DSWD Secretary visits CICL and CAR

DSWD Secretary Bautista converses with the RRCY residents.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista visited the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) at Brgy. Urayong, Bauang, La Union to look into the welfare of more than 100 children in conflict with the law (CICL) and children at risk (CAR). The Honorable Secretary conducted an ocular inspection on the building and facilities of the residential-based facility to ensure that provision of transformational services and positive rebuilding practices are given to residents for their immediate rehabilitation.

“As what Jose Rizal proclaimed, the youth is the hope of the Fatherland,” shared Secretary Bautista to the residents. He stated that the true strength of the nation is the people including the youth who have vast ideas and capabilities that will turn things into reality, thereby contributing to the overall development of the country. He further encouraged the residents to abide by the rules of the Centers and participate in all activities for them to be immediately reintegrated to their families and communities. The residents must be true leaders to their co-residents and to those people who are unheard and victims of social injustices brought about by different circumstances. The Honorable Secretary challenged also the residents to become uniformed personnel so as to help curb all forms of inequalities and wrongdoings in the society.

Prior to the visit to the Center, Secretary Bautista convened the DSWD Field Office 1 Management Committee and staff. There are more than 1,100 strong men and women of the Field Office who work tirelessly and silently to reach-out and provide the needs of the people particularly in disadvantaged areas. The Honorable Secretary underscored that the Department must prioritize the poor to have access to social services and economic spaces in which they can secure thriving livelihood options to acquire steady sources of income. To further improve the socio-economic situation of the Department’s partner-beneficiaries, staff must work hand-in-hand with all levels of government to achieve multiple objectives increasing the level of well-being of targeted clients. The workforce must also adhere to the ethical standards of the public employees and must at all times uphold utmost integrity in order to inspire and influence the partner-beneficiaries to optimize their full potentials. The government and the people, as a two-way-street, must both contributors to better decisions and design systematic policies to achieve social liberation and justice. Finally, the Honorable Secretary instilled to the staff the importance of pro-active philosophy to achieve the mission and vision of DSWD wherein proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance. # By: Darwin T. Chan, Social Marketing Unit.

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DSWD FO 1 strengthens advocacy on children and youth services

Director Castillo encourages LSWDOs to strengthen family functioning to curb children and youth cases.

The DSWD Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) through the Capacity Building Section reinforces its advocacy on the provision of appropriate programs and services to children and youth by conducting periodic social welfare and development (SWD) forum to local social welfare and development officers (LSWDOs). For this semester, LSWDOs from the Provinces of Pangasinan and La Union actively participated in the said forum for them to be updated and clarified on the processes, mechanisms, and standards operating procedures of the three DSWD FO 1 Centers handling restorative interventions to children and youth. These include the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth in Bauang, La Union; Home for Girls in Agoo, La Union; and Haven for Children in Dagupan City.

To support the provision of transformational relationships and positive rebuilding practices of the Centers, testimonials from the reintegrated clients of each Center attested how they became better individuals through the help of caring staff. Enriched perspectives, improved values, informed decisions, and inclusion are among the values and principles that they have learned during their stay at the residential facilities. At present, they are better individuals with the vision to help the vulnerable sectors and raise awareness in fighting abuse in any form and context.

DSWD FO 1 Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo encouraged the LSWDOs to strengthen their community-based programs and services particularly the implementation of total family approach and holistic community support to redefine the framework in providing proper interventions and projects to youth and children who are victims of various circumstances. Raising children and youth supported by favorable families and communities create reformed behavior outcomes and progressive socio-emotional development, thereby restraining them to be involved in any kind of societal conflicts. The DSWD and the local government units must also converge and harmonize their resources to fight the increasing number of cases involving children and youth.

In the culmination of the activity, La Union Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Ranilo Ipac shared that they were enlightened on the systems and initiatives of the residential facilities to respond to the needs of the residents. He further said that the SWD forum is an essential tool for all LSWDOs, regardless of the length of service, to keep them abreast with all the developments and policies concerning all sectors.

The SWD forum is an activity that provides a venue for discussion on matters of social welfare and development, which includes policy issues and concerns, research studies, SWD legislations, technical sharing, issues and trends on national development plans and international commitments, and orientation on various projects of the DSWD. # By: Darwin T. Chan, Social Marketing Unit

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DSWD FO 1 Home for Girls Advocates Child Sexual Abuse Awareness

PEQNHS students perform their original jingle composition entitled “Be the Solution”

In support to this year’s National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, the DSWD Field Office 1 Home for Girls (HFG) staged a child protection advocacy activity with the theme “A Fourfold Solution to Child Protection: Information Technology (IT) Works” held at President Elpidio Quirino National High School (PEQNHS), Agoo, La Union.

The activity endeavors to raise awareness on the current issues and challenges on child protection and to highlight the role of IT, including social media, in addressing child violence and exploitation. This initiative further underscored the significance of child participation as an effective approach to let the children take the lead to protect their own rights.

Assisted by their mentors and coaches, 42 student leaders from six (6) public and private high schools in Agoo, La Union competed in the short film making, jingle making, and impromptu speech.

The competition commenced with the viewing of three (3) short film entries from PEQNHS, Don Eufemio F. Eriguel Memorial National High School (DEFEMNHS), and Saint Mary’s Academy (SMA). The DEFEMNHS bagged the special award on the Most Socially Relevant Film while SMA was recognized as the Youth Choice Awardee. Entitled “Tsokalate”, the PEQNHS’ entry wowed the audience with its impressive cinematography and storyline and was hailed as the 2019 Champion. The film narrated the story of a child who suffered from repeated sexual abuse by her father and her journey towards healing and empowerment .

Moreover, student leaders from DEFEMNHS, PEQNHS, SMA, and Agoo Kiddie Special School (AKSS) competed in the original jingle making competition. Composed of five (5) members for each group, the participants showcased their songwriting, singing, and dancing skills depicting the advocacy on child sexual abuse prevention through the aid of IT.  AKSS bagged the 2nd place with its jingle entitled “AEGIS” while SMA was hailed as the winner with its original jingle entry pegged as “Bata at Pag-ibig.”

The highly anticipated impromptu speech competition was participated in by five (5) schools namely Agoo Academy, DEFEMNHS, PEQNHS, SMA, and Polytechnic College of La Union. Given a five-minute speech time, the participants were asked the question, “If you are one of the candidates for a senatorial post, how will you maximize child participation as an effective and practical strategy to promote child protection which will highlight your advocacy?”  With the confidence and forthright answer of the contestant from PEQNHS, the participant bagged the 2nd place. On the other hand, imparting the advocacy on awareness and promotion of programs on children empowerment, the student from SMA was hailed as the frontrunner.

HFG Center Head Noemi D. Escalona thanked the different schools in the promotion of child sexual abuse awareness. Meanwhile, Head Teacher III and PEQNHS OIC Gaspar Calletong extended his gratitude to DSWD for its initiative to eliminate child sexual abuse and further encouraged the Department to strengthen its advocacy on child protection to larger audience, particularly to schools. #By: Roulyn B. Bangud, Home for Girls

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Waste papers turn into beautiful crafts

Earrings are made using the paper quilling method.

Dagupan City – The DSWD Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) through the Area I Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC I) partnered with the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) to train 46 persons with disabilities (PWDs) from all over Region 1 on Appropriate Paper-based Technology (APT), a cost-effective way to produce creative and personally designed furniture or other objects using waste papers.

The participants, who will become trainers in their respective local government units, only used corn starch as a paste to patch waste papers into beautiful artworks and applied varnish or waterproof paint to seal the completed pieces such as but not limited to chairs, wall crafts, display items, and other useful products. Aside from APT, NCDA also imparted the technology on paper crafting and quilling to the participants to produce colorful earrings. The Council pledged to help in marketing the products to known suppliers particularly in Carmona, Cavite.

According to Dandy Victa, NCDA’s Technical Cooperation Division Chief, the Council has piloted the APT project to provide appropriate trainings and skills enhancement to PWDs to improve their creativity leading to environment-friendly livelihood options. The initiative that complements the Duterte administration’s socio-economic agenda in investing in human capital development to meet the demand of businesses and private sectors further focuses on waste reuse and recycling to counteract wastage and depletion of natural resources, thereby supporting the climate change adaptation and mitigation projects of the government. “Dahil sa APT training, nadagdagan ang aking kaalaman sa paggawa ng magagandang produkto. Ang aking gustong gawin ay lampshades dahil mahilig ako sa mga produktong pang-display. Iro-roll-out ko ang mga natutunan ko sa kagaya kong PWDs pagbalik ko sa Urdaneta City (This APT training improved my knowledge in crafting beautiful products. I want to make lampshades because I am fond of display products. I will roll-out what I have learned to my co-PWDs when I get back to Urdaneta City),” shared Rosemarie dela Cruz, Treasurer of Persons with Disabilities Affairs Office (PDAO) in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.

In 1977, APT techniques were developed in Zimbabwe by Bevill Packer to make furniture, toys, and household items as well as some equipment for PWDs. # By: Darwin T. Chan, Social Marketing Unit

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DSWD FO 1 Centers’ Residents dazzle during the Heart Month

RRCY and HFG staff pose after the successful event.

RRCY, Urayong, Bauang, La Union – Residents of DSWD Field Office (FO) 1 Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) and Home for Girls (HFG) showcased their skills and talents through dancing, spoken poetry, and pageantry during the Search for King and Queen of Hearts 2019 .

In masquerade theme, five (5) beautiful HFG and five (5) debonair RRCY candidates vying for the title King and Queen of Hearts 2019 opened the afternoon event through a dance production number. The candidates showed their distinctive competencies in singing, rapping, and dancing during the talent portion. Wearing their stylish sports attire and sophisticated formal wear, the candidates gracefully presented themselves to the four (4) panel of judges. To elicit their ideas on affection, each candidate expressed his/her opinions on self-love and compassion to family and to others. Male candidate no. 4 and female candidate no. 3, who received most of the minor and special awards, won the most coveted titles .

In between the pageant, the residents also competed in dance and spoken poetry categories. Residents grooved into dynamic dances in duos and in groups. The dance duo who won the contest gracefully moved into a piece of Filipino contemporary music. In the spoken poetry, five (5) male and two (2) female residents aesthetically battled in the word-based art performance. One of the most applauded presentations is a recital that pitched on the baseless and quick judgment of the society to the poor without knowing and understanding the real situations. In the closing words, the contestant thrown a line, “Masakit magmahal sa taong hindi ka gusto, pero mas masakit mamatay sa bayang walang pakialam sa iyo (It’s painful to love someone who does not like you, but it’s more unfortunate to die in a society that does not care about you).”

RRCY Center Head Leah Mylen L. Lucero shared that the joint event is a strategy to strengthen the interpersonal relationships between and among Centers’ staff and residents, and an avenue to exhibit their creativity, hidden ideas, and teamwork to establish a more comfortable workplace. In addition, HFG Center Head Noemi Escalona complemented that the activity is beneficial to the residents to socialize with various types of people in order to improve their communication and social skills.

Before the competition, lectures on Dating, Courtship, Marriage in Relation to Sexual and Reproductive Health was facilitated by Commission on Population Region 1, and topics on Pre-Marital Sex, Promiscuity, and Risky Behavior in Relation to HIV/AIDS was discussed by RRCY Medical Officer in the morning. # By: Darwin T. Chan, Social Marketing Unit

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A Child Born in the Heart

Oliver, Kendall, and Asuncion DeLong

Bauang, La Union – In 2006, Asuncion and Oliver Kenneth DeLong are living a happy married life in Kentucky, United States of America, but something has been missing over the past three (3) years of marriage. Having a child has always been important to the couple, particularly to Asuncion, a Filipina who values a strong sense of family relationship. Oliver, a retired American military, together with her wife has been constantly praying to give them a child but unluckily, it was all unanswered.  

Exactly on their 3rd wedding anniversary, a video call from the Philippines was received by the couple. Asuncion’s mother showed to them a newly-born baby girl who was voluntarily given up for adoption by her displaced biological parents. Due to the excitement of Asuncion’s mother, she immediately went to the local civil registry in Bauang to register the baby girl whom they named Kendall Ann DeLong. However, Asuncion and Oliver found the process inappropriate. Despite living in the USA, the couple exerted their efforts to contact social workers in the Philippines to make the adoption legitimate. Asuncion searched the DSWD Field Office 1 website and contacted the Department. Through the phone, she was accommodated by a social worker to facilitate the adoption. Once the decision had been made to begin the adoption process, the couple decided to go back to the Philippines. Through closely coordinating with DSWD, Asuncion and Oliver officially became the parents of Kendall.

Asuncion recalled, “In the beginning, I had this reservation to give my full attention to Kendall because I got jealous of her because my husband had more time for the child. But as days passed by, I found out that Kendall is a lovable and smart kid, my love for her naturally blossomed for a lifetime.” When the couple decided to stay for good in the country, Oliver went back to Kentucky to sell their house. However, an unexpected circumstance happened. Oliver died due to an aortic aneurysm, an enlargement of an artery caused by weakness in the arterial wall that leads to internal bleeding. “I was shaken by my husband’s death. I was lost. I had also this predicament on how to rear our child singlehandedly,” Asuncion narrated.

Since life must go on, Asuncion bravely raised her child by nurturing her with true compassion. “One day, my 7-year-old Kendall went home crying because she got bullied by her playmates. She asked me if she is an ampon (adopted),” shared Asuncion – a question that she was ready to answer anytime. “We (with late Oliver) are not your biological parents, but you were born in my heart. We love you dearly and you made me whole,” the loving mother said to her daughter.  If there is anything Asuncion would like the public to know, she would encourage legal adoption to spread unconditional love to neglected and/or abandoned children who need true and caring families who will stand beside them for their entire lives. “Genuine love is really what matters most when adopting a child,” she added. Asuncion also shared that there is no definite formula when to tell a child that he/she is adopted. “Once a child learns that he/she is adopted, reveal his/her true identity. The earlier children discover about the truth, the easier for them to accept the reality and create their own stories,” she said. Adoption adds dimension to identity formation, and late discovery can be devastating.

Today, the 10-year old Kendall is a Grade 4 pupil in a Christian School in the City of San Fernando, La Union. She loves to discover things on her own. “Just like any other child, my daughter also commits mistakes, but I am here to guide her throughout her life to become the person she wants to be,” Asuncion said. She also shared her secret in raising Kendall to be a God-fearing child. “Train a child the way he/she should go, and when he/she is old, he/she will not depart from it,” finally she shared.        

From 2009 to January 2019, there are 307 surrendered, neglected, and abandoned children in Region 1 who are declared legally available for adoption.#by: Darwin T. Chan, Social Marketing Unit

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RRCY wins Best Implementer of Gulayan sa Center

RRCY residents water their plants to ensure good yields.

Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) bested the other four Centers of DSWD Field Office (FO) 1 during the Search for Best Implementer of Gulayan sa Center initiated by the Supplementary Feeding Program Management Office. The activity aimed to promote vegetable production among DSWD FO 1 Centers’ staff and residents, provide a fostering environment for sustainable gardens, and improve food systems of the Centers.

RRCY residents, with the assistance of the staff, were optimized in tilling and maintaining the gardens that also serves as their recreational activity. Grouped into six, these residents were given the decision to prepare their gardens and plant various vegetables such as but not limited to tomato, okra, bottle and bitter gourds, kangkong, and sweet potato around the Center. The yields are bought by the Center based on the current market price and served during meals. Residents used the income in purchasing their personal necessities and the remaining amount is put in their savings which they can acquire once they are reintegrated with their families.

“Dahil sa Gulayan sa Center, bumaba ang insidente ng mga paglabag dito sa RRCY kasi naging abala ang mga residente sa pagtatanim at pagpapaganda sa kanilang mga gulayan. Sa proyekto ring ito, nagkaroon ng karagdagang kaalaman ang mga bata (Through the Gulayan sa Center, the violations in RRCY declined because the residents became busy in planting and improving their gardens. This project also provided additional skills to the residents),” shared RRCY Center Head Leah Mylen L. Lucero. RRCY received PhP10,000.00 cash prize to be used for sustainable gardening that would both benefit the Center and the residents.

The Best Implementer of Gulayan sa Center was judged based on utilization of garden space, variety of plants grown, sufficiency and resourcefulness of garden tools, appearance of the garden, and sources of water supply. # By: Darwin T. Chan, Social Marketing Unit

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Typhoon Ompong-affected households receive emergency shelter assistance

Naguilian, La Union – DSWD Field Office (FO) 1 granted PhP2,449,400.00 emergency shelter assistance (ESA) to 74 households assessed with totally-damaged houses after the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong on 16 September 2018. Each household received PhP30,000.00 ESA and an additional PhP3,100.00 Cash-For-Work (CFW) assistance. The CFW is a 10-day undertaking to reconstruct and/or rehabilitate the damaged houses where daily labor payment is based on the Regional Minimum Wage of Region 1 set by the National Wages and Productivity Commission.

“Ang natanggap po namin na tulong ay magagamit bilang panimula para buuing muli ang aming tahanan. Maraming salamat DSWD (The assistance we received will be used to rebuild our home. Thank you DSWD),” said Warlyn H. Cabading, a recipient from Brgy. Suguidan Norte. Despite the unfortunate circumstance, Warlyn remains resilient and plans to construct a safer home in their family’s compound situated at a higher ground.

In full smile, Rogelio Aquino, 77, a resident of Barangay Sili, thanked the Department for going to the barangay to personally hand-in the shelter assistance. Living alone, he hopes to rehabilitate a stronger house near the area where his light material-made shack was totally wrecked by the typhoon.

In Region 1, there are 2,200 ESA recipients who were validated with totally-damaged houses with a fund allocation of PhP73,349,600.00. ESA pay-outs are currently conducted by the DSWD FO 1 Disaster Response Management Division throughout the region. # By: Darwin T. Chan, Social Marketing Unit

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