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A home that is made of hopes and dreams

Twenty (20) brand new housing units were blessed and turned over by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 1 through its Core Shelter Assistance Program (CSAP) in partnership with the City Government of Alaminos, Pangasinan at Sitio Sto. Rosario, Brgy. Lucap, Alaminos City, Pangasinan.

Jenny Mina, CSAP beneficiary, expressed her gratitude and happiness. “Hindi naging madali ang pagbuo ng aming pangarap, ngunit sa pagtulong-tulong at sa tibay ng aming samahan ay nakamit at nabuo namin ang aming pangarap na bahay. (Building our dream was never easy, but with the help and stability of our community, we have achieved and built our dream home.)”

DSWD Field Office 1 head (from left to right) Dir. Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo together with BM Arth Bryan Celeste and CSAP beneficiaries poses for celebratory photos during the ceremonial turnover of CSAP housing units.

Sana ang libreng pabahay na ito ay inyong alagaan kahit ito po ay libre na handog ng gobyerno. Ang aming tanging hiling ay sana kahit lumipas na ang 20 hanggang 30 na taon ay intact pa rin ang inyong mga tahanan at matitirhan pa ng inyong mga apo. (We hope you will take good care of the house from the government even if it is for free. Our only wish is that even after 20 to 30 years your home is still intact and your grandchildren will be able to still live there),” said Board Member Arth Bryan C. Celeste in his speech.

Meanwhile, DSWD FO 1 Regional Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo reminded the recipients to abide by the rules and regulations for the maintenance of their shelter units and other operational purposes. “Isa sa mga mapalad ang Alaminos City na napagkalooban po ng CSAP dahil hanggang ngayon po ay naka-moratorium pa po ang programang ito; meaning wala na pong nabibigyan pa ng ibang lugar ng ganitong pabahay. Kaya atin po itong pangalagaan at sundin ang mga patakaran. (Alaminos City, Pangasinan is very lucky to have been granted CSAP because the program is in moratorium which means that there were no other areas that were granted CSAP. Let us maintain and abide by the rules.) “

Top shot of the newly turned over CSAP housing units in Sitio Sto. Rosario, Brgy. Lucap, Alaminos City, Pangasinan. (Photo courtesy of LGU Alaminos City, Pangasinan)

CSAP is a DSWD program funded to assist family victims of disaster to acquire decent shelter. DSWD provided PhP6.5 million shelter assistance grant used to buy construction materials and supplies for 500 housing units intended for Brgy. Lucap, Alaminos City, Pangasinan while the City Government of Alaminos, Pangasinan provided land construction site and technical support. #By: Nicole Kasandra A. Lipawen, Social Marketing Unit

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DSWD FO 1 supports DepEd’s Happy School Movement, Brigada Eskwela

Unified by a common goal of securing good quality education and well-being for the Filipino children, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 showed its support to the Department of Education’s Happy School Movement (HSM) and Brigada Eskwela 2019 that kick-off recently in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.

With the theme “Paaralang Masayang Maglingkod, Tagumpay ng Bata’y Itataguyod”, the HSM is an advocacy that envisions having a generation of responsive and cross-culture competent future builders through creating a happier and more positive school atmosphere. The DepEd acknowledges the engagement of external stakeholders like the DSWD in the effective and transparent school governance that leads to happy school environment among learners and teachers.

Relative to this, the DSWD has its own fair share to the HSM’s advocacy through its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program that provides cash grants to poor households, primarily of children aged 0-18 years old. With the conditionalities of the program being met by the beneficiaries in order to receive the program packages, a child has a positive learning attitude in school. Ultimately, he and the rest of the family are guided to become responsible citizens of the community.

The Brigada Eskwela as an annual National Maintenance Week in all public elementary and high schools aims to inculcate volunteerism efforts and active citizenship among the community players to make the schools more conducive for learning. Scheduled on 20 – 25 May 2019, thousands of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries and some DSWD staff in Region 1 work hand in hand in the cleaning, repairing, repainting and other maintenance activities of the schools.

The kick-off activity also served as an Information Caravan venue for DSWD staff who distributed flyers of the DSWD programs and services to the participants. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)

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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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Community volunteers end the quest for clean and safe water in Quirino, Ilocos Sur

An aerial view (left photo) of Quirino, Ilocos Sur shows that one of the major rivers in Northern Luzon, the Abra River, flows through the area while Municipal and barangay officials and employees (middle photo) lead the ribbon-cutting of the water system (right photo) in Bucnit, Namitpit, Quirino, Ilocos Sur.

Community volunteers have ended the quest for clean and safe water in Bucnit, Namitpit, Quirino, Ilocos Sur with the construction of a water system through the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi – CIDSS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1).

Bucnit lies in the Cordillera mountain ranges where trees are abundant. The Abra River, one of the major rivers in the Northern Philippines, and other tributaries flow through the area.

But as for the I-Bucnit, clean and safe water for household consumption was a big concern during summer when springs dry up. Since the first cycle of Kalahi – CIDSS, the community had been identifying this problem as the topmost priority to be addressed and had been diligently lobbying for funding from the program.

It was only during the third cycle of the program when Bucnit Water System was finally prioritized in the Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum – Participatory Resource Allocation (MIBF-PRA). A total of PhP 1,831,863.15 was awarded to fund the sub-project. It is the fifth water system sub-project in Quirino since the first cycle that was prioritized under Kalahi-CIDSS.

Saanminto a malipatan daytoy a programa ta dakkel ti naitulong na kadakami (We will never forget this program because it helped us a lot),” said Punong-Barangay Gil Suminggao in his speech during the inauguration. “Adda water source ngem agkurang ti pondo ti barangay ken munisipyo. Agyaman kami ta adda ti Kalahi-CIDSS nga nangpondo daytoy (We have a water source, but the local government has no enough fund. We thank Kalahi-CIDSS for funding this).”

In response to the challenge of Punong-Barangay Suminggao that he posed during the inauguration, Roger Valdez, President of the Bucnit Water System Association (BUWSA), revealed that the association has already designed and approved measures on how to maintain said sub-project so that it will still be functioning fifty (50) years from now.

The BUWSA which is composed of the same community volunteers who constructed the sub-project was created to safeguard the operations and maintenance of the Level II Water System.

Valdez disclosed that the 3.5 by 3.5 meters water tank is closed from 8 o’clock in the evening to 5 o’clock in the morning of the following day in order to give time for the water tank to be fully filled for consumption on an entire day. It is also a way of teaching residents to conserve water.

To cover the costs of operation and maintenance, an amount of PhP 30.00 is collected for a lifetime membership and on top of that is another PhP 200.00 for an annual membership. Other fees include PhP 50.00 for every absence during assemblies and PhP 100.00 – 500.00 fines for illegal connections depending on the frequency of the offense.  (by Ruperto A. Sabalo, Jr., Social Marketing Officer, Kalahi-CIDSS)

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DSWD Kalahi–CIDSS beefs up efforts to lobby for CDD institutionalization

Kagawad Sofia Tad-o (top photo) of Danac, Sugpon, Ilocos Sur writes down identified activities by her barangay to strengthen local participatory governance in her place while officials of Banga, Sugpon, Ilocos Sur (lower photo) receive technical assistance from DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS staff during the first session of Makilahok  in Region 1.

Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) beefed up efforts to lobby for the institutionalization of the community-driven development (CDD) approach with the conduct of Makilahok (Local Participatory Governance) Roll-out Training to five (5) municipalities in Region 1.

Kalahi-CIDSS uses CDD as an approach to improve participatory local governance to attain its objective of empowering poor communities to identify and implement projects based on the principles of participatory, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability.

The Makilahok aims to strengthen the capacity of Local Government Units to intensify community participation in local development in support to local participatory governance.

During the activity, participants identified various tools, platforms, and mechanisms that can be integrated in the development planning process to come up with a Barangay Development Plan that highlights the integration of CDD-based approach.

The Barangay Development Plan contains priority programs and projects of every barangay usually for five-year period or medium term as basis for programming and budgeting of funds mandated under Section 305 of Republic Act 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of the Philippines.

Municipal and barangay elected officials as well as heads of local offices and members of the Municipal Inter-Agency Council (MIAC) from Alilem and Sugpon in Ilocos Sur; Pugo and Bagulin in La Union; and Burgos, Pangasinan have attended the event in five (5) separate sessions in different venues throughout the region. (by Ruperto A. Sabalo, Jr., Social Marketing Officer, Kalahi-CIDSS)

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DSWD Social Pension Program supports three siblings with disabilities

The three DSWD Social Pensioners, growing old together in their humble home without appliances, do not remember their exact dates of birth. The eldest Lola Narcisa Agmata (left) only remembers her year of birth which is 1932.

The three senior citizen siblings with different disabilities are regular Social Pensioners of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) Social Pension Program who each receives a PhP500.00 monthly pension or a PhP1,500.00 quarterly pension.

Lola Narcisa Agmata (eldest) with physical disability, Lolo Alfredo Cabinian with speech and hearing impairment, and Lola Saturnina Cabinian with speech and vision impairment live at Barangay Upon, Pinili, Ilocos Norte beside the house of their nephew and his wife who regularly and patiently assist them in their everyday needs.   

According to their niece-in-law Merlinda De Guzman, she usually helps the three elders when taking their bath, particularly Lola Narcisa since she can longer move the lower part of her body and her left arm due to stroke.

Noong una ay nahirapan talaga ako sa pag-aalaga sa kanila kasi nakaka-stress kapag nag-aaway sila pero ngayon ay nasanay na ako. Kailangan lang ng matinding pang-unawa at pag-aalaga (At first I had a hard time taking care of them especially when they fight, but afterwards I’m already used to their behavior. It just takes a lot of understanding and genuine care),” said De Guzman.

De Guzman is thankful that DSWD is giving financial assistance to her husband’s relatives since they can no longer work due to old age and incapacities. “Iyong pension na nakukuha nila sa DSWD ay binabudget nila para sa pagkain nila. Binibigyan nila ako ng pera para ako ang mamalengke at magluto para sa kanila (The pension that they are receiving from DSWD is budgeted for their food. They give me money so that I can buy and cook meals for them),” said De Guzman.

The DSWD Social Pension Program is an additional government assistance to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of indigent senior citizens particularly those who are frail, sickly or with disability, with no regular income or support from family and relatives, and without pension from private or government institutions.

In Region 1, the Social Pension Program Management Office of DSWD FO 1 provides pension to 127,195 regular Social Pensioners in accordance with Republic Act No. 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.” Out of these, 13,895 Social Pensioners who receive quarterly pension amounting to PhP1,500.00 reside in Ilocos Norte, 28,087 in Ilocos Sur, 18,492 in La Union, and 66,721 in Pangasinan. (by: Jaymante Pearl B. Apilado, Administrative Assistant III, NHTS-PR/Listahanan)

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DSWD FO 1 brings community service to the indigenous people of Santol, La Union

Top Photo: The indigenous people of Sapdaan, Santol, La Union carefully listen to a DSWD FO 1 staff who talks about preventing violence against women and children. Lower Photo: A policeman offers free haircut to the youngsters as part of the convergence of DSWD FO 1 and other agencies of bringing community service to Sapdaan.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) brings “Serbisyo Information Caravan cum Violence against Women and Children (VAWC) Orientation” to the indigenous people (IP) of Sapdaan, Santol, La Union.

The indigenous community of Kankanaey was oriented on the different programs and services that they can avail from DSWD FO 1. They were also informed of their rights and the things they can do in order to stop violence against women and children.

The Men Opposed to Violence-against-women Everywhere (MOVE), a group of DSWD FO 1 employees who are advocating for the eradication of VAWC, provided also the community of 481 individuals in 94 households with different social services and gift items like free check-up and medicine, free haircut, free vegetable seeds, family food packs with malongs and blankets, and toys and other accessories for the children.

A total of PhP30,000.00 worth of financial assistance was also distributed during the event. The said amount was intended for educational and medicinal purposes of the identified individuals who are in crisis.

The activity that was spearheaded by MOVE was in cooperation with the Local Government Unit of Santol, La Union, Department of Health, Santol Police Station, and the 3rd Mobile Force Platoon of the 1st La Union Mobile Force Company.

Agyaman kami ti DSWD iti panangiyegyo  kadagitoy a tulong ditoy lugarmi. Dakkel a pagsayaatan dagitoy nga inpaayyo kadakami nga marigrigat iti panagbiagna (We thank DSWD for bringing these services to our place. These are of big help for all of us who are poor),” said Rizaldo Banggoy, the Indigenous Peoples’ Municipal Representative.

Sapdaan, the farthest barangay of Santol, La Union, is classified as a Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area (GIDA). It is  27-kilometer away from the Municipal Hall and it can be reached through a 1.5-hour ride to Brgy. Sasaba followed by a 4-hour hike. (by Ruperto A. Sabalo, Jr., Social Marketing Officer, Kalahi-CIDSS)

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Pantawid Pamilya Senior High School leads batch 2018-2019

Christopher receives his awards and joining him are Ms. Irene Domingo, Municipal Agriculture Officer (in blue dress), Ms. Isanie Collo, Principal (in pink dress) and DSWD Staff.
Photo courtesy: Christopher Ragunton

“When I entered high school, I had low self-esteem but as years went by, I earned my confidence and learned to defend myself,” shared Christopher Ragunton, a Grade 12 student as he recalled how he started his secondary days at the Nagbukel National High School, Nagbukel, Ilocos Sur.

Many times, Christopher and his co-beneficiaries were teased by other students because of being poor. According to him, “Ipinakita ko sa kanila na mas magaling ako sa kanila sa pagpapakita ng aking angking-talino sa aming mga aralin (I showed them that I am better than them when it comes to academics).”

Christopher also stated that “Sa likod ng mga panlalait, ipinapakita ko sa lahat na kayang-kaya kong iangat ang aking sarili (Despite the mockery, I show everyone that I can bring myself to the top). He never ceased to prove that Pantawid Pamilya students are excellent and because of that, he was a consistent honor student since Grade 7. “Wala sa plano ko na makamit ang Rank 1 dahil wala akong intensyon na makipagkompetensya sa aking mga kaklase pero ginagawa ko ito para sa kinabukasan  (I never planned to become Rank 1 because I do not want to compete with my classmates but I am doing this for the future),” he emotionally expressed. 

“Nagsilbing armas ko ang Pantawid Pamilya para maging matibay sa pagkamit sa minimithi kong pangarap kapag ako ay nakapagtapos na ng pag-aaral (Pantawid Pamilya served as my weapon to be strong in achieving my dream after finishing my studies),” Christopher testified.

He plans to take up Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at the University of Northern Phlippines in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. According to him, he will exert all efforts to look for scholarship grants for him to successfully pursue his college education.

He confidently said, “Sampung taon mula ngayon, isa na akong matagumpay na indibidwal at tatatak pa rin sa puso at isipan ko ang Pantawid Pamilya (10 years from now, I will be a successful person and Pantawid Pamilya will still be engraved in my heart and mind).” (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Pantawid Pamilya Information Officer)

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