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From Drug Surrenderers to Microentrepreneurs

Ricky Assislo, former marijuana farmer, has used the SLP seed capital fund in his soft broom making project.

Santol, La Union – The Local Government of Santol, La Union has turned its drug surrenderers, now called completers, to productive mircoentrepreneurs through the implementation of DSWD’s “Yakap Bayan”, a program that aims to turn recovering drug dependents to community leaders, volunteers, and active citizens in the society.

Part of the reintegration program is the provision of seed capital fund to the beneficiaries to start and/or improve their chosen income-generating activities. In April 2018, DSWD Field Office 1 – Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) granted PhP158,000.00 seed capital fund to the 65 members of Pagsadagan nga Agturong Raniag ken Ekonomiya (PARE) SLP Association for their furniture and soft broom making, bonsai beads making, and barako coffee and food processing projects. “Marami ang binigay na mga training sa amin sa loob ng anim na buwan pero mas pinili ko ang furniture making dahil marami akong tanim na mga puno. Gusto ko, ako ang gumawa at magbenta (There are lots of trainings provided to us within six months; however, I chose furniture making because I own plenty of trees. I want to be the one to make and sell furniture),” said “Cardo”, a completer from Brgy. Mangaan. Now, Cardo is earning decent money and supplying furniture to April Joy Home Decors and Furniture, one of the biggest furniture retailers in Region 1. Cardo also employed his co-completers as furniture makers in his budding business.

Meanwhile, Eliza Olario, former marijuana courier, shared that after her six-month stay in the Camp, she can now sleep well. She also realized that if she were caught by the police because of selling marijuana, she would not be able to hug her children again. The program enabled her to see the real value of her family. Eliza, one of the recipients of the SLP seed fund, is now selling banana chips and earns a daily average income of Php200.00, a great help to augment for their day-to-day requirements.

Reformed mindset

Lack of capital build-up, skills enhancement trainings, proper orientation on the effects of dangerous drugs, and other factors of poverty forced the members of the Association to engage in the Marijuana business. “Wala kaming alam na pagkakakitaan na magbibigay sa aming pamilya ng malaking kita maliban sa pagtatanim at pagde-deliver ng marijuana (We did not know of any other livelihood that can give our families high income except marijuana planting and shipment),” shared Eliza. “Nung una ay nanghinayang pa kaming sumuko. Pero nagpapasalamat kami sa LGU at DSWD dahil sila ang tumulong sa aming magkaroon ng marangal na trabaho na may magandang kita (At first, we had regrets surrendering. But we are later thankful that the LGU and DSWD helped us seek dignified source of livelihood with good income),” she added.

Sa tulong ng iba’t-ibang line agencies na nandiyan araw-araw sa loob ng six months, ang mga drug surrenderers ay marunong nang manalangin. Iba’t-iba ang natutunan nila sa ating community-based rehabilitation gaya ng livelihood (In six months, through the daily help of various line agencies, the drug surrenderer learned how to pray. They have also learned different undertakings such as livelihood through the community-based rehabilitation program),” said Santol Mayor Magno A. Wailan.

A Livelihood Focal was appointed by the LGU to help DSWD staff monitor the progress of the livelihood projects implemented in the municipality, provide additional technical assistance, and assist in the marketing of their products. The Negosyo Center located inside the municipal building was opened to promote the town’s products to visitors while providing means of livelihood to local product makers which include the PARE SLP Association. “Yakap Bayan” was launched in 2017 not only to provide rehabilitation, aftercare, transformation, and reintegration support for recovering drug surrenderers, but it intends to help create a safe society for the new generation. # By: Darwin T. Chan, Social Marketing Unit

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DSWD FO 1 gives Centenarian gift to a retired teacher

DSWD Field Office 1 Assistant Regional Director for Operations Marlene Febes D. Peralta hands out a check worth PhP100,000.00 to the 10th Centenarian in Region 1 for this year.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) through Assistant Regional Director for Operations (ARDO) Marlene Febes D. Peralta released a one-time Centenarian gift check worth PhP100,000.00 to a 100-year-old retired elementary teacher who recently celebrated her birthday last January.

ARDO Peralta, amused by the Centenarian’s healthy-looking appearance who can still hear and talk properly, asked the Centenarian who lives in Manaoag, Pangasinan on her plans on how she will spend her grant from the government.

Lola Centenarian said, “I will share it sa mga pamangkin ko na mahihirap (I will share the money that was given to me to my nephews and nieces who are in need).” ARDO Peralta advised her to not forget to allocate funds for her own needs like her medicines and food even though she has good intentions in helping her relatives.

When asked on her secrets for having a long life, Lola Centenarian said to just always pray and praise God for each day that comes by.

Lola Centenarian was accompanied by her grandchild who talked about his grandmother’s extraordinary lifestyle. He said that his grandmother is not yet taking any medicine for maintenance, still fond of eating fatty pork and drinking cacao chocolate every morning.

Since Republic Act 10868 or the “Centenarians Act of 2016” was approved, the DSWD FO 1 through the Social Pension Program Management Office granted centenarian gifts to 614 Centenarians in Region 1. Out of these, 437 Centenarians received cash or check gift in 2017, 167 in 2018, and 10 this March 2019. (by: Jaymante Pearl B. Apilado, Administrative Assistant III, NHTS-PR/Listahanan)

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Listahanan provides data of poor households to Lyceum Northern Luzon

Listahanan Focal Person/Policy and Plans Division Chief Anniely J. Ferrer together with Listahanan Head/Regional Field Coordinator Joan M. Nuesca, Listahanan Regional Information Technology Officer Aristedeo V. Tinol, and Listahanan Statistician Ryan P. Arbollente (far right) shares the data of poor households (saved on a CD) to Lyceum Northern Luzon (LNL) President Mariano M. Gandia, PhD, and LNL Vice President for Academics Nora D. Halog.

The Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) intensified its mandate to share the information of poor households or individuals needed by data users like Lyceum Northern Luzon (LNL) in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.

Listahanan Focal Person/ Policy and Plans Division Chief Anniely J. Ferrer is grateful to LNL headed by LNL President Mariano M. Gandia, PhD, for its initiative in requesting the data of the poor particularly the data on poor students. The LNL will use the Listahanan data to reach out to the poor families with children who want to go to college as their potential beneficiary on a scholarship program under the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in accordance with the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 or Republic Act 10931.

“We are really interested in them (referring to Listahanan poor households). We are going to look for them. Malaki ang mga maitutulong nito sa mga bata (The scholarship program that we offer in partnership with CHED will benefit the children),”said LNL Pres. Gandia during the recently held meeting.

According to LNL Pres. Gandia, the TES scholars will be given a stipend worth PhP30,000.00 for a semester by our government that will cover their tuition, other school fees, allowance for books, room and board costs, and other expenses.

As their counterpart in serving the poor, LNL Pres. Gandia added that they are currently constructing a 3-storey building to cater those scholars who want to rent a room for only PhP900.00 a month. Further, he also mentioned during the meeting that he will offer the scholars an eat now, pay later arrangement in the school canteen just in case their stipend will be delayed.

The list of Listahanan poor households that were given to LNL was generated from the result of the 2nd Round of Household Assessment conducted in 2015. The Listahanan is a project of DSWD that identifies who and where the poor are that can be a basis for choosing would-be beneficiaries of social protection programs and services not only from our government but also from Private Sectors, Civil Society Organizations, and Non-Government Agencies. (by: Jaymante Pearl B. Apilado, Administrative Assistant III, NHTS-PR/Listahanan)

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LGU Bayambang wins the GAPAS Award

Regional Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo and Bayambang Mayor Cezar T. Quiambao received the award during the 68th Anniversary Celebration of the Department.
The Local Government of Bayambang, Pangasinan bested other 17 entries for the 2019 Gawad Paglingkod sa Sambayanan (GAPAS) Award for Best Local Government Unit (LGU) implementing Outstanding Micro-enterprise Model of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The award acknowledges and commends the efforts of the LGU that have continuously supported the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Agency.
Highlighting the microenterprise partnership projects with DSWD in the Municipality from 2016 to 2018, a total of 930 participants were served under the DSWD-SLP. Nineteen (19) SLP Associations and one cooperative were established to have legal identities and have access to financial institutions and programs and services of other partner stakeholders like the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), and Kasama Kita sa Barangay Foundation, Incorporated (KKBFI), among others.
Cooperative Development Leading to Sustainable Employment
The Masagana SLP Producers Cooperative of Bayambang, accredited by the CDA on 15 February 2018, is a growing business entity run by 23 Pantawid Pamilya sewers.
The SLP participants who completed a month-long Skills Training in Dressmaking on 22 December 2017 and received starter kits from the DSWD were later organized into an association.  The meals and snacks of the trainees were shouldered by the LGU while the training venue was sponsored by the KKBFI, a private institution helping the LGU provide the needed socio-economic assistance in the Municipality.
Applying the learnings during the training, the Association was able to produce quality doormats, eco bags, bed sheets, and quilted sofa sheets which are sold at very affordable prices.

With the LGU’s Ordinance No. 19 Series of 2017 regulating the use of plastic cellophanes, sando bags, and polysterene, the Association was tapped as the sole eco-bag supplier for various LGU activities. The LGU endorsed the products to adjacent municipalities. The KKBFI also tapped the Association as its exclusive eco-bag supplier helping bridge its products to wider market opportunities while the DTI provided technical assistance on the use of social media for the promotion of the Cooperative’s products.

Members of the Masagana SLP Producers Cooperative with DSWD and LGU Bayambang staff during the mini-factory opening. (Photo credits to LGU Bayambang)

As an additional assistance to the Cooperative, the LGU passed Resolution No. 79, Series of 2018 also known as “Resolution Designating a Cooperative Mini-factory Including Separate Electric Lines in Barangay Pantol.” The said mini-factory that officially started operating on 22 November 2018 houses 15 sewing machines and sewing materials needed for the production of the Cooperative’s products. Likewise, it is used as the Barangay Evacuation Center during disaster. The Cooperative generated an income of PhP120,000.00 which was divided equally among its members in 2018.

More Budding Businesses

Apart from the cooperative, various SLP Associations that were organized and funded by the DSWD-SLP have received assistance from the LGU. The Broiler Raisers SLP Association established in 2016 received additional livelihood assistance such as fish cages and jetmatic pump from the LGU and BFAR for its tilapia aquaculture business. The members were later trained on mushroom production by the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) in partnership with Tarlac Agriculture University for additional income.
The Manambong Sur Fisherfolks SLP Association completed the Skills Training in Carabao-based Enterprise in partnership with the PCC. The LGU provided the carabao pen of the livestock. To increase the Association’s income, it also ventured in tilapia aquaculture business. The BFAR provided tilapia fingerlings and net while the KKBFI shouldered the excavation expense of the pond amounting to PhP50,000.00 for the inland fishery business. The lot where the pond was established is owned by one of the members. Devastated by typhoon in June 2018 leaving the Association no income, the LGU allotted PhP50,380.00 for the procurement of fingerlings, nets, and feeds to restore their livelihood.
A quarantine area located at Brgy. Tanolong was also provided by the LGU for the Goat Raisers of Bayambang SLP Association. It was established by the MAO as a restraint facility for examination of livestock being brought inside the municipality to ensure that no communicable disease shall infect other livestock.
On 30 October 2017, the Bayambangueña Pasalubong Center and Tourist Assistance Center were opened to promote the town to visitors while providing means of livelihood to local product makers which include the SLP Associations.
Seven (7) Livelihood Focals were appointed by the LGU to help DSWD-SLP staff monitor the progress of the livelihood projects implemented in the Municipality and to provide additional technical assistance needed. The LGU also hired an Action Desk Officer in Livelihood and Skills Training to assist the Municipal Mayor in developing strategies to implement sustainable livelihood programs for the Municipality and in analyzing priorities and skills development that will strengthen and / or generate employment opportunities.
Last year, the Local Government of Anda, Pangasinan won the said award among the 17 regions. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)

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Listahanan shares data of poor households to PGLU and DOH

(Upper Left Photo) Listahanan Focal Person/Policy and Plans Division Chief Anniely J. Ferrer together with Listahanan Head/Regional Field Coordinator (RFC) Joan M. Nuesca and Listahanan Regional Information Technology Officer (RITO) Aristedeo V. Tinol hands over the CD which contains data of poor households in the Province of La Union (LU) to LU Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Ranilo P. Ipac with IT Officers of the Provincial Government of La Union.

The National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction or Listahanan of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) shared its data of poor households to the Provincial Government of La Union (PGLU) and the Department of Health Regional Office 1 (DOH RO 1).

The list of poor households from Listahanan were generated from the result of the 2nd Round of Household Assessment conducted in the year 2015.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DSWD FO 1 and PGLU were crafted to make sure that the personal and sensitive information of poor households will be protected in accordance with Republic Act 10173 also known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

The data of poor households or individuals will be used by PGLU for planning purposes; for the recognition of Centenarians; for the livelihood trainings of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Out-of-School Youths (OSYs), and unemployed family members; for referrals to health insurance; and for knowing the number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and the data of Indigenous Peoples (IPs).

Listahanan RITO Tinol and Listahanan Head/RFC Nuesca give the CD with list of poor households in Region 1 to Department of Health Regional Office 1 (DOH RO 1) Atty. Jordan P. Falces and DOH RO1 IT Officer.

Meanwhile, the DOH RO 1, with the implementation of the Philippine Health Agenda (PHA) that is geared towards providing accessible quality health care services to the marginalized poor and unreached population, will use the data of Listahanan to provide medical, dental, and surgical services to poor households and to ensure the sustainability of health services.

Listahanan was established by the DSWD to identify who and where the poor are. The comprehensive Listahanan database of poor households serves as basis for selecting beneficiaries for social protection programs and services in Region 1 and the entire Philippines. (by: Jaymante Pearl B. Apilado, Administrative Assistant III, NHTS-PR/Listahanan)

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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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DSWD partners with SM Foundation to produce skilled farmers in Pangasinan

Since 2015, SM Foundation, Incorporated in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1, Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 1, Harbest Agribusiness Corporation and some Local Government Units in Region 1 has been providing technical assistance among farmers through its Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmer’s Training Program. This  initiative aims to support communities through food security and poverty reduction by introducing modern farming techniques among the trainees.

One hundred eight (108) trainees from Calasiao, Bugallon, and Aguilar in Pangasinan successfully graduated from the 7-month long training recently. Thirty-eight (38) of the trainees were Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, 15 of them are Sustainable Livelihood Program served beneficiaries of the DSWD.

Originally, the training module which started in June 2018 should run for three months only, however, due to natural calamities that devastated the province during the implementation, it was extended to four months to allow rehabilitation and coping mechanism trainings. Modern and practical ways of land preparation, crop management, and harvesting techniques were introduced to the program participants.

Ang training na ito ang magpapataas sa aming ani. Nagboluntaryo akong sumali dahil sa kabila ng aking edad ay gusto ko pa ring guminhawa ang aking buhay (This training will increase our yield. I volunteered to be one of the trainees despite my age because I still look forward to a better life),” said Bernardino Morales, 66, as he showed gratitude to all stakeholders who have helped in the realization of their training.  He owned the 7,000 square meter lot at Brgy. Doyong, Calasiao where the project site and training took place.

Regional Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo acknowledged the vital role of partnership among the stakeholders in the successful implementation of livelihood projects and other social welfare assistance being extended to the community. “Dapat talaga ay magkakasama ang iba’t-ibang ahensya at institusyon upang mas mapalawak pa ang maibibigay na tulong at makarating ang totoong tulong sa dapat nitong patunguhan (Agencies and institutions should converge to provide extensive assistance to reach the beneficiaries who really need it most),” he said.

From 2015 to 2017, 282 SLP participants from Aringay, La Union; Laoag City, Ilocos Norte; and Pozorrubio, San Fabian, and Lingayen, Pangasinan benefitted the same training which they maximized to improve their chosen microenterprises. (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)

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