high school. Qualified recipients who came from Public JHS and SUC/LUC Junior High Schools are entitled for 100% voucher value. Meanwhile, 80% full voucher value shall be given to Grade 10 ESC grantees who have completed their Junior High School in ESC participating schools.

The SHS VP is a mechanism to provide financial assistance to senior high school students in line with Deped Order no. 11 series of 2015. It envisions to be a long-term program of the government that will empower students with choice to pursue their desired senior high school education. This form of public-private partnership is expected to enhance dynamism and diversity in the education system and to provide private schools with financial resources needed to transition to a 12-year basic education system.

DSWD Regional Director, Atty.Araceli F. Solamillo encouraged all Pantawid Pamilya high school beneficiaries to apply and grab the opportunity to get the educational support through the voucher program and enroll in Senior High School ready facilities nearest to their area. She stressed out that the upcoming senior high beneficiaries will still be monitored and education compliance shall have a great effect once they failed to enroll considering the limited senior high ready facilities in the region.

DSWD has already enforced all municipal and city links to assist the Pantawid children in their online application. These beneficiaries are reminded that the deadline for application shall only be until May 6, 2016.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program has expanded its coverage for children beneficiaries until 18 years of age or until it finishes high school. The said expansion sought to prepare the beneficiaries to be equipped in the future by acquiring skills which complemented in the Kto12 program of DepEd. ##


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DSWD cautions parents against possible exploitation of children on Election Day

The Department of Social Welfare and Development cautions parents about the possible risks that their children can possibly get into during election.

This is after the agency has received reports that allegedly some minors are tapped to serve as “liners” on the day of the election.

“We caution the parents about the vulnerability of their children to this kind of exploitation because we don’t want them to be affected by any conflict or unpleasant incidents that may occur during the day.” Protective Services Unit Head Josefina Reyes said during a media interview.

Reyes added that children are too young to be participating in such activity because they are unaware of the risk that they may be exposed to in chaotic situations that election may bring.

However, DSWD acknowledges the importance of engaging the youth in the electoral process but only to observe and help in ensuring that there are no irregularities happening, because it somehow empowers them to participate in civic life.

Reyes also urged the Barangay Council for Protection of Children (BCPC) to ensure the safeguards of children and to initiate prohibiting measures so that children may not be used for election purposes.

“We have the BCPCs and we hope that they take appropriate actions on this. It is better if we have existing barangay resolution that will support our advocacy in promoting the rights and welfare of the children in their community.” Reyes added.

Under the Presidential Decree No. 603 article 87, every barangay council shall encourage the organization of a local Council for the Protection of Children and shall coordinate with the Council for the Welfare of Children and Youth in drawing and implementing plans for the promotion of child and youth welfare.

Moreover, DSWD iterates that voters, to include parents should educate the minors in the family, to instead make sure that the candidates they are supporting are the ones who commit to make protection of children a priority in their plans and platforms.###

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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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Kalahi-CIDSS spearheads Bridging Leadership Training for LGUs

The Department of Social Welfare and Development through the Kalahi-CIDSS conducted the Bridging Leadership Training on April 26-29, 2016 at Roderics Resort in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Participated by the local government unit of different municipalities in the region, the purpose of the three-day training is to build the character and competence of the LGU. This is also the opportunity to reflect on where they are now in terms of local leadership so that they’ll become more supportive and they’ll become more committed to developing their municipalities.

This is also an avenue to strengthen the partnership of the program to the respective LGUs, as noted previously by the Deputy Regional Project Manager Elpidio Lapad, “there have been many issues experienced by Kalahi-CIDSS team like for the past three years there have been poor LGU support, and delay in the delivery of local counterpart, limited technical assistance from the LGUs to the ACTs and to the communities”.

The challenge remains despite the numerous sub-projects that have already been implemented in some municipalities within the region.

“The poor ownership of the LGU is partly the reason why we are conducting this Bridging Leadership Training”, DRPM Lapad added.

At the end of this training, the most important output is for the LGU to determine new relationships, new arrangements in local governance that are reinforcing what Kalahi-CIDSS is doing in municipalities.#

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218 ESGPPA grantees in ZamPen now college grads

Batch of student grantees under the Expanded Students Grant-In aid program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA) have already graduated in college, school authorities confirmed.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office IX recognized the Two Hundred Eighteen graduates of the ESGPPA in Zamboanga Peninsula who have dedicated their efforts to finish the tertiary level education.

The graduates who are also Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program partner-beneficiaries will soon become instruments in assisting their families to alleviate its social and economic conditions through engaging in the employment opportunities that await them.

The Student Grants-in-aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) is a government program that aims to contribute to the National Government’s thrusts in effectively addressing poverty alleviation by increasing the number of graduates in higher education among indigent households and to get these graduates employed in high-value added occupations in order to lift their families out of poverty and to contribute to national development.

Strengthening this goal, as a long term instrument and commitment to break the vicious poverty cycle afflicting the poor but deserving students, a creation of partnership under Joint Memorandum Circular No.2014-1 among different government agencies like Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Philippine Association of State Colleges and Universities (PASUC) was made.

The recipients were comprised of the different State Colleges and Universities who have partnered the agencies involved in the implementation of the program.  The graduates came from the following schools: Western Mindanao State University- Main/ESU campus (106 graduates); Jose Rizal Memorial State University (34 graduates); JH Cerilles State College (10 graduates); Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College (39 graduates) and Zamboanga City State of Marine Sciences and Technology (29 graduates).

Among them, the top Bachelor degree courses were: Education, Computer Science and Agriculture.

To date, the program currently covers 2,078 grantees enrolled in the partner SUCs around the region which are entitled to a maximum of Thirty Thousand Pesos per semester. The grant is intended to cover the costs for tuition and other school fees, academic and extracurricular expenses, purchase of text books, board and lodging, transportation, clothing, admission/entrance fees, health and other valid related education expenses and support services to complete the student-grantee’s degree program. ##

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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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