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SGPPA graduate now a Licensed Teacher

Picture1“Another chapter of my life begins, thanks to SGPPA,” Gay Myrell Abrogena shares with her victorious smile. She said that she can foresee a better life ahead for her family especially that she is now a licensed teacher.

Myrell, 21, of Pinili, Ilocos Norte is one the country’s first batch of graduates who was provided with grant by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 1 through the Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGPPA). She took up Bachelor of Elementary Education at the Mariano Marcos State University-College of Teacher Education.

According to her, passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) is a dream come true. Upon taking the LET on 17 August 2014, she told herself, “I must prove that I really deserve to be a model SGGPA scholar and did not waste the grant that DSWD provided me.”

She was then filled with mixed emotions upon the release of LET result on 17 October 2014. Her name was included in the successful takers and that made her feel very proud because of this fulfilling achievement.

“It is payback time,” she claims.  She is now busy applying at the Department of Education to practice her profession. She sees herself as a responsible teacher in molding young minds and encouraging them to study hard despite poverty.

Despite being the youngest among the five siblings, she heartily accepts the responsibility to be their family’s bread winner. Her father, Edgar, 54, is a permanent municipal employee (driver) while her mother, Virgie, 53, is a plain housewife. Her four siblings who were able to finish high school and vocational courses are self-employed and earn minimum wage.

With this blessing through SGPPA, she made her own meaning of the acronym: S-Social, G-globally competitive, P-patience, P-perseverance, A-achievement. (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Information Officer II/Pantawid Pamilya)

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DSWD’s 1st Gawad Listahanan lauds Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte


PSWDO Corazon Lilian Celia received the award in lieu of the Provincial Governor of Ilocos Norte along with DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano Soliman and other DSWD Officials.

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) is the most active Listahanan data user (Provincial Category) in the entire Philippines and an awardee of the first ever Gawad Listahanan under the Pagkilala sa Natatanging Kontribusyon sa Bayan (PaNaTa Ko sa Bayan) Awards by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

PGIN will receive a plaque citing the highlights of the contribution and/or significance of its partnership with the DSWD and a cash incentive of P50,000.00 along with project proposal to promote Listahanan or National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) Project in targeting poor families for various social protection programs and projects.

DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman will personally hand in the award to PGIN during the DSWD’s 64th Anniversary on 28 January 2015 in Quezon City.

According to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer (PSWDO) Corazon Lilian Rin, Provincial Governor Imee Marcos personally discussed with Sec. Soliman and showed her interest in utilizing the Listahanan’s Database of Poor Families through entering into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with DSWD.

Now, all poor families in Ilocos Norte are the priority recipients of the PGIN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Projects on agriculture, education, veterinary, health, fisheries, and other social services in cooperation with concerned departments.

PSWDO Rin also highlighted the concerted effort and support of all the PGIN’s colleagues in the quality delivery of social services to disadvantaged and poor families of Ilocos Norte through the leadership of Gov. Marcos.

DSWD organized Gawad Listahanan to confer awards to Local Government Units providing services and assistance to the Listahanan-identified poor families. This award also aims to promote the complementation and convergence of all social protection stakeholders on the identified poor to effectively address the different aspects of poverty. (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Administrative Assistant III, NHTS-PR/Listahanan)


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200 poor senior citizens in Urdaneta City receive Php 1 million

bub_urdaneta cityThe Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 1 gave Php 5,000.00 each to 200 poor senior citizens from the Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) as a one-time financial assistance to augment their basic needs.

These poor senior citizens ages 77 below were assessed and recommended by the City Government of Urdaneta because of their poor condition, disability, and lack of support from relatives since they were not included in the Social Pension Program.

They were even visited house to house by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) staff to properly evaluate the condition of these elderly.

DSWD attested that these senior citizens are also included in the list of poor families or LISTAHANAN database.

During the payout on 8 January 2015, grateful senior citizens said the assistance was the first of its kind given to them, BUB Focal Person Virginia P. Sesay narrated in an interview.

In BUB, the people in the community are involved in identifying projects according to prioritized felt needs by the residents. (by : Iryn D. Cubangbang, Information Officer II)

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From advocacy to vocation


Conrado with the Day Care pupils of Brgy. Lon-oy, San Gabriel, La Union during his Social Investigation (SI) in the area.

A registered nurse by profession, Conrado Y. Benitez, 28, single, of Bayambang, Pangasinan, is a Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP) Community Empowerment Facilitator (CEF) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Not minding the tasks and responsibilities as a CEF, Conrado accepted the career offered to him in the community as all he had in mind was to have a decent job that could compensate his needs and wants, considering himself fortunate to be employed when millions of others are not. Realizing later on, as he progresses in his new career advocacy as an empowerment facilitator, that driving people in the community to embrace the idea of empowerment is not an effortless task. Aside from dealing with people from different origins, culture, and attitude, he strived to manage his emotional distress of being away from his family, overcome challenges in adapting himself to an environment he is not accustomed to, and brave up the travels from one barangay to another to empower a community he has just started to acquaint himself with.

Assigned in Barangay Lon-oy of San Gabriel, La Union, an area almost an hour travel by jeepney, Conrado considered his first meet with the people there as awkward. He said he could not stop counting the weekdays and anticipate for Fridays to come soon.

The worst situation he recalled happened during his first week as a CEF was when he started to doubt on what the Program intends to bring to the people in the community – empowerment. He told himself that neither transformation nor empowerment was a workable goal.

Conquering one’s self for the love of community work

Getting the support from his family, together with his support group who are his co-Area Coordinating Team (ACT) members and after weeks of continuous barangay activities, Conrado accepted that transforming people was not about convenience and expectations. It was not all about getting paid for service rendered as well, or whether one had a good working condition or not. Being DSWD’s KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP CEF was about dedication, commitment, and selfless concerns. “When I decided to become a DSWD employee I never thought I could embrace everything, but I did,” Conrado expressed.

Now, when Conrado goes to Barangay Lon-oy and his other areas of assignment in San Gabriel, La Union, he sets off without regret and is equipped with his passion. He now sees himself not just as an ordinary worker but a new advocate of DSWD with a vocation to facilitate transformation in the communities for development through empowerment. (by: JOMARA S. CHAN, KC-NCDDP SMO/CONRADO Y. BENITEZ, KC-NCDDP CEF)

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DSWD Field Office-1 lauds 2 cities, 2 towns as Convergence Champions

DSWD intensifies partnership with Local Government Units (LGUs) on strategized and effective program implementation to improve the lives of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries so that even after the Program, self sufficiency is sustained.

The four Provincial Action Teams recommended Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, Rosario in La Union, and Laoac in Pangasinan for displaying exemplary performance on the following areas: Transition Plan implementation, Policy Formulation prioritizing Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, full convergence with DSWD and partner agencies, documented good practice on convergence, and family/community showcasing convergence strategy.

A regional team headed by Convergence Regional Program Coordinator Virginia P. Sesay conducted a field validation on December 15, 16, and 22, 2014.
Laoag City prioritizes Pantawid Pamilya benes

The Agserbi 24/7 Walang Iwanan prioritizes social services to Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries immediately addressing the felt needs of families in the communities. Services include Supplemental Feeding, Milk Vigorous Feeding, Pap Smear, medical and dental services, distribution of Day Care kits, provision of safe water supply, free hair cut/manicure/pedicure, among others.

Three representatives from the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries attend meetings of the City Advisory Committee to air concerns and to take part in decision-making.

Vigan City’s livelihood projects

Through the Pagsapulan: Raniag iti Masakbayan (Employment: Radiates a Future), 339 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries were able to augment their income through rolling stores, loading stations, hog and livestock dispersal, driving tricycle for public transportation, rice/frozen food vending, mini carinderia, sari-sari stores, among others.

Laoac, Pangasinan’s array of social services

With their battle cry, ‘Itag-ay Daguiti Nakurapay’ (Uplift the Poor), this small town is proud of its unified efforts towards helping Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries with the support of national agencies, people’s organizations, and private individuals. Thus, the provision of potable water supply, sanitary toilets, and livelihood projects, and the construction of farm to market roads, among others.

Rosario, La Union’s communal vegetable garden

Aside from policies catering to the needs of its poor constituents, Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries were also encouraged by the LGU to establish their own backyard vegetable gardens for family consumption and additional income.
These finalists will be awarded during the DSWD’s 64th Anniversary celebration in February 2015. (by: Iryn D. Cubangbang, Information Officer II )

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DSWD’s assisted street children learn baking techniques

HFC_01While temporarily placed in the center for rehabiliation the residents who used to roam the streets are taught of basic baking techniques through the Productivity Skills Development.

This is among the rehabilitative activities of the DSWD’s Haven for Children along with regular counseling, case conferences, spiritual and recreational activities, and regular and non-formal education.

After the demo of Manpower Development Officer Shirley Cabanig, the children’s return demo resulted to their delicious macaroons, cup cakes, tart and roll cake.

As confirmed by Ms. Cabanig, even at their young age and street exposures, these children’s curiuousity and observance led them to follow the procedures. Accuracy in measurement of dry and liquid ingridients, neatness and cleanliness were also observed among the children.

The year ended blissfully with the support of private groups and individuals visited and gave gifts to the children. These include: Ilaw ng Panginoon; La Salette, Dagupan City; Bangko Sentra, Dagupan City; Bonuan First Baptist; REM Citied: Medical/Dental Mission; Dominican Laity of Manaoga, Pangasinan; ABS-CBN, Dagupan City; He Loves You Foundation; Miracle of Jesus; Ms. Maricar Marquez, and Mr. Jojo Jose.

Unified efforts to the former street children

There maybe hard times dealing with the children but fulfillment is already felt seeing their smiles and reintegrating them back to their families, said Center Head Rosemarie Rosales. Enhanced strategies and rehabilitation plans are always considered in giving the quality services to these residents. (by: Iryn D. Cubangbang, Information Officer II)

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DSWD’s stipend sustains old couple

socpen_naguilianHappy 84- year- old Leonardo and Magdalena Tobias of Naguilian, La Union shared how relieved they felt with the stipend received quarterly.

“Napalalo ragsakmi ta nairaman kami a pensioners (We are so glad we have been included among the social pensioners),” the old couple affirmed. They consider the stipend from the DSWD’s Social Pension Program as the first help of the government that reached them.

The stipend helps the couple buy their basic needs. “In-inut a nagatang kasapulan mi kas iti sida, bagoong ken asin (We buy our basic need such as viands, fish sauce, and salt),” the couple narrated. According to them, these basic items complete their plain kitchen made of scrap woods.

Accordingly, the stipend is the only source they depend on for their basic needs. Living independently from their children, Leonardo and Magdalena keep themselves busy by tilling a small vegetable garden of taro, pechay, and legumes.

One thing they wish for is for the stipend to last until they die. “Nu mabalin makaawat kami kuma ket agingga tumangad kami iti baris –sanga ta haan kami a makatalonen (If possible, we receive stipend until we look up to old twigs (death) since we can no longer farm),” Leonardo said.

Not too old for a vegetable garden

Waking up early, the couple cultivates their garden of taro, pechay, lima beans, and bitter gourd. This is also the main source of the viands that they cook. Some of their produce is given to their children who are also living in the same compound.

Since they easily get tired, they need to do some physical activity to maintain their vigor said Leonardo. During harvest season, they also help dry rice grains in the neighborhood.

Education advocates

The couple makes up for their regret of not being able to send their 11 children to college by constantly reminding their grandchildren to finish their studies. Teary–eyed, Lola Magdalena expounds how education would help her grandchildren land good jobs and become successful.

To behold until last breath

As a loving couple, they want to model humility and understanding that bind them until their old age for their children. “Agpinpinnateg kami latta aginggana matay kami (We cherish each other until we die),” the old couple said. (by: Iryn D. Cubangbang, Information Officer II)

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DSWD resolves COA findings on Pantawid Pamilya, maintains auditors only seeking documentation

Responding to news articles citing the findings of the 2013 Annual Audit Report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman said that answers and clarifications to the audit observations have already been submitted to the state auditing firm.

Sec. Soliman emphasized that the auditors were merely seeking documentation of program implementation and did not indicate any suspicion of misuse or misappropriation of funds.

“We are confident that there is nothing to doubt about the Department’s integrity, especially with the funds that COA cites as unliquidated in their 2013 annual audit report. The funds went to the rightful beneficiaries,” Sec. Soliman added.

The news articles reported that out of the P10.626 billion funds transferred by the DSWD to the Land Bank of the Philippines for the payment of Pantawid Pamilya cash grants for 2013, only P10.295 billion was utilized or disbursed as of Dec. 31, 2013, leaving behind a balance of P330.347 million representing unpaid amount intended for beneficiaries in eight regions. Some P91.929 million of which were unclaimed grants of active beneficiaries in Regions IV-A, VI, IX, and CARAGA.

“The DSWD is currently working on the liquidation of the whole amount. In fact we have already liquidated 94% of the 2013 funds for cash grants. Further, the Department is processing the return of cash grants intended for families/ households who were tagged by our system as delisted, with reflected status as missing, no eligible member for monitoring, or moved to areas not covered by the program,” Sec. Soliman explained.

Likewise, the news already the COA finding of 4,032 double household entries.

The Department has responded and said that 1,752 of which are unique households and were retained in the programs, while only 609 are actual duplicates and were delisted. The remaining 1,636 remaining entries are still undergoing validation.

In the database

In the COA report, the auditors claim to have found 364,036 benefeciaries not in the database entries.

After authenticating, the DSWD confirmed that 107,373 of these beneficiaires are covered under the regular CCT program and are both in the Pantawid Pamilya and the National Household Targetting System (NHTS) databases.

The other 256,663 are under the modified CCT (MCCT).

MCCT households are not under the NHTS, but are considered poor and part of the vulnerable sector. These are street dwellers and indigenouse people. The information of MCCT beneficiaires are stored in a separate database and is open for COA’s viewing.


Sec. Soliman also cited the innovations being undertaken by the Department for a more efficient program implementation.

The program has its own dedicated grievance redress mechanism that captures, validates, investigates, and responds to complaints received by the program.

Apart from the text hotline of 09189122813, grievances may be filed through Facebook page “Tanggapan ng Reklamo” and through the Twitter account @4psreklamo.

As of November 2014, the agency, through the Grievance Redress System (GRS), has already delisted a total of 52,657 households since 2009. A total of 232,747 households have been deactivated or are pending for validation from the program. These are households whose accounts have been frozen, mainly because of reports of ineligibility or double entry, while awaiting results of investigation. This is to continuously address complaints on inclusion errors and maintain a clean database of beneficiaries.

“We have also included third party monitoring by involving Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who are serving as our watchdog as part of our ‘Bantay, Gabay, Tulay and Kaagapay’ framework of partnership with this sector,” Sec. Soliman said.

DSWD also involves the academe, non-government organizations, and the private sector as members of its National Independent Advisory Monitoring Committee (NIAMC) to help in the monitoring of the program.

Investment in the future

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households as identified by Listahanan. It utilizes the conditional cash transfer scheme where qualified households receive grants provided they comply with their co-responsibilities such as attendance of children aged 3-18 years old in school; regular health check-ups for children aged 0-5 years or pregnant member of the household, and attendance to the monthly Family Development Sessions.

To date, the program covers 4.4 million households in the 17 regions of the country.

Sec. Soliman also shared that based on the latest result of the impact evaluation, the Pantawid Pamilya is successful in encouraging school attendance, promoting preventive health check-ups and improving maternal health.

“We would like to assure the public that the amount entrusted to our Department goes directly to eligible poor households and that these investments will bear fruit in the years to come. We recognize that there are challenges in program implementation, but we wish to reiterate that these are being responded to accordingly,” Sec. Soliman concluded. ### (Pantawid Pamilya, Social Marketing Unit)

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