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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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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 http://www.dswd.gov.ph/downloads-2/forms/

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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