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Anda fights climate change

Anda, Pangasinan is the only island municipality in the Province of Pangasinan comprising of 18 barangays with 8,855 households. Due to its location, the municipality is vulnerable to climate change impacts such as typhoon and drought that affect the inhabitants particularly the livelihoods of fisher folks in the coastal barangays. In 2018, to fight the emerging effects of the complex shifts of the climate systems, the Local Government of Anda specifically the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) made concrete strides by working with DSWD Field Office 1 (FO 1) through the implementation of various climate change adaptation and mitigation activities through the Cash-For-Work (CFW) project amounting PhP5,250,000.00 .

Dismantling Fish Pens

In May 2018, more than 1,000 families in Barangays Siapar, Awag, Carot, Dolaoan, San Jose, Mal-ong, and Poblacion were affected by fish kill along Caquipotan Channel where fish pens and fish cages have proliferated the area. On 31 May 2018, the Local Government declared a temporary suspension of fish stocking within the aquaculture zone of the municipality, thus leaving the fisher folks to lose their regular sources of income. Recognizing the adverse effects of the moratorium, LGU Anda, with people’s consultation, conducted a 10-day CFW to provide temporary employment to families whose daily needs mainly depend on their wages as direct workers from fish pens and cages by dismantling illegal fish pens.  “We need to remove the fish pens because the excess fish meals/pellets go to the bottom of the ocean, thereby obstructing free water flow and polluting the water systems leading to fish kill,” said Dolaoan Brgy. Captain Baltazar Pajarillo. The Brgy. Captain further disclosed that the DSWD’s CFW was a big help in funding their project because the local government has no fund in providing wages to the people who dismantled the fish pens. In addition, materials from the removed pens were distributed to the residents who need bamboos to restructure their huts while some were maximized as firewood. After the dismantling, small fishermen have regained access to their traditional fishing grounds.

Materials from the dismantled fish pens were piled for distribution to individuals needing bamboos.

Beautifying Schools

All 21 elementary schools in the municipality are recipients of DSWD’s CFW to improve schools’ gardens and surroundings. The undertaking did not only provide a safe and attractive learning environment for pupils, but it also allowed the parents to share their creative gardening skills while earning. “Kami ay nakatutulong sa paaralan ng aming anak at naipakikita rin namin sa komunidad na masaya ang pagtutulungan (We are able to help our children’s school and show to the community that cooperation is fun),” shared Junelie Carolino, Parent-Teacher Association President at Namagbagan Elementary School. Junelie, a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary, who sends her two children to the said school encouraged all parents to start instilling the value of environmental protection at home .

School officials, local government officials, and pupils pose in the school garden of Namagbagan Elementary School.

“Maganda ang Cash-For-Work kasi hindi lang nilalabanan ang climate change pero naibabahagi rin ng mga magulang ang kanilang kaalaman sa organic gardening. Ang mga magulang din ay namumulot ng mga basurang pwede pang i-recycle at maganda itong halimbawa sa mga bata at komunidad. Tayo ay magtulungan para mahilom ang ating mundo (Cash-For-Work is good because it does not only fight climate change but it also allows the parents to share their knowledge in organic gardening. Also, the parents collect wastes that can be recycled and this is a good example to the children and community. We need to work together to heal our world),” School Principal Elvira Aqui narrated. Namagbagan Elementary School was the 2017 and 2018 municipal winner in the Gulayan Sa Paaralan (Vegetable Garden in School) with attractive-landscape grounds using cost-effective materials with proper waste management.

Rehabilitating the Coast

Mangroves are vitally important in stabilizing the coastline and serve as valuable nurseries for various types of sea creatures necessary for human consumption. However, with the laxities of communities, these mangroves are gradually depleted. To address such issues that would contribute dramatic consequences for humans and nature, Anda has seen the urgent need to stop the current loss of mangrove and therefore implemented the mangrove planting and rehabilitation through the CFW project to ensure conservation. Today, mangrove forests in the municipality are recovering and even extending to provide wider sources of food security and livelihoods to locals and boost local tourism. Imbo Barangay Captain Francegil Matteo pledged to counterbalance the mangrove decrease and will always safeguard this resilient and biodiverse ecosystem by sustaining cleanliness and supporting all government programs and policies relative to fighting climate change.

Anda MSWDO Jowey Celzo shows the mangroves that were planted during their CFW implementation in Brgy. Carot.

Anda’s environmental movement is an eye-opener to accelerate our ways and initiatives to eradicate the impacts of climate change. We need to strengthen our personal and collective efforts to contribute to the existing global initiatives to fight climate change. No one wins once the Earth retaliates. Let us rebuild Mother Earth. Let us harmonize what Anda has done. Let us support environmental agreements and commitments. Let us start within ourselves. Let us fight climate change. # By: Darwin T. Chan, Social Marketing Unit with reports from MSWDO Anda.

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Disabled physically but not in spirit

“Gusto ko talagang makapagtapos dahil ito ang aking pangarap (I really want to finish my education because this is my dream),” said Cassey, not her real name.

She sees herself to becoming a business owner someday after owning a degree in business administration.

Though having the urge to pursue her education, Cassey was disheartened because of the rude words and unbearable treatment by her classmates due to her misaligned lower extremities. This made her decide not to attend school anymore and just stay in their house to help her mother in the household chores.

Cassey is one of the 29,300 Pantawid Pamilya children who are not attending school in Region 1. Bullying, as experienced by Cassey in her school, is one of the major reasons that surfaced in the Beneficiary Tracking Report.

Based on the Program’s guidelines, consecutive non-compliance of even one of the three monitored children in any of the conditions will lead to the delisting of the whole household. This is why Bata Balik Eskwela is being enforced to help Cassey and other Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries identified as not attending school to comply with the Program conditions particularly on education.

Cassey committed to enroll for the next school year. Her mother supports her plan to transfer to another school in the nearby municipality. Also, to ensure that Cassey will never be bullied because of her disability, they will seek medical attention and treatment.

Cassey is determined to pursue her education because she acknowledges the fact that soon she will be the breadwinner of her family, especially now that their eldest is married and their youngest is working and no longer interested to go back to school.

“Nasaktan man ako noon, mas lalaban na ako ngayon (Although I was hurt before, now, I will strive more),” Cassey uttered. (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Information Officer II/Pantawid Pamilya)

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NAS children go back to school through Bata Balik Eskwela

In Region 1, a total of 29,300 Pantawid Pamilya children are not attending school (NAS): 18,432 from Pangasinan; 4,518 from La Union; 3,420 from Ilocos Sur; and 2,930 from Ilocos Norte.

Based on the Beneficiary Tracking Report, parents’ decision and loss of interest topped the major reasons of children not attending school. Other reasons are working, early marriage, early pregnancy/fatherhood, financial problems, sickly, disability, sibling care, bullied, and emotionally unprepared.

Despite exhaustive efforts of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program through case management, there are still NAS cases that remain to be non-compliant to education conditions due to difficult circumstances.

With the conduct of the Bata Balik Eskwela (BBE), these Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries identified as NAS will be given assistance to comply with the program conditions on education.

The BBE Task Force of the Regional Program Management Office randomly visited the municipalities in the region with the highest number of NAS cases to have an intensive talk with the children and their parents to dig out the root causes that led them to be non-compliant and convince the children to go back to school.

Simultaneous activities with the parents and children were also conducted in schools where NAS children recently enrolled. Partner agencies such as Commission on Higher Education, National Nutrition Council, PhilHealth, and Department of Labor and Employment attended to extend their programs and services catering to the needs of the NAS children for them to be compliant with the program conditions.

According to Pantawid Pamilya Regional Program Coordinator Rosalyn L. Descallar, monitoring the school attendance of the children is a shared responsibility of the Program and the parents. This is to ensure that they will finish their education and have better opportunities in the future.

Many children committed to go back to formal school or enroll to Alternative Learning System Program of the Department of Education. Some parents were also relieved upon hearing the commitment of their children to continue their education. (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Information Officer II/Pantawid Pamilya)

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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 Field Office 1 – AVRC I bags awards in the 7th PHILSPADA

Approximately 1,500 persons with disabilities (PWDs) participated in the 7th Philippine Sports Association for the Differently Abled(PHILSPADA) held at the Malolos Sport Complex in Malolos Bulacan in May 2019. DSWD Field Office 1 – AVRC I clients John Michael Saure and Noel Taylan, both with orthopedic disabilities, bagged three gold medals on shot put, javelin throw and discus throw, and  two medals, a gold medal for shot put and bronze medal for powerlifting, respectively.

The activity was participated in by different centers and organizations catering PWDs nationwide led by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in partnership with the Department of Education and the Department of Health.

The event is aligned with Republic Act No. 7277, wherein stated that there should be an equal opportunity for PWDs in the field of sports. AVRC I strongly advocates the rights and privileges of PWDs, hence, its annual participation to PHILSPADA.

Meanwhile, AVRC I delegates expressed their deepest gratitude for allowing them to join the said activity. They said, “Nagpapasalamat po kami sa suportang ibinigay ng AVRC I sa amin na kahit limitado ang oras para sa practice ay ginabayan pa rin kami at sinuportahan.(We are very thankful for the support that AVRC 1 has given to us. Despite the limited time for practice, they still guided and supported us.)”

PHILSPADA is an opportunity for all the PWDs to showcase their talents and skills through sports and a way to develop camaraderie among others. The ten-day event also served as an extraordinary occasion for the PWDs to socialize, widen their networks, and boost their self-esteem.

AVRC I is an institution of DSWD Field Office 1 that develop and implement comprehensive social and vocational rehabilitation for the empowerment of PWDs. #By: Nicole Kasandra A. Lipawen, Social Marketing Unit with reports from AVRC I

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Women of Bolinao weaves good income through buri bag making

Bonding through weaving. Members of the Buri Crafters Association of Bolinao meet and weave together at least once every two months to catch up on each other.

The Buri Crafters Association of Bolinao, an all-women group organized by a common goal, religiously weaves buri bags every day to help their husbands augment their families’ daily needs.

Masaya ang aming mga asawa dahil kahit papaano ay nakakatulong kami sa mga gastusin sa bahay. Dati ay umaasa lang kami sa kita nila (Our husbands are happy that we supplement their income. We only depend on their income before),” said Ermelita R. Caasi, the Association President. 

The 50 members used to do the business individually prior to the intervention of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 through its Self-Employment Assistance Kaunlaran (SEA-K) scheme in 2015. The Association was able to avail PhP70,000.00 from the BUB GAA 2014 fund of the DSWD FO 1.

Although most of their materials are bought in the market, their barangay is blessed to have Buri plants growing wild in their backyards. Responsible livelihood it is, the members only collect and process the Buri leaves into buri strips once they reach their maturity (when the tree is at least 8 meters high).

The bags are meticulously hand-woven by these housewives to ensure uniqueness and durability. With an established market, these are sold in retail at the local market, and in bulk at Divisoria in Manila. Not only that they are earning, the Association members contribute to the preservation of traditional weaving practice in the Ilocos Region.

Each member can earn a net income of PhP200.00 to PhP1,000.00 weekly depending on the number of bags produced. “Hindi ko kailangang mamili sa pagiging housewife o paghahabi kasi kaya ko namang pagsabayin (I don’t need to choose between being a housewife and a sewer. It is convenient that I can do both at the same time),” said Margie G. Casta, the Association Secretary. “Minsan naghahabi ako habang hinihintay kong maluto yung kanin (Sometimes, I weave while I wait for the rice to be cooked),” she shared.

As an association, each member is required to save PhP50.00 monthly to the group. Some of the accumulated savings were later utilized as an emergency fund where a member can loan a maximum of PhP3,000.00 per cycle with five percent monthly interest.

Just as a single Buri strip beautifully weaved into bags, the members – in grateful appreciation to the DSWD’s intervention – realized that working together as an association sharing ideas and knowledge is way more effective than working alone. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)

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Community volunteers and municipal officials switch roles during the Pamumunong Makamasa in Sugpon, Ilocos Sur

Role-playing as Mayor, Community Volunteer Nida Sucapen listens carefully to the report from LDRRMO Raymond Latong

Community volunteers and municipal officials in Sugpon, Ilocos Sur switched roles during the Pamumunong Makamasa: Community Volunteers – LGU Exchange Activity that was spearheaded by the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services – National Community-Driven Development Program (Kalahi CIDSS – NCDDP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1).

The event is in line with the celebration of the 4th year anniversary of NCDDP, which was first introduced in Leyte in 2014. It also highlights the importance of the community-driven approach and the role of community volunteers in local planning and development.

During the one-day event that was covered by media, Nida T. Sucapen, a housewife, played the role of Sugpon Mayor Fernando C. Quiton, Sr. where she listened to performance reports from several local department heads such as the Municipal Planning and Development Officer, Chief of the Local Police, and the Local Disaster Response and Reduction Management Officer.

Sucapen was also briefed by Mayor Quiton who was at her side during the whole duration of the event on the daily functions of a Local Chief Executive.

Role-playing as Vice Mayor Daniel C. Laño, Jr. was Aurelio Dayag, Sr., a farmer, who presided a mock legislative session with Josie Apolog, Sisa Day-a, Noemi Latong, Perlita Sisante, Helen Cudao, Donna Dayag, Rolly James Aguinaldo, and Jean Lee Abellera who acted as regular Sangguniang Bayan (SB) members.

Marivic Sunggay and Marlito Baguioen played ex-officio SB members as the Federated President of the Liga ng mga Barangay and Federated Sangguniang Kabataan President, respectively, while Ola Joy Binaclang played the role of the Secretary to the Sangguniang Bayan.

During the mock legislative session, the municipal officials and employees sat beside the community volunteers to assist and coach them on how to conduct a legislative deliberation.

Afterward, Mayor Quiton played as foreman while Vice Mayor Laño and all SB members acted as laborers at the ongoing stone masonry sub-project of Kalahi-CIDSS in Poblacion.

A focus group discussion and an open forum were held toward the end of the event where everyone shared learnings and insights of the role-switching.

The exchange activity ended with everyone signing a manifesto of support for the institutionalization of the community-driven development (CDD) approach.

CDD seeks to empower poor communities to identify and implement projects based on the principles of participatory, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability. (by Ruperto A. Sabalo, Jr., Social Marketing Officer, Kalahi-CIDSS)

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World Population Day 2019 marks the 25 year-milestone in reproductive health and rights

The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) enjoins other National Government Agencies, institutions, the academe, and other developmental partners in the celebration of the World Population Day (WPD) 2019. It will be celebrated on July 11 with the global theme of “25 years of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

WPD, which seeks to focus the attention on the urgency and importance  of population issues, was established by the then Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of the Five Billion, which was observed on July 11, 1987.

This year’s World Population Day calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), a 1994 meeting in Cairo, where 179 countries recognized that reproductive health and gender equality are essential for achieving sustainable development. The countries agreed that population policies must empower couples and individuals — especially women — to decide the size of their families and enable them to decide by giving them the necessary information and services to carry out their decisions.

A revolutionary Programme of Action (POA) which called for women’s reproductive health and rights to take center stage in national and global development efforts was then adopted. It called for all people to have access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning, safe pregnancy and childbirth services, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It also recognized that reproductive health and women’s empowerment are intertwined, and that both are necessary for the advancement of society.

“The full and equal participation of women in civil, cultural, economic, political, and social life, at the national, regional and international levels, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex, are priority objectives of the international community,” the POA affirmed.

The ICPD POA firmly established that the rights and dignity of individuals, rather than achieving the desired population, were the best way for individuals to realize their own fertility goals. Furthermore, the governments also acknowledged that these rights are essential for  global development.

Today, ICPD often refers to the “global consensus that reproductive health and rights are human rights, that these are a precondition for women’s empowerment, and that women’s equality is a precondition for securing the well-being and prosperity of all people.”

Since the adoption of the ICPD POA in 1994, our country has persistently worked to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as gender equality and women empowerment. There was also a dramatic shift on the discourse on population and development from reducing population growth rates to focusing on the rights and health and well-being of individuals.

The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law incorporated the ICPD’s definition of reproductive health. It is with this notion that empowering a woman is key to achieving reproductive health.

Since its passage in 2012, the RPRH Law has improved the availability and access to health and social services, especially to the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) in the country. And yet many are still not able to enjoy fully the benefits of these development programs.

Thus, it is imperative for everyone — leaders, policy makers, institutions, non-government organizations, and others — to work together hand in hand to implement the ICPD POA and make reproductive health and rights a reality for all Filipinos.

As part of the celebration, POPCOM-I will be conducting the “Kapihan sa Ilocos,” a press conference to be held on July 10, 2019 in San Fernando City, La Union. The presscon shall focus on ICPD and the progress that has been made 25 years later since its founding. (By: POPCOM)

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