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DSWD, SM launch farmers training program for Tigbalabag Pantawid benes

IMG_6502Some 50 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Zamboanga City were identified as recipients of SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers Training Program.  The program, which was launched yesterday in Barangay Tigbalabag, this city aims to help families sustain their needs by educating small-time farmers on new effective technologies  that could help them grow organic fruits and vegetables in their own backyard.

DSWD IX Regional Director Zenaida L. Arevalo said that the project is one of the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) efforts.  “Considering the need for income-sustaining programs for our poor households, we believe that this is a good opportunity for our Pantawid benefiaries to learn something that would help them come up with earnings for their daily needs”.

Cristie Angeles, Asst. Vice President for SM Foundation said, “We want to help these families sustain their food and (to earn) a little money to alleviate themselves out of poverty”.  She added that this is the first time that SM Foundation has linked with a group from Zamboanga City, a non-SM area.  “But realizing the need of the people, we pursued with this effort”, Angeles explained.

“Scholars” as they are called, the program recipients were identified on the condition that they have an existing vacant lot measuring to at least 200 square meters where they could plant and apply what they have learned from their once-a-week meeting with their trainor.

A vacant lot adjacent to the Barangay Hall of Tigbalabag was turned into a Demo Farm where the scholars shall convene every Wednesday for the lecture and application.

The training, which started yesterday (Feb. 26), will extend for 13 weeks.  Sweet corn, honey dew and melons and common vegetables are some of the produce that they hope to harvest after the training program.

“There will be a mini-fair where the scholars will display their harvest on the day of the graduation and we have encouraged these scholars to complete their 13 sessions for them to receive a certificate from SM”, Arevalo said.  She added that those participants with more than 2 absences with no valid reason will be automatically excluded from the training program.

The Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan project is a joint effort of DSWD, DAR, SM Foundation and Harbest Agribusiness Corp. and the local government of Zamboanga City### (NZB)

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DSWD IX launches Targeting System’s new brand name ‘LISTAHANAN’

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office IX officially launched “LISTAHANAN (Talaan ng Pamilyang Nangangailangan) as the new brand name of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) on February 7, 2014 at Marcian Garden Hotel, Zamboanga City.

 As a Nationwide information system that identifies who and where the poor are, The birth of Listahanan is a result of the branding workshop conducted last May 2013 which aimed to create a new name, logo and tagline for NHTS-PR for easier recall  and improved appeal to the public. The system makes available to national agencies and other social protection stakeholders a database of poor families as basis in identifying potential beneficiaries of social protection programs and services.

In the presence of the guests from National Government Agencies, Local Media, Academes and Regional Staff, The official logo was introduced in an unveiling ceremony led by  DSWD Assistant Regional Director for Operations Consejo H. Usman and Regional Focal  Person for Listahanan Mr. Hasan Alfad. A short video presentation on the process and overview of the Project was presented together with the rationale of the new brand name.

Listahanan’s new brand name is a combination of LISTAHAN (list) and TAHANAN (house/home) with the tagline “Talaan ng Pamilyang Nangangailangan”. It define the project’s initiative to establish a list of poor families in need of assistance from social protection programs. While the graphics in the Listahanan logo emphasizes the role of the project as a targeting tool for social protection.

Since the inception of NHTS project, it has tremendously helped Philhealth achieved our corporate mandate for universal coverage under the Aquino Health Agenda’s Kalusugan Pangkalahatan” said Mrs. Maria Venus B. Giroy, Chief Insurance Officer of  Philhealth IX as she shared their agency’s testimony on how the database have became very useful in the implementation of their programs and services. “The NHTS-PR  which is now branded as Listahanan, has facilitated easy enrollment for the poorest sector of our society. With the list available, Philhealth were able to minimize the duplicity of enrollment in the sponsored program of the Congressional, Provincial, City or Municipal, hence expanding to a greater number of beneficiaries to the NHIP ” she added.  She even lauded the certified list shared by Listahanan of the DSWD to their agency for it has increased the number of NHTS beneficiaries in 2012 from 337,900 to 505,208 last year which included the beneficiaries from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. PhilHealth  is looking forward for the sustainability of the project and for more fruitful partnership with DSWD.

 Assistant Regional Director Usman led the toast of commitment with the guests’ present with their Listahanan Mugs as a sign of the continuous support in the project as everyone is looking forward for the conduct of the Nationwide 2nd Household Assesment this year. A Press Conference followed after the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Pre-Assesment advocacy activities are set to be conducted in the latter part of February to orient Local Government Units on the new brand name and assessment processes all over Zamboanga Del Norte and Zamboanga Del Sur to include areas of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi. #IES#

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A time well spent is a life well meant

IMG_9950“Time is Gold, so it should not be wasted.” Evelyn spoke in affirmation when asked about the secret of her successful story as a beneficiary of the Convergence Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Situated in an interior purok of Barangay Maragang in Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur, Evelyn Atis’ house looks like a 2-storey house when seen from outside but it’s actually a one-storey mixed wood and bamboo home built with a mezzanine where she and her husband together with their five children share an average size of a bedroom. She met us halfway to the house with a grin stretched wide across her face. She seemed so comfortable as she started telling their story. “We have just moved here a few years ago. Our house before was only made of nipa. We had to leave the place because the lot owner was already driving us away. Good thing that I was able to save a little amount of money from my small business then to start a small house here.” Due to financial constraint, Evelyn and her husband had collected a few used and leftover lumbers from their neighbours. They started building a temporary shelter at least with a roof on it for them not to get wet whenever rain comes. Despite the discomforts, Evelyn continued with her small business. “I continued selling yema while my husband also continued working in the farm but eventually he had to stop because he got sick. His eyes got swollen and became partially blind. So I had to double my effort in working and even tried to double my time earning for his medicine and school expenses of our children. The yema business became our primary source of income.” Evelyn sends yema to elementary students to let them sell inside their classroom and pay them 10% of their total earning in a day. For three months she did this as a vending strategy as she didn’t have enough time to sell because she was attending to his husband’s needs who was then sick. With nothing left as an option, she tried asking help from her mother, an option which was neither a success. “I attempted to approach her and ask for a financial assistance, but she refused to give me. She has always been against of our marriage. She didn’t want us to get married because we were too young then. I was 17 and my husaband was 19 when we settled down. Even before, she really told us not to ask for her help if we encounter problems.” Evelyn and her husband didn’t finish schooling. She only reached 2nd year in secondary while her husband stopped at the fourth grade. But amidst all the difficulties encountered at that time, Evelyn had only gotten stronger and more determined to survive. “I can’t do anything but use what was available at that time. So I used our savings from the yema business to have my husband checked. So I was left with so little amount. And I told myself that I should really maximize the only money we had.” Evelyn used a portion of the money as a capital to peddle fried banana. “At first I was so ashamed to peddle. Before going out of the house, I used to peek outside to check if there were people. It was so ironic that I should be looking for customers to buy my goods and yet I was also trying to avoid them.” Shared Evelyn. Evelyn admitted that their life turned180 degree when they became Pantawid pamilya beneficiaries. “It was such a relief on my part when we found out that we were qualified as beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya. I even told myself that it was the solution to our problems. That I need not to get a portion from the business I had that time to spend for their education because Pantawid can shoulder it anyway.” And so Evelyn started to save more than the usual. They were even able to buy a plow for farming and as well as spend for the medication of her husband regularly. “The 300 pesos medication for my husband every week was not anymore that difficult to comply. Eventhough I was the only one who was working at that time and the only one who was supporting the financial necessities of our children. We also established a sari-sari store. And little by little, we were able to build our house, a more decent and comfortable house.” Inspite the improvement in the economic condition, Evelyn never felt complacent about it. But instead, she looked for some other means to continuously improve their living condition. True enough, after long years of fervent prayers, a life-changing opportunity knocked on their door. “In February 2013, I became a beneficiary of SLP (Sustainable Livelihood Program). They lent me 10,000 Pesos seed fund which I used to construct a small canteen inside the school campus where I can bring in and place my goods without carrying a table everyday.” Said Evelyn. As a gift to herself and a reward for all the hardworks she has done, she also bought some appliances like refrigerator for her new ice candy business, television and component. “This house and everything inside it, these will always remind me of how blessed I am to be part of Pantawid Pamilya and SLP. But of course, more than all the materialistic things we got, it is the moral and the technical lessons we have learned from Pantawid as we attend series of Family Development Sessions that really contributed to a kind of mother and wife I am today and to the trainings conducted by SLP which really taught me the principles of managing a business.” Evelyn happily narrated. Though not an active Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer, Evelyn was one of the beneficiaries of KC’s sub-project Day Care Center in Maragang since the first group of customers who would buy in her canteen is a bunch of Day Care schoolers in their village. “Before we didn’t have a Day Care center here in our barangay, so the children had to be brought by their parents to the other Day Care Center in the next barangay. So now through the Kalahi-CIDSS, the parents can now send their children to Day Care even without close supervision as it is only located near their houses.”Evelyn shares how Kalahi-CIDSS has done its part on improving the situation of their community. Evelyn is only one of the millions of Filipinos who have once faced life’s bitterness, endured it and wrestled against it. And when asked about the lesson she has learned from all her experiences with Tatsulo, she only has this to say, “Time is Gold. That’s the most precious lesson I have learned in attending our FDS (Family Development Session). Responsibilities had to be made in the fastest way for us not to be left behind.”

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A Story of Hope

IMG_0044This is the story of a mother who discovered her strength in one of life’s weakest moments. Neri Grano Carumba has always been an honest woman. At 49 years old, she anchored her values and her beliefs on honesty foremost, among all the other virtues. Little did she know that in one eventful point in her life, honesty could give her opportunities she never even dreamed of.

Needing Help, Needing Hope

Neri is married to Ireneo Caritatibo Carumba, a 58-year-old farmer. The Carumba family established their home and their life in Purok Goma, Bgy. Masao, Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay. Neri and Irineo have been blessed with 5 children: Irene (25), Airol (23), Irone (22), Ian (13) and Aiza (7). The Carumbas rely on farming their land, a quarter of a hectare, to sustain the family’s needs. However, the little income from the rice field and rubber farm could never hold up, and they always find themselves frustrating over the puzzle of where to get the meal, or how to get through the day.

Thankfully, the Carumbas were chosen to be a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilya Set 2 in 2009. With the Department of Social Welfare and Development program as their formidable support system, life for the Carumbas began to change drastically. The children could now hold their head high in school, as tuition and small contributions are no longer a problem; Neri no longer had to plea and beg off financial obligations because they could finally afford to hand over what is expected of them. The family now had the opportunity to look for other means of income, as they already had the financial power to explore peso-generating projects. Most importantly though, the Carumbas, especially Neri, gradually gained confidence in their worth and value as members of the community.

Neri loved attending the Family Development sessions. It gave her new perspectives on marital relations and motherhood, and gradually, Neri eschewed traditional beliefs and made room for new ones, particularly on household management, strengthening family relationship and disaster preparedness. As her confidence continued to grow, so did her responsibilities, not just at home but in her community as well. She slipped into leadership roles with ease; she became a Catechist Coordinator, a Barangay Health Worker and a Community Health Team-navigator.

The Carumbas live in a humble home. Constructed with light materials, their house has no concrete flooring, and half of the roofing is thatched with nipa. There is little furniture inside the home. Despite the austerity, the Carumbas boast that they have a happy home, and that one could never meet a more contented family than their own, especially now that the DSWD has given them a new chapter in life.

A Test of Strength

Fired up to take on new and more responsibilities, it was no surprise that Neri became a volunteer of KALAHI CIDSS, PAMANA CYCLE 3 in 2010. She became a member of the Monitoring Implementation Team (MIT),which gave her the substantial role of checking whether KALAHI CIDSS projects are being handled well. One incident tested her mettle, when she had been forced to sign a delivery receipt when no materials were provided for a project. Disturbed about the scenario, she immediately coordinated with fellow volunteers, and the KC-MT personnel. Neri then initiated a meeting with the Barangay Captain and with all others concerned, and successfully resolved the issue at hand. After 2 days, the materials for the project were promptly delivered, and as Neri watched the men unload the delivery, she was greatly thankful she had been honest, and that she dared assert her conviction to stay that way.

Neri’s quick response to solve the dilemma earned her the trust and confidence of barangay officials and of her fellow community members. Because of her honesty, she earned numerous rewards, including the awarding of a Municipal Agriculture Office project a Masao Farmers Association (MAFA) initiative that provided financial assistance for Hog Fattening; she also received financial aid for another project that involved poultry rising and goat raising. Being a Catechist Coordinator, Neri also took on an Income Generating project (IGP) that allowed her to do some hog raising. In addition, Neri also became one of the recipients of the Coconut, Cacao and Palay (COCOPAL) under the project of the MAFA. The TATSULO programs helped empower Neri, turning her into an organic fertilizer advocate (vermicasting) and a supporter of the Municipal Demo Farm, wherein she takes care of on-going preparation for broccoli, cabbage and ginger seedling production. Apart from the grants and projects, Neri also became a Sustainable Livelihood Program-Mauswagon SKA member. This entitled her a grant of                     Php 8,000.00 per month, which she used in her food vending project.

When Neri talks about the DSWD, she brightens up with love and gratitude. She is grateful that the TATSULO programs changed her family’s life. The TATSULO planted the seeds of change in each of her children, in her husband and in herself. These seeds continue to germinate, and as the Carumbas spend more years in the TATSULO programs, they are sure to develop and to grow into strong members of the community, empowered and virtuous.

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Sec. Soliman leads turnover of bunkhouses to Zambo evacuees

Zamboanga City – Department of Social Welfare and Development  (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman led the turnover ceremony yesterday of  five bunkhouses at Barangay Taluksangay for the families whose houses were burned at the height of the clash between government troops and the Moro National Liberation Front-Misuari Faction in September.

Together with Sec. Soliman were Habitat for Humanity Managing Head Charlito Ayco, Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar,  and 2nd District Congresswoman Lilia Nuno.

Representatives of International Organization for Migration (IOM) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also joined the turnover.

The five bunkhouses with 54 rooms are part of the 21 to be constructed in the area through the partneship of the Department with Habitat. As of today, eight bunkhouses have been completed.

Witnessing the turnover were the beneficiaries  who transferred there on the same day.

 Starter kits and food packs were also provided to them upon their relocation.

 In her message during the program, Sec. Soliman thanked the partners for their support to the national government in assisting the victims.

She also emphasized that the bunkhouses are only temporary as  President Benigno S. Aquino III has committed to provide better communities after the reconstruction and development of the affected areas.


“Hindi bahay ang mahirap gawin, ang kailangang pagtuunan ng pansin ay ang pagkakaisa natin kahit iba-iba ang ating kultura.  Tayo ay isang komunidad, isang Zamboanga City at isang bansa (It is not difficult to construct houses, what we need to focus on is our unity amid our different cultures. We are one community, one Zamboanga City, one nation),”  Sec. Soliman remarked.

For her part, Mayor Salazar reiterated  President Aquino’s plans for the affected areas.

Ayco, on the other hand, assured their organization’s support to DSWD in providing decent homes to the families.  While DSWD provides the chunk of the budget, Habitat will cover 20% of the costs as their counterpart. They also supervise the actual construction of the houses

Habitat has an existing agreement with DSWD for the construction of the bunkhouses.  Taluksangay Barangay Chair Abdurahman Nuno vowed to ensure cleanliness and peace and order in the area.

“We will take care of these houses,” he swore.

To date, there are still 4,691 families who are in evacuation centers and temporary shelters around the city. ###

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Pantawid Kids joins National Children’s Congress

One of the goals of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is to promote the rights of the children and make their voices be heard on program issues directly affecting them, in line with the said program goal, a nationwide conduct of Children’s Congress was held at the Philippine International Convention Center last October. The activity was participated by the regional winners of the Search for Exemplary Child along with some other provincial winners. Rea Lyka Bacang, 13 years old from the municipality of Malangas Zamboanga Sibugay represented the region in the nationwide competition of Search for Exemplary Pantawid Child, along with Hainun Munap of Zamboanga City, Jericho Jarlego from Zamboanga del Norte, Khim Ritchel Abapo from Zamboanga del Sur and Jerah Mae Pitalgo from Zamboanga Sibugay.

Several activities were prepared for the National Children’s Congress (NCC), which include the awardings of the national winners, workshops and lecture on children’s rights and the question and answer with some media personalities. The children participants were also brought to the National Museum and Museong Pambata to expose them with the richness of the Philippines in the preservation of cultures and art works.

The activity is a way to equip the children with essential faculties that would help them reach their full potential as child beneficiary as the program also aims that these children be capacitated to contribute to nation-building in the long run and be active citizens of the country.

It was indeed a remarkable experience for the children to participate in the said activity. But more even to the experience is the friendship built with other regional participants truly made the activity significantly memorable in the lives of the children. ###JLE###

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DSWD celebrates Children’s Month for Children Evacuess

October is the month for children as this was tagged as the children’s month. A nationwide celebration for children to showcase their talents and skills. In line with the Children’s Month celebration, DSWD conducted a Children’s Congress for children evacuees from the armed conflict in Zamboanga City. This year, DSWD gave significance to affected children with the said conflict to at least show importance that despite the incident children has still the right to enjoy life.

The activity showcased the creativity of the children with the theme: “Kahirapan ay Wakasan, Karapatan ng Bata ay Ipaglaban”. Each evacuation center has their own contestants from categories  3-5, 6-12 and 13-17 years old. With the Draw and Tell contest, each contestant were given 30 minutes to draw their interpretation in this years theme and were given the chance to explain what they have drawn.

For category 3-5 years old,Yolly Alejo from the Grandstand evacuation ranked 3rd place, Richard Repolon ranked 2nd from Tetuan Central School Evacuation Center while Arwina Wahid from Baliwan Central School Evacuation Center bagged the 1st Place. For category 6-12 years old, Jeralyn Castro from Sta. Maria Elementary School Evacuation finished as 3rd placer while Kezrie Hayudini a student representative from East Central School ranked as 2nd placer and Ferdinand Abdurahman from West High School evacuation center was awarded as the 1st placer. For the 7-17 years old Category, Shiela Mae Flores from Tetuan Central School evacuation center landed on the 3rd place and Joshua Nationales from Sta. Maria Evacuation ranked as 2nd placer while Bash Idlasan from West High School evacuation was awarded as the 1st placer.

All the contestants showed their creativity and fluency in the said Draw and Tell contest. Each piece explains their experiences during the conflict and their views to overcome such crisis situation. It was indeed an impressive output from children evacuees how positive they foresee their life in the years to come after having the traumatic experience once they had.### JLE###

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Geo-tagging of Kalahi-CIDSS sub-projects in Region 9 kicks off

With the goal of firming up the Project Information Management System and strengthening the practice of transparency in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), the Agency’s community-driven (CDD) development program, started off the geo-tagging of sub-projects in some municipalities in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Monitoring and Evaluation Officer IV Mr. Rodolfo Nillosquin III, together with Regional Infrastructure Assistant Ms. Chona Gorda, visited the municipalities of Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur and Kabasalan and Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay to conduct geo-tagging during their sub-project inspection. Mr. Nillosquin explained that through geo-tagging, project stakeholders and even the public can readily check the status of the infrastructures built through Kalahi-CIDSS in the different localities through Google Earth, a web-based application. “All they have to do is download the application. While browsing the map, there are labels and pinned locations where the subproject is located, a tracked trail to guide you on how to get Geo tagging is an Information Communication Technology tool where digital resources are associated with physical location through pictures, videos and other forms of media with corresponding coordinates. Geo-tagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information”, he said.

Mr. Nillosquin explained how geo-tagging will be able to help promote transparency and minimize the risk of corruption of the program’s resources. “Ghost projects will now be eliminated as this ensures the public that the picture attached in that specific location is the real image of the project built in the said site”, he said.

As of press time, the Regional Program Management Team of KC has geo-tagged a total of 59 sub-projects in 6 municipalities including municipalities of Tabina, Tukuran and Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur.

Regional Program Coordinator Marilyn Fabian clarified that there is no projected timeline to geo-tag all the sub-projects in region IX. “We are not chasing on any due date to finish all the sub-projects to be geo-tagged. The goal is to do geo-tagging activity alongside regular Kalahi-CIDSS activities if opportunity warrants.” Fabian stated.

On the other hand, DSWD Regional Director Zenaida L. Arevalo is positive that this initiative will bring good results for both the Department and the public in terms of monitoring government projects. “The geo-tagging will continue until all the Kalahi-CIDSS subprojects in all areas will be covered. We take pride and honor to benchmark and institutionalize this innovative tool in our agency to validate and monitor infrastructure projects and thereby promote transparency, accountability, and efficient and cost-effective project management in remote areas. Kalahi-CIDSS will continue to embark on undertakings which are deemed necessary for the improvement of the program and the welfare of the people”, said Director Arevalo.

Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the three core social protection programs of DSWD in combating poverty. It uses the community-driven development (CDD) strategy to empower ordinary citizens to actively and directly participate in local governance by identifying their own community needs, planning, implementing, and monitoring projects together to address local poverty issues.

Prepared by:

Lei Madeline S. Mohammad


Noted by:

Marilyn Fabian


Approved for Posting/Publishing:

Zenaida L. Arevalo

Regional Director

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