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Building Resilience, Building Lives

Andresa G. Cortes, married and 45 years old was born and raised in Barangay Maya-maya, Tambulig Zamboanga del Sur. She is a mother to two kids and married to Edgar Cortes, a farmer and a Barangay Councilor at the same time. She is also currently on her third term as the Barangay Chairman of Maya-maya.

Being born and raised in the farthest barangay of the Municipality of Tambulig specifically Barangay Maya-maya, where farming is the major source of livelihood, she shared with the struggles of her people. Having limited resources and lack of access to economic opportunities. They may have the area- wide farmlands but were not fully utilized due to lack of resources to finance farming activities. Ironically, majority of the people are farmers but most households buy rice or corn from the market.

In 2010, KapitanaAndresa became one of the Pantawid beneficiaries in the Barangay. Being an active member of the community, the people see a leadership potential in her. She got elected as Barangay Chairman in 2013.

In 2014, the Sustainable Livelihood Program was introduced to them during one of their Family development Session. Knowing the struggles of the farmers in the barangay, she thought the program will be a very great help for them. She urged her co-Pantawid beneficiaries to avail the program and ensured full support for them. They formed into an association and was named Maya-maya SLP Association and elected Ms. Vivian Mocoy as President.

The Maya-maya SLP Association received the seed capital fund worth Php 400,000.00 in 2016. But because the association is still in disbelief of the grant received and was partly hesitant to utilize the grant because of the fear that they may end up bankrupt, they were unable to open their enterprise.

Until 2018, with assistance from then implementing PDO and continuous support from KapitanaAndresa, the association finally braved to start the operation of their enterprise. They engaged into Buy and Sell of Chicken Dungs and Agri-Supply.  The association decided to adapt an order-based policy. Items are purchased according to the list of orders. With the support and initiative of KapitanaAndresa, an LGU vehicle is requested to deliver the items purchased and the association will only pay for the gas. In this way, the SLPA were able to save the transportation expenses.

Also because of the savings from transportation expenses, the association does not have to add more costs to the SRP of the items. That means the customers can avail them at almost if not same with the competitive market price. And this means a BIG HELP to the farmers in the Barangay.

Before the operation of the Maya-maya SLP Association, the farmers of the barangay have very limited farm produced because of the limited resources to finance their farming activities. Not to mention the difficulty of the mode of transportation being the farthest barangay in the Municipality. In this reason, the farmers are ironically always running short of produced that they have to buy their own rice/corn for their families’ consumption.

But after the SLPA started its operation, the farmers are able to have access to credit at a very minimal interest rate of only 2% monthly. KapitanaAndresa is proud to say that the farmers of Barangay Maya-maya are now able to provide for their families’ needs because they are able maximize production of farm produced.

“Daghang Salamat sa DSWD ug sa SLP nganapiliamuang barangay nga matagaan ug capital kay dako kaayo kini nga tabang sa katawhan ilabina sa amuang mga mang-uuma.” Kapitana Andresa said.

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Social Pension Beneficiaries Celebrate Centenarian Year

Six Social Pension beneficiaries in Zamboanga Peninsula who reached the age of 100 years old celebrated their Centenarian year recently.

Among them were Vicente Macrohon Llledo and Diego Bautista Robillo of Zamboanga City who just turned 100 years old last April and May, respectively.

The DSWD personnel and social workers of the local government unit on Monday, June 15, 2020 visited the centenarians in their residence to formally honor and award the cash gift worth 100,000 together with the felicitation letter in the presence of the immediate family members.

Born in 1920, Llledo and Robillo has been a beneficiary of Social Pension program of the DSWD since 2011.

While Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens program is the additional government assistance in the amount of Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00) monthly stipend to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of indigent senior citizens as indicated in the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 or RA 9994, the Republic Act 10868 or known as “Centenarians Act of 2016” shall recognize all Filipinos who reach the age of one hundred (100) years old, whether residing in the Philippines or abroad. They shall be honoured with a Letter of Felicitation from the President of the Philippines congratulating the celebrant for his or her longevity and a Centenarian Gift in the amount of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000).

From the twenty seven (27) centenarians recorded in the registry of DSWD for the 1st and 2nd Quarter, 24 of these were already honored while the 3 remaining centenarians are expected to receive their cash gift any time before the month ends. From these records, 8 of which are male while 19 others are female. The oldest was 109 years old, female centenarian from Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur.The following are the number of centenarians in Region IX for 1st and 2nd Quarter of 2020: Zamboanga Del Norte -11; Zamboanga Del Sur-6; Zamboanga Sibugay Province-4 and Zamboanga City-6.

The DSWD project development officer and social workers of the local government units shall continue to monitor the centenarians to ensure that the money intended for them shall be used for their basic essentials like food, medicines and other necessities. The DSWD likewise encouraged all its centenarians to open a bank account to ensure proper monitoring of the cash utilization. ##

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Patubig, pamanang suporta ng komunidad

“Bilang Timuay, hangad ko lamang na maging masaya ang mga tao sa aming komunidad. Masaya ako dahil nagawa namin ang sub-project at lahat ay makabenepisyo sa pinatayong Water System Level II sa aming lugar. Masaya ako na naging matagumpay ito dahil sa suportang binigay ng buong komunidad sa amin”. 

Ito ang pangarap ni Timuay Junrey Andapit para sa kanyang kinasasakupan. Bukod sa pagiging isang Tribal Leader ay nagsisilbi ring siya bilang isang Barangay Kagawad sa Tinaplan, Leon B. Postigo, Zamboanga del Norte.

Ang kanilang barangay ay may layong 15 kilometro mula sa poblacion at nasa 70% sa mga taga rito ay katulad niyang Subanen. Kwento niya ay simple lamang ang pamumuhay sa kanilang lugar, karamihan ang pangunahing pinagkakakitaan ay ang pagbebenta ng kopras at goma. Kung mauubusan man ng bigas ay nairaraos naman sila ng tanim na mais, o kamoteng kahoy at saging na rin.

Dati na rin naging bahagi ng implementasyon ng Kalahi-CIDSS ang Bayan ng Leon Postigo kung kaya’t hindi na rin nanibago ang mga residente sa pagtanggap sa PAMANA IP-CDD. Sa katunayan gamit na gamit pa rin sa ngayon ang mga proyektong naipatayo noon ng Kalahi sa kanilang barangay.

Ngunit naroon pa rin naman ang kakulangan nila ng maayos na sistema ng patubig. Isa ito sa nakitang problema ng komunidad, kahit na mayroon silang water source ay wala naman silang reservoir. Ang kanilang water source ay nasa level I lamang at nag-iisa lang ang tapstand nito na hindi sasapat upang maserbisyuhan ang buong barangay maging ang kalapit nitong komunidad.

Ayon kay Timuay Junrey, kinakailangan pa nilang umalis ng maaga, pumila upang makapag-igib ng tubig dahil malayo-layo rin ang lalakarin patungo sa kinalalagyan ng tapstand.

Kung kaya’t napagkasunduan mula sa Tribal Leaders Meeting kasama rin ang mga opisyales ng barangay na bigyang prayoridad ang hinaing nilang water system.

Ang Water System Level II sub-project na kabilang sa implementasyon ng Batch 2, Cycle 1 ay nakadisenyo na may anim ngunit sila ay nakabuo ng labin-isang tapstand na nasadya sa matataong lugar sa kanilang barangay upang maibsan ang paghihirap ng mga residente dito sa pag-igib ng tubig para sa araw-araw na pangangailangan. Ito rin ay aalalay sa Lower Tinaplan CBFM Farmer’s Association.

Nataon rin sa nararanasang pandemia ay lalong nakikita nila ang pangangailan na maipatupad sa lalong madaling panahon ang nasabing proyekto. Natapos ang paggawa sa loob ng labing-apat na araw at noong ngang ika -29 ng Mayo 2020 ay pormal nang pinasinayaan ang Water System Level II sub-project na pinondohan ng PAMANA IP-CDD sa halagang Php950,000.00.

Ang PAMANA IP-CDD ay bunga ng pagpapalawig ng kasunduan ng Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process (OPAPP) at ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) sa pamamagitan ng Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) na nagbibigay ng interbensyon sa paghahatid ng mga serbisyo at programa na nakatuon sa komunidad ng mga Indigenous People o katutubo gamit ang Community-Driven Development. 

Ilang taon na rin mula nang naisakatupan ng isang pulitiko ang kanilang patubig, ngunit laking pasasalamat ni Timuay Junrey sa programa dahil hindi niya akalain sa dami ng barangay sa Leon Postigo ay nabigyang prayoridad ang hinaing nila.

Aniya “napahimuslan na namo ang proyekto, nagpasalamat kog dako bisan pay lisod ang trabaho ug tambong sa mga meeting pero nalipay ko kay successful ang project sa among barangay. Dili na maglisod sa tubig tungod nga duol na sa among tukaran”.

(Nagagamit na namin ang proyekto, laking pasasalamat ko kahit na mahirap ang trabaho at kailangang dumalo sa mga pagpupulong, pero natutuwa ako kasi natagumpayan namin ang proyekto sa aming barangay. Hindi na mahihirapan pa sa pag-salok tubig dahil nandito na lamang sa aming bakuran.) ###

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DSWD SALUTES 4Ps SON, NOW CADET 1st CLASS

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) highly salutes Jefferson Yamson Salazar, a 4Ps beneficiary’s son who recently marched as Cadet First Class in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Masidlawin Class of 2020.

Among the 196 graduates, Salazar ranked 3rd along with Cadet First Class Gemalyn Sugui (Valedictorian) and Cadet First Class Jade Villanueva (Salutatorian) being in the Top 3.

PMA TOP 3. L-R Cadet First Class Jade Villanueva (Salutatorian), Cadet First Class Gemalyn Deocares Sugui (Valedictorian), and Cadet First Class Jefferson Yamson Salazar (3rd placer).
Photos courtesy: PMA

Jefferson is the fourth child of tricycle driver Jose and snack vendor Marites Salazar who are members of DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

In an interview, Marites says that her son has always been a good student. Jefferson usually does not bring notebook in class because according to him, he ensures that he understands the lectures and everything he learns is kept in his mind.

Marites recalls that even when they were struggling financially, she has always seen the big potential in Jefferson and was confident that he can achieve his goals despite the hardships in life.

“Hindi hadlang ang kahirapan kaya huwag mawalan ng pag-asa at mag-aral ng mabuti para makamit nila ang pangarap nila at magtagumpay, (Poverty is not a hindrance so don’t lose hope and study hard to achieve your dreams and succeed,)” Marites shares her message to her co-4Ps family beneficiaries.

As a young boy, Jefferson was a consistent honor student of his class. Because of poverty, he has seen his eldest sibling sacrificed her education for a job to help sustain their family. And so he made sure to keep an eye on his goal.

In college, he took up Bachelor of Science in Physics at Western Mindanao State University then proceeded to pursue his studies in PMA and succeeded.

Despite not being able to attend the graduation rite last May 22 due to COVID-19 protocols, Jefferson’s family was very proud of his achievement.

Marites also expressed how thankful she is for the support that she has received from family, relatives, and the government.

“Naging malaking tulong yung natatanggap namin na cash assistance dahil nagkaroon ako ng karagdagang kapital sa pagtitinda. Ang programa ng gobyerno gaya ng 4Ps ay may layuning tumulong sa mga nangangailangan; nasa tao na kung papaano niya ito gamitin, (The cash assistance has been a great help especially as augmentation to our livelihood. Government programs such as the 4Ps aim to help families in need but it is up to the people to make something out of it,” says Marites.

Salazar family has been a beneficiary of the 4Ps since 2013. Jefferson’s older sister who was a monitored child of 4Ps will soon take her licensure board exam in December. To this date, only their youngest child who is in Grade 9 is monitored by the program. 

Now, Salazar family celebrates the achievement of each of their family members. 

The eldest daughter, after working for several years to help support the family, is now back in school taking up BS Chemistry in WMSU;

The second child, who was also a scholar of DSWD’s Sulong Dunong, already graduated from a 2-year degree;

The third child supported herself in college by joining a school-funded organization and earning on the side from being a School Assistant;

The 4th child (Jefferson) will soon join the Philippine Navy;

The 5th child will soon graduate with a degree in Political Science;

The 6th child will take her licensure board exam as a Pharmacist in December; and

The youngest one is currently in Grade 9, GT STEM.