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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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CSOs called to register with DSWD before implementing, receiving public funds

In the effort to ensure responsible allocation and use of public funds, Civil Society Organizations are called to undergo assessment through the Department of Social Welfare and Development before they can be recipients, beneficiaries, or implementing entities of government funds

The assessment is part of DSWD’s mandate which is to register, license and accredit CSOs that intend to seek and utilize public funds for the implementation of Social Welfare and Development programs or projects.

CSOs or NGOs applying for DSWD accreditation shall be subjected to “social investigation”, wherein projects and programs that they claim to have implemented will be verified through communities they also claim to have served and worked with. Through the Standards Unit, DSWD shall also conduct series of assessment and validation through existing offices and past involvements in different organizations.

“The process is really tedious. But it’s all worth it because after all we are talking about the public’s money. And we just want to make sure that, families and communities receive quality services in non-discriminatory fashion.” Standard’s Unit Head, Flor Nicanor said in a statement.

Nicanor also reiterated the call for CSOs operating without a registration to start coordinating with the department because they are only given a period of one year to apply.

CSOs shall initiate the registration by submitting an application letter together with accomplished information sheet and complete requirements. For the list of complete requirements and downloadable form, they may visit DSWD’s website at

To be accredited, CSO as an implementing entity must meet the following criteria: must have operated for at least three years, no derogatory record with any government agencies, must not be in default or delay in liquidating any funds received from any government agencies, and must not be related within the fourth civil degree of affinity to any DSWD official involved in the processing of its application or any official of the funding government agency.

Whereas, CSOs wanting to be accredited as a beneficiary must satisfy the following criteria: (1) Must be organized and composed of individuals directly affected by the problem/ crisis; (2) Must have undergone social preparation specific to the proposed project; (3) Must be in good standing with all Gas from which it has received; (4) Must not be in default or delay in liquidating any funds from any GA.

DSWD also puts forward the benefits that NGOs may enjoy if they will have their organizations registered: (1) technical Assistance from the DSWD on programs and services implementation.(2) Participation in DSWD’s capability building and skills enhancement and (3) Other benefits and privileges provided from time to time by DSWD.

DSWD has been partnering with various NGOs to monitor and assist in the implementation of its core programs such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Sustainable Livelihood Program and Kalahi-CIDSS, as part of its ‘Gabay, Tulay, Kaagapay’ Partnership Framework.

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DSWD programs uninterrupted amid election ban

Despite the ban on disbursement of public funds implemented by COMELEC, the Department of Social Welfare and Development ensures the public that delivery of services and implementation of programs for the poor will continue.

In a statement, DSWD IX Regional Director Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo confirmed that the release of grants to partner beneficiaries will go uninterrupted since most of the assistance that the department is providing is emergent in nature and some will cover daily expenses of indigent families.

“These programs are social assistance and we cannot deprive the people who badly need them from availing. We cannot put monetary assistance to individuals in crisis or emergency situation on hold only because it’s election.” DSWD 9 Regional Director Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo said in a statement.

Considered as the first responders during disasters are the LGUs, DSWD augments the initial assistance provided by LGUs to people affected by any unpleasant eventualities. However, Solamillo emphasized that LGU should take the responsibility of transporting these relief items to their respective cities/ municipalities.

“They have to pay for the hauling of these materials everytime they request for augmentation assistance. This will serve as their counterpart.” Solamillo said during a meeting with DSWD regional staff on Monday.

Last week, DSWD transported 1,468 family food packs to Basilan intended for internally displaced persons in Tipo-Tipo who have been affected by the clash between the AFP and bandits. Meanwhile, some of the Social Welfare and Development Team of Zamboanga del Sur reported that they have provided financial assistance worth Php225,000 to 440 beneficiaries last week. In addition, DSWD was also able to extend Home Materials Assistance in the amount of 5,000 pesos to each of 66 Zamboanga IDPs.

Some of the programs that will be continuously implemented are Social Pension Program with more than 80,000 beneficiaries in the region, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program with 292,132 grantees, Sustainable Livelihood Program with over 20,000 program participants, Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations, and Supplementary Feeding, among others.

Meanwhile, DSWD assures that they continue to protect their

beneficiaries and programs from undue politicking and reiterates that there are measures in place to empower their beneficiaries so they themselves won’t become victims of such and are able to make informed decisions during the Election Day.

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DSWD holds graduation rites for PWD trainees

AVRC graduates together with Center Head Ms. Leila Awis, Guest Rodolfo Quinday and DSWD Asst. Regional Director for Operations Ms. Consejo Usman during the Graduation Rites held at AVRC in Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City on April 15, 2016

AVRC graduates together with Center Head Ms. Leila Awis, Guest Rodolfo Quinday and DSWD Asst. Regional Director for Operations Ms. Consejo Usman during the Graduation Rites held at AVRC in Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City on April 15, 2016

Nine (9) Persons with Disabilities (PWDS) graduated at DSWD-AVRC today after completing the 6-9 months vocational courses.

DSWD IX Regional Director Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo, represented by Asst. Regional Director for Operations Consejo Usman, confirmed the 9 graduates for 2016 led by the outstanding graduate Nathaniel Victor C. Valdez, who finished a course in massage therapy.

Valdez, being visually impaired shared how he was able to overcome the feeling of inferiority whenever he’s with other physically abled people.

“Kung noon nahihiya kami kasi binubully kami, pagdating sa AVRC madami kami natutunan. Nirerespeto na kami, tapos tinuturuan kami pano makisama sa ibang tao. Madami talaga nagbago na nakatulong para maniwala ako sa kakayahan ko” Valdez said in an interview.

Meanwhile, RD Solamillo, in her message, acknowledged the unique advantages of PWDs and their determination in defeating their insecurities and fear and embracing of what the world can offer amid their condition.

“I believe that PWDs have those unique advantages; and if used properly, these will be the key to your success and the foundation for lasting progress. So I count on your sense of duty as specially-abled citizens in harnessing these gifts to unleash your great potential.” her message read.

The graduates who are orthopedically handicapped, persons with visual impairment and hearing impaired were trained on massage therapy, food service and canteen management, commercial cooking, tailoring, and Basic Computer. Aside from these, psychosocial interventions were also done to socially- prepare them for their mainstreaming and reintegration in the society.

Moreover, the center was able to rehabilitate and job placed 75 PWDs last year.###


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From baby-sitting to teaching

ESGPPA PHOTOThe sleepless nights were not dedicated to books and pens, but to cradle a baby in order to support her dreams fastened.

The story of Melona Dumayon of Barangay Tiogan, Leon Postigo, Zamboanga Del Norte ironically tells us her struggle before a college diploma has landed in her grip.

She was 4th among the 9 children of Esperedon and Anecita Dumayon who both earn a living from farming and peddling snacks. With more than nine mouths to feed, she knew life was not easy to survive due to a minimal income of the family. She once recalled the days when her mother reminded her on the importance of education for it is the only way she can break the chains of the family to be freed from the hard life. Her mother wanted them to taste the sweetness of life by becoming successful person and that should not deprive them to achieve the best.

The struggles of Melona in her younger years recounted the days when she had to travel in kilometres in order for her to reach school. Being a consistent achiever, she was always driven on her purpose on why she had to study hard for the family. In 2006, she started to support herself by being a working student to a teacher which helped her to eventually finish it well. Amid the efforts she manifested, her parents never allowed her to work so much, they still support their child by augmenting her finances especially in projects required in school.

On her way to tertiary education, the family could no longer support her because the livelihood of her parents were minimal and just enough for basic needs at home. With this, she had to stop schooling.

May 2010, she worked again to help sustain the needs of the family. She decided to apply as a Baby sitter to a relative of a school teacher whom she worked before. With a salary of Php 1,500 a month, she knew that it could help her this time to pursue what has been idle for quite some time —to pursue a college education. However, this option was not supported by her mother.

Her dream once again was on hold due to some circumstances yet she still decided to pursue what she thought would help her gain employment in the shortest time. She enrolled in TESDA for 5 months and successfully passed the assessment in 2011 with National Certificate II in Computer Hardware. This made her more inspired to enrol in College to take an Information Technology course, but two years after, she wasn’t able to finish it again due to financial constraints.

At that time that she felt things won’t be possible as they may seem, until the Student Grants-in Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation or SGP-PA came to lit spark in her dream. She enrolled herself in Western Mindanao State University-External Campus in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay with a course on Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Her optimistic disposition had brightened up the dark portions of her life. She strived hard to manifest the best effort that she can give with the support of the program. There was a time when she was diagnosed with Urinary Tract Infection which affected her practice teaching.

The grants truly helped her to sustain the right education her mother always reminded her to have. The dreams are far more secured this time than being a baby sitter with an income that would not guarantee full coverage of her school fees. She’s very grateful for the program as it opened doors of opportunity for students like her whose dreams are just floating to be realized.

On April 7, 2016, Melona finally graduated in her degree with so much pride and gratefulness, that above all the struggles and dreams that have been long overdue, it never shaken her indomitable faith. With the program’s aim to assist the Pantawid families whose children are in tertiary education, ESGPP-PA has truly marked a significant milestone in the pages of history as once a dreamer, whose only music was the cry of a baby, now has finally changed into a resounding march of hymns. Currently, she’s taking up review classes in preparation for the Licensure Examination for teachers. In God’s perfect time, she’s ready to glide the chalks on the blackboards of a learning institution and repay the education that the government has given her. ##


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DSWD ties up with ZC LGU, PWD sector for new project

DSWD Officials Asst. Regional Director for Operations Consejo Usman, Social Technology Bureau Representative Marilyn Moral, together with ZC mayor Isabelle Cimaco-Salazar, CSWDO Ma. Socorro Rojas, PWD Official representative Teddy Kahil with some members of PWD community show the signed Memorandum of Agreement on CARe-ABLE project on April 15, 2016 at the Conference Room, City Hall

DSWD Officials Asst. Regional Director for Operations Consejo Usman, Social Technology Bureau Representative Marilyn Moral, together with ZC mayor Isabelle Cimaco-Salazar, CSWDO Ma. Socorro Rojas, PWD Official representative Teddy Kahil with some members of PWD community show the signed Memorandum of Agreement on CARe-ABLE project on April 15, 2016 at the Conference Room, City Hall

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Region IX has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Zamboanga City LGU and PWD sector for the implementation of Community-based interventions for the PWDs on April 15, 2016 at the Conference Room in City Hall.

The project, dubbed as Community Action and Resources for Accessible, Better and Leverage Environment (CARe-ABLE) for PWDs aims to provide holistic intervention to the said sector and reduce barriers from accessing resources both from the government and non-government organizations.

The project will be implemented through creating enabling mechanisms and structures for indigent PWDs and their families to access programs and services and participate in local governance, economic activities and disaster-risk reduction.

Establishment of Community Help Desk for PWDs and provision of financial and technical assistance are only some of the interventions identified by the parties involved.

The DSWD through its Social Technology Bureau (STB) will allocate funds for the pilot implementation of the said project in 5 identified barangays namely Mampang, Taluksangay, Arena Blanco, Labuan and Sangali, since these are the barangays with the most number of PWDs based on 2011 data of Listahanan.

“The pilot implementation of CARe-ABLE project will only cover regions 9 and 5. So we hope that this project will help make some changes in the lives of the PWD sector so it can be replicated in other cities or areas.” DSWD’s STB representative Marilyn Moral said in her message.

Present during the MOA signing were DSWD Asst. Regional Director Consejo Usman, ZC Mayor Isabelle Cimaco-Salazar, STB representative Marilyn Moral, Ma. Socorro Rojas of CSWDO, chairpersons of chosen barangays, and some members of PWD community.###

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