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Fisherfolks in Sinait, Ilocos Sur receive DSWD-SLP livelihood assistance

Bayanihan spirit. Members of the Siglat Mangngalap Dada Norte SLPA work together in building their fish cages under the scorching heat of the sun.

“Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” literally applies to the 28 members of Siglat Mangngalap Dada Norte Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) and eight (8) members of Dur-as Dada Sur SLPA in Sinait, Ilocos Sur as they underwent a Skills Training on Fish Culture on 5-9 March 2018 to enhance their skills on fish farming. The two SLPAs also received fishing nets, ropes, and fingerlings as livelihood starter kits from the University of Northern Philippines-Research and Extension Office through a fund transfer from the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office I which amounted to Php229,500.00 (including training cost).

The Siglat Mangngalap Dada Norte SLPA members who can’t afford to buy a boat used to fish by riding on a ‘rakit’, a flat buoyant structure of bamboos fastened together, which hinders them to go to the deeper part of the sea to catch a more bountiful harvest. With the provision of fish cages constructed just about 50 meters from the shore, it is expected that these fisher folks will be able to generate higher income from the cultured fishes. On the other hand, the barangay folks let the Dur-as Dada Sur SLPA build their fish cages in the barangay-owned fish tank for free.

Rolly Respicio, SLPA President, said that they are optimistic of the success of their project because of the efficiency of the training they had and the continuous monitoring of the DSWD Field Staff in the area who provides technical assistance in coordination with partner stakeholders. Right after their first harvest which is expected in two months, they plan to open an SLPA savings account as part of their financial management. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)

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EGGtrepreneurship: Working towards sustainable livelihood

Eggs are fast-moving commodities sold in stores everyday. Because of its high demand, the Dan-ar Poultry Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) in Brgy. Dan-ar, Santiago, Ilocos Sur agreed to put up a small egg laying poultry facility in their barangay with the help of the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office I (DSWD FO I).

The Association composed of 23 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries underwent a Skills Training on Chicken Egg Layering on 28-29 December 2016 and received starter kits which include 300 egg-laying chickens, 150 cavans of feeds, and galvanized roof sheets for the poultry’s housing. Each of the members, on the other hand, contributed bamboo splits for the construction of the chicken cages.

Everyday, the poultry can produce 4-10 trays which are sold at Php140.00 to Php170.00 per tray depending on the size of the eggs. Miki (a local noodle in Ilocos) makers, school canteen manager, and store owners in the barangay serve as their daily buyers. Forty (40) percent of the Association’s profit ranging from Php5,000.00 to Php15,000.00 monthly is divided equally among the members while 60% of it goes to their savings. Some of their savings were used in the insta

Breaking poverty. The Dan-ar Poultry SLPA members show their harvest of fresh eggs.

llation of electricity in the poultry, acquisition of additional 100 egg laying chickens, and construction of a small kubo that serves as the station of the member in-charge in the poultry. The Association pays Php1,000.00 for the land rental annually.

Makatulong daytoy ta ti bingay ti tumunggal maysa ket nayon a balon dagiti annakmi nga agbasbasa (Our business helps our family because the share of each member usually goes to our children’s school allowance),” said Jocelyn Manzano, the SLPA President. Male members are carpenters and farmers while female members are housewives.

Each of the members is scheduled to be at the poultry 24 hours a day. “Mayat ti tinnunosmi nga agkakadwa iso a makitkitami a bareng dumakkel pay daytoy (We have good working relationship among ourselves that is why we foresee the expansion of our poultry),” said Jocelyn. The Association plans to purchase an electric pump that would ease the water system in their poultry. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)

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Now or never

“Mahalaga ang pag-aksyon ngayon kaysa sa magsisi kung kailan huli na ang lahat. Hindi ang iba kundi ang sarili natin mismo ang tutupad sa ating mga pangarap (It is important to act now than to regret when things are over. Not anyone will realize our dreams but ourselves alone)”, Certified Public Accountant Kenneth Gudoy confidently shared.

It was midnight of 2 November 2017 when Kenneth officially joined the world of Accounting upon surprisingly seeing his name on the list of successful board takers from the Mariano Marcos State University, Batac City, Ilocos Norte.

Embarking a new journey

This was the start of his quest for a better life for his family that he prayed and longed for. “Ang pagtatapos ko sa pag-aaral ay ang unang hakbang sa aking pagbibigay pasalamat sa ating pamahalaan sa mga tulong na naibigay sa aming pamilya (Graduating is my first step to extend my gratitude to the government for the assistance given to our family),” Kenneth said.

He was once one of the grantees of the Expanded Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) through the joint endeavor of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in providing educational grants to poor but performing college students under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Reaching the desired destination  

Kenneth revealed, “Determinasyon ang lagi kong sandata para ipaglaban ang mga pangarap ko dahil buhay ng aking pamilya ang nakasalalay (Determination is my weapon in fighting for my dreams because my family’s fate is at hand).” That is why he basked in the glory of being a Cum Laude. On being a grantee he said, “Nagbago ang pananaw ko sa kahalagahan ng edukasyon mula noong tinanggap ko ang responsibilidad bilang isang iskolar ng bayan (My insight to education changed when I accepted the responsibility of being a government scholar).

He believes that education is the most valuable treasure he can inherit from his parents. His father died due to chronic disease while his mother Remedios raised him and his four siblings. Education for him is a key to open many doors of opportunity. He chose to enter the door of opportunity that opened before him as a Tax Associate in a private company four months ago.

Living the dream   

Kenneth is challenged by the saying that goes, “Hindi kasalanan ang ipinananganak kang mahirap pero kasalanan mo kung mamamaytay kang mahirap (Born poor is not a sin, but to die poor is).” While in his productive years, he wants to live a fulfilled life together with his family.

Looking back at the hardships of his single mother, Kenneth made a promise to himself. He will be the best Accountant that he can be. He wants to build a new house for his family.

Since still new in the service, he foresees realizing his plans for his family. Now is the right time to move. “Alam ko na sa pagiging matiyaga, masipag, at lakipan mo pa ng tulong mula sa Panginoong Diyos, pasasaan at maisasakatuparan ko rin ito (I know that by being patient, hardworking, coupled with the aid of the Almighty, these will all come to reality).” (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Information Officer II/Pantawid Pamilya and Arlem Kenneth R. Areola, IPDO for NGAs)

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“Paksiw” Garden grows in Ilocos Sur

Not your typical communal garden, the Paksiw Garden of the Bago Tribe in Brgy. Mabileg, Sigay, Ilocos Sur not only grows pinakbet vegetables, root crops, and fruits but also tilapia grown in a “lapat” – an iluko term for man-made fishpond, situated within the area which adds to its extraordinary features, yielding organic produce. The scenery is best enjoyed while relaxing in their nipa hut overlooking the whole garden.

The Paksiw Garden measures 48×22 square meters and is managed by 40 Pantawid Pamilya and Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) beneficiaries. Paksiw is an Ilocano dish with fish and vegetables cooked in a blend of vinegar and some spices like garlic, onion, and ginger.

Improvised pots made of used maong pants and shoes in front of the garden welcome the visitors in style.

Parent Leader Leonila Solimen is proud of their garden’s creativity and sustainability as it is refreshing and at the same time a bountiful source of nutritious food for their families.


Distant but abundant

The Municipality of Sigay sits as one of the interior municipalities in the Province of Ilocos Sur. The residents have to travel an hour or more through rough roads and river passages to buy their daily commodities in the nearest City which is Candon. The municipality is predominantly agriculture-based and people are engaged in agro-forestry to improve their lives.

With a readily available source of nutritious food, the number of malnourished children in the locality is gradually decreasing from 26 to 22 for children aged 0-5, according to the results of the latest Social Welfare and Development Indicator (SWDI) Tool in terms of nutrition from June 2017 up to the present. The garden also supplies food to non-beneficiaries.


Gulayan as one  

The Local Government Unit commended the significant contribution of the Paksiw Garden through a Sangguniang Bayan Resolution. The LGU together with Civil Society Organizations assisted in the vermicomposting and organic farming methods while National Government Agencies provided free tilapia fingerlings and additional seedlings.

The Paksiw Garden was hailed as the Champion in the Search for Best Barangay Intensive Gardening during the Kannawidan Festival in Ilocos Sur. DSWD FO1 also named the Paksiw Garden as the Regional Winner in the first Search for Model Bio-Intensive Garden (BIG) last year.

A joint association of the MCCT and Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries was established to maintain good working relationship with the Barangay Officials in maintaining their Paksiw Garden with the assistance of Pantawid Pamilya staff. The association is bound by an agreement formulated by the beneficiaries and the Barangay Officials.

Gulayan or BIG is among the thrusts and priorities of the DSWD through National Advisory Committee Resolution No. 38, series of 2016 to address hunger and malnutrition among Pantawid Pamilya children-beneficiaries. (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Information Officer II/Pantawid Pamilya with reports from Renniel Racquepo, FDS Focal)

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600 SLP program participants graduate on various skills trainings

The program participants during the mass graduation on 28 February 2018 in Binmaley, Pangasinan.

A total of 600 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries from Pangasinan who were identified as program participants of the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office I (DSWD FO I) successfully finished various skills trainings offered by DSWD in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-Pangasinan Technological Institure (TESDA-PTI). The said microenterprise development project of Php8,550,625.00 is a fund transfer of the DSWD FO I to TESDA-PTI. The latter’s counterpart include the provision of training supplies, venue, insurance of the program participants during the trainings and the trainer’s honorarium which cost Php142,800.00.

Program participants from the cities of Dagupan and San Carlos, and towns of Binmaley, Bugallon, Calasiao, Lingayen and Sta. Barbara underwent a 34-day Skills Training on Food Processing NC II (500 participants), 30-day Skills Training on Shielded Metal Arc Welding NC II (50 participants) and 15-day Skills Training on Bread and Pastry Production (50 participants).

The project’s objectives are to equip the participants with the new knowledge and skills necessary for enterprise establishment/enhancement, operations, and management; and to certify participants as qualified National Certificate (NC) II holders. The program participants will be referred to partner agencies for possible employment and microenterprise opportunities. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)

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DSWD FO1 advocates hashtag #SaADOPTIONMayFOREVER

No to falsification of birth certificates (also known as simulation of birth) and yes to the legal process of adoption for children declared legally available for adoption was the central message of this year’s Adoption Consciousness Celebration (ACC).

As Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo emphasized, the thorough assessment done by the Social Workers ensures the best welfare and interest of these children to surface along with other reasons for adoption.

As defined, adoption is a  socio-legal process of giving a permanent family to a child whose parents have voluntarily or involuntarily given up their parental rights.

Through various activities like Photo Liking, Song Cover, and Essay Contests, this year’s ACC intensified advocacy activities to encourage individuals or couples to foster or adopt children who are abandoned, neglected, or to elevate legitimacy.

At the DSWD Field Office 1, a commitment tarp with 61 personalized messages/commitments written in small fuschia notes was generated and displayed. Also, the Adoption Help Desk installed at CSI Mall, City of San Fernando, La Union and  SM City Rosales, Rosales, Pangasinan on 17-18 February engaged the public on the featured messages advocating for legal adoption. Uploaded at DSWD’s FB page, DSWD Ilocandia, are  photo/Instagram frames photos of participating individuals. Also, personalized mugs, calling cards, pamphlets, candies/lollipops, and balloons were distributed to catch the attention of the public to inquire about DSWD’s Alternative Family Care Program (adoption and foster).

 The Essay Contest First Prize winner, Project Development Officer III Darwin T. Chan said, amidst the challenges of many orphaned children and those who are residing in centers, adoption or foster care is one act that requires unconditional compassion to care for one among these children. Chan said he dreams of a society where “no child should be left without a mother or a father, no child should be burdened raising her/his own self, and no child should be bullied  by classmates because no parent is around.”

The second and third prize winners are Regional Training Specialist Crystal Joy P. Aspiras and Social Marketing Officer  Janine Joy B. Altero. Cash prizes were awarded.

Engaging more the public who are fond of Facebook, the Photo Liking was also launched bearing the hashtag #saADOPTIONmayFOREVER, photos with strong messages of support to adoption or foster care were posted.  Among the 22 entries, the most liked photo (with 1,367) was posted by Listahanan Information Technology Officer Aristedeo Tinol. The second and third prize winners are  Novalyn Baradi (1,340 likes)   and Jan Jan Manzano (1,238 likes), respectively.  Winners received cash prizes amounting to Php3,000.00, Php2,000.00, and Php1,000.00, respectively.

Moreover, the staff and clients of Ilocos Norte Provincial Operations Office (POO) led by Cynthia Ablog were oriented on Adoption and Foster Care and other DSWD programs and services. (By: Iryn D. Cubangbang, IO II with report from Hiyasmin Joy N. Rabelas)

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Centenarian siblings reveal secrets of a long life

DSWD Field Office 1 Social Pension Program Project Development Officer 1 Baby Jane M. Donado during her 2nd visit to Lola Centenarian who lives in the farthest sitio of San Emilio, Ilocos Sur.

How long can you possibly live if you are a perennial cigarette smoker?

A popular reminder that “Smoking kills” aims to discourage everyone to start smoking and to encourage cigarette smokers to quit smoking.

Ironically, the said saying on smoking is not true in the case of two (2) centenarians from the Municipality of San Emilio, Ilocos Sur who are the eldest in a brood of eight (8). Lola Centenarian (101 years old) and Lolo Centenarian (103 years old) have an odd secret to long life: smoking “dinubla” (native cigarettes) since their younger years.

Aside from constantly smoking “dinubla”, the children of the centenarian siblings believe that the other secret to the long lives of their parents is their food preference. They are used to eating more fruits and vegetables fresh from their farm and they seldom eat meat.

Lolo Centenarian is a former rice and corn farmer who recently met an accident and broke his bone.

The centenarian siblings who simply live in the countryside where farming is the typical livelihood were given Php100,000.00 cash incentive from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) last 7 July 2017 as stipulated on the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016.

In an interview, the son of Lolo Centenarian said that he spent some of the money of his father in buying the latter’s personal needs like underwear, shorts, milk, and foam mattress while the daughter of Lola Centenarian bought and cooked the latter’s favorite dishes “inanger a karne” (Pork Nilaga in Filipino), fish, and chicken meals.

The children of the two centenarians looking after them added that the remaining amount from the Php100,000.00 are kept in a savings account, intended purposely for the decent interment of their beloved parents.

Apart from receiving centenarian gifts, the centenarian siblings, who are already having a hard time hearing, have also been receiving a quarterly stipend amounting to Php1,500.00 from DSWD Field Office 1 Social Pension (SocPen) Program since 2011. The allowance of the social pensioners from the SocPen Program is an additional government assistance to augment the daily basic needs of indigent Senior Citizens. (by: Jaymante Pearl B. Apilado, Administrative Assistant III, NHTS-PR/Listahanan)

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Fading Colors Turn into Rainbow (story of an adopted daughter who has special needs)

Loving beyond differences and not being able to return the favor because of incapacities led to stronger bond between Estrella and her adopted child Angela.

Their story stood the tests of time and love despite the many reasons to give up, which Estrella mentioned when she narrated stories of sadness and triumphs between her and Angela.

Frail, sickly, and with special needs – these were the immediate attributes Estrella observed from Angela when she first laid eyes on her. These did not hinder her though to love unconditionally, which was tested through the years.

Angela has been suffering from cerebral palsy since birth. Through medicine, love, and patience, she was able to walk after turning five years old.

Napakahirap niyang palakihin, marami akong dinanas, puspusan ko siyang pinatherapy para makalakad. (It was tough taking care of her during her younger years especially when she has to undergo regular therapy sessions to be able to walk).”

Estrella never gave up. It did not matter to her even if almost all of her leave credits were exhausted to attend to the needs of Angela. They visited all children’s hospitals in Manila for Angela’s medication at least twice a month.  Even if she almost got fired because of her absences, she fought for her work, for Angela.

Marami akong hirap pero ‘di ako nag-give up (I had lots of struggles but I never gave up),” said Estrella.

Then at the age of five, Angela’s ‘yaya’ carried her to the Day Care Center for her early socialization skills to be developed. It was then that she began to walk.

Despite the very long time of waiting for her daughter to grow and develop, Estrella did not stop. “Pinagsikapan ko, hindi ko siya tinantanan (I worked hard for her, I did not stop),” Estrella recalled.

Exercise, therapy sessions, provision of special care. Their lives revolved on these.

Until now at the age of 27, Estrella is still hurting seeing her daughter hard up in walking.

Holding on, hoping for love to win

For others who have seen the struggle of Estrella, so much attention, compassion and resources have been given to Angela, surpassing their expectations. Because of this, many were jealous especially some relatives of Estrella, but they stuck together and Estrella even proved more of her love for Angela.

Angela described their relationship as mother and daughter by saying “Minsan matamlay, minsan makulay (Sometimes sad, at times happy).”

In 2013, Angela insisted her mother to null her adoption just so she could continue her relationship with a lesbian. Because of the misunderstanding between her and Estrella, she chose to stay away from the refuge of her mother for 2 years.

Estrella waited for her daughter to come back. As experienced by Estrella, “motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing”. Even if Angela rebelled, she still hoped for the best for them.

During these hard times, she asked help from DSWD Social Workers and even sought the assistance of Director Marcelo Nicomedes Castillo and Social Welfare Officer IV Clarivel Banzuela to intervene and mend their relationship. In February 2015, she promised to end her relationship with her lover and to live again under Estrella’s custody. Unending thanks were expressed to Dir. Castillo and Ms. Banzuela for being present during the depressing  moment of their lives.

Estrella always wished the best for Angela; for her to become self-reliant and to live independently. “I am sad to see her depressed, I continue to send her to school to level her up for a better tomorrow,” Estrella said.

Angela finished her Associate in Computer Science in 2011 at Lyceum Northern Luzon in Urdaneta City. In 2016, she enrolled under Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Program of the University of Eastern Pangasinan. She hopes to finish this course despite all the challenges she has braved since she started schooling.

On 22 December 2015, they visited Estrella’s relatives in London. This was a turning point for Angela to see the brighter side of life, that there are people who accept her incapacities and see a brighter future for her.

Amazed with facilities and environment in the United Kingdom, she dreams of working in an office there in the next 5 to 10 years.

Her heart was overwhelmed with joy upon seeing this beautiful country with visible help to persons with disabilities like her.

Being with her adoptive parent, she also wants Estrella to be happy by achieving her ambition for her to finish the course and eventually obtain a successful work abroad.

According to Angela, she will always be guided by the lessons taught by her mom – to give respect to people, to love people even those who do not accept you, and to not curse.

Despite the odds, Estrella shared that being a mother to her adopted child is a blessing because she experienced motherhood – accepting her child as she is and always thinking of her bright future despite inadequacies. (By: Iryn D. Cubangbang, IO II)

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