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A Fight to Indolence: DSWD Assists Women-Traders in Santol, La Union

Ordinary women in Pugil, Santol, La Union continue to wrestle against problems on employment and deficiency. With DSWD’s intervention, they are becoming more economically-vibrant citizens through buy and sell activities.

At first, these women are recipients of cash grants from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. In 2011, the assistance was added with start-up capital through the Sustainable Livelihood Program of DSWD.

This group of women became members of the Pugil Self Employment Assistance Kaunlaran (SEA-K) after series of mandatory trainings and assessment done by DSWD Project Development Officers (PDOs).

In one of the market days of Balaoan, La Union where these women sell their products  PDO Jobel Medina, and the author visited them in their trading activities.

Developing Economically- Active Women

Hard work, patience, and love for family make things happen for these women.

DSWD beneficiaries turned traders Rayleen Zambrano with her sold out bananas to a market vendor and Leonora Ducusin on inset photo, with her sacks of sweet potato

DSWD beneficiaries turned traders Rayleen Zambrano with her sold out bananas to a market vendor and Leonora Ducusin on inset photo, with her sacks of sweet potato

For Leonora Ducusin, 59 y/o, at least  Php 1,000.00  net income was earned in one market day at  Balaoan, La Union where 10 sacks of sweet potato and several kilos of  yam, dried beans and ginger were sold out. She is among the 15 members of the Pugil SKA who received Php 5,000.00 capital assistance in 2011. As said, trading is tiring but patience is among the greatest virtue one should possess. ‘Anusan ta isu pagbirokan (I should be patient because this is where we earn), Leonora exclaimed.’

Rayleen Zambrano, 32 y/o regularly earns Php 800.00  per week from buy and sell of agricultural products. Also, she is engaged in direct selling of  cosmetic products from 3 famous companies  where she could already buy  items in cash because of the capital assistance. She also earns an additional  Php 350.00 a month from this. Her buy and sell income together with the cash grant she receives satisfy the basic needs of her 2 children such as dairy products and vitamins. A small savings of the family was also mentioned.

The ‘Helping Process’

As treasurer of the Pugil SKA, Josephine Uhang, 37 y/o, claimed that depositing in the bank for their repayment is another exciting experience. “Ita lang mapadasak ag deposit (it is my first time to deposit in bank), Josephine mentioned.

For an on-time payment, she conducts home visit even in remote areas to remind them if not to collect their dues. This is to maintain their good repayment rate which is 100% as to this writing. (by: Iryn D. Cubangbang, Regional Information Officer)

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It’s Not Yet Over

AGE DOES NOT MATTER. Lola Upis can still manage to strongly take single steps alone though with the aid of a wooden stick.

AGE DOES NOT MATTER. Lola Upis can still manage to strongly take single steps alone though with the aid of a wooden stick.

A million thanks! That is what a 97 year old woman could only say after receiving her first stipend from the Social Pension Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Such assistance serves as a big help for her to sustain and meet her daily needs especially for medication, food such as rice, milk, coffee, among others.

Sweet Revenge

Lola Hertrudes “Upis” N. Reyes enjoys a simple and peaceful way of living with her daughter Jacinta in Brgy. Sococ Norte, Luna, La Union.

Jacinta never left behind her old mother. She and her brother decided to build a small dwelling for her which is connected with their typical two-story family house because Lola Upis can no longer climb the ladder.

Jacinta always keep an eye on her mother. She makes sure that Lola Upis is always fine. According to her, this is just her way of paying back the sacrifices of her mother in raising her well. “I owe everything to her, so that is why I should not be selfish in giving her motherly care she deserves especially now that she is old already”, said Jacinta.

Still Alive and Kicking

Cooking, washing clothes and dishes, sweeping, and sewing – these are just among the daily household chores that Lola Upis can still easily accomplish all by herself.

“My body aches when I am not doing anything” she said. She further added that she is used to doing these things since she was young.

Jacinta added that her mother is still very tough. She even claimed that her mother might live longer than her.

Lola Upis always keeps her fingers crossed for a longer life. And her prayer is now being answered little by little through the tender loving care she receives from her daughter. More so now that she is one of the indigent Senior Citizens being assisted by the government through the DSWD’s Social Pension Program. (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Administrative Assistant V, NHTS-PR)

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A Love that Sticks (A Social Pension Program Story)

The aging couple Rosalino and Fe Leonardo of Abut, San Fernando City in their simple abode that witnessed their many struggles in life.

The aging couple Rosalino and Fe Leonardo of Abut, San Fernando City in their simple abode that witnessed their many struggles in life.

DSWD’s Social Pension Program reaches more destitute senior citizens who had braved the hard times of life such as illness, weakened bodies and poverty.

In Barangay Abut, San Fernando City, La Union,  88-year old Lola Fe who has folded  and weak  legs is among the visited beneficiaries of Social Pension Program. Since, she could no longer  stand erect, she gently moves by sliding herself while seated especially when working on household chores like food preparation and house cleaning.

Lola Fe and her husband Rosalino  are among the 213 social pensioners of San Fernando City, La Union.

With this condition, it had been a while since Lola Fe went down from their bamboo house which is about  5 meters high.   She often pity herself but Lolo Rosalino consoles her and give massage to her aching legs to ease her discomfort especially during night time.

Aging Yet Earning

The bamboo sticks that the old couple make enable them to still earn minimal amount.

To make them busy and still earn even in  their old age, they make bamboo sticks of different sizes and are sold in San Fernando City market. One of their sons who make bamboo baskets provide them the craps that can still be used for bamboo sticks.

For a week, they can make 1,000 sticks sold at Php 35.00. These sticks are made for  barbecue and other uses in the kitchen.

In a week, Lola Fe and husband Rosalino are able to produce  2,000 sticks sold by their son at  Php 70.00.

Inured to Distress, DSWD Brings Bliss

Indigence had become a usual situation for the old couple. Most of the time ‘bagoong’ is  their main viand. There are also instances when they feast only on solo rice. But they could not ask for better days, being poor had become a normal situation. Since they live in the mountainous part of San Fernando City, simple living is not very hard, sometimes there are free necessities found nearby such as their drinking water from the spring near their house.

According to the couple, when they began receiving their stipend from the Social Pension Program, they felt fortunate and happier because they are now  able to taste meat viands even for at least twice a week and buy half-cavan of rice. But most often they consume vegetables from the City market which is a 30-minute walk and 30-minute tricycle drive. (by: Iryn D. Cubangbang, Regional Information Officer)

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Now On Her Own

businessNot just one but two and more. Managing her own businesses at once while maximizing her vocational skills. That is now the strategy of Dorie Abella, 36, a mother of two and a member of Brgy. Nibaliw Pantawid Self Employment Assistance Kaunlaran Association (SKA) in Mabini, Pangasinan to earn a living for her family after enjoying a year round capital assistance in 2011. Now, she continues to run her variety store and also serves as a caretaker of a small piggery situated in their backyard plus being a cosmetologist, as well.

Springboard towards Sustainability

Through the capital assistance granted to Dorie last year amounting to Php10,000.00, she was able to sustain her variety store’s operation. “Nagsimula ako sa maliit lang na puhunan noon para sa aking tindahan pero nakayanan kong patakbuhin ito hanggang ngayon dahil sa tulong na ibinigay ng SKA sa akin” (Before, I just started with a small capital, but then through SKA, I was able to manage my store until now), Dorie exhorted.

According to her, such capital assistance means a lifetime for her family, especially that her husband Lorenio, 39, has no stable job aside from cow raising and farming.

Also, Dorie partners with her Aunt in raising pigs. As an agreement, she gets a share from the piglets, the moment the mother pig gives birth. She plans to sell some of them and raise the others, as well.

While managing her store and raising pig, she also encourages her customers, relatives, and friends to avail of her cosmetic services such as manicure, pedicure, and haircut.

Dorie earns approximately Php1,900.00 a month from her cosmetic services. Thus, she utilizes it as an additional capital to make her store grow more. Her monthly net income from her store amounting to Php1,200.00 is somehow beneficial to meet the basic needs of her two children Arjon, 15 and Armhay, 11 who are still studying in high school and elementary, respectively.

Aftermath Foreseen

After almost five years, Dorie’s family is about to graduate from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program this year. Being one of the beneficiaries she said that such program is indeed a great helping hand to them especially to her two children in their health and education. “Mabuti nalang at napalago ko ang aking negosyo na siyang pinagkukunan ko ng pandagdag sa gastusin ng aking mga anak sa kanilang pag-aaral” (Good thing that I was able to make my small business grow to have a source of income to give further support to the schooling of my children), she added. She further believes that through her own small ways, she can still improve her family’s quality of life. (By Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Administrative Assistant V, NHTS-PR)

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Progress ‘in slopes’

Rolando, a beneficiary of DSWD’s poverty-reduction programs presents to the writer a portion of his yam harvest.

Rolando, a beneficiary of DSWD’s poverty-reduction programs presents to the writer a portion of his yam harvest.

Pugil, Santol, La Union – DSWD’s Php 5,000.00 worth of capital assistance given to a poor beneficiary that produced  Php 80,000.00 worth of ‘ube’ or yam  from 800 tubers,  is another milestone for poverty-reduction programs gaining an edge in the ordinary lives of beneficiaries like Rolando Olario.

A first time yam-producer. An ordinary father who must provide  for the family. He is Rolando Olario, a 48 year-old  Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary who also accessed the Sustainable Livelihood Program of DSWD with the capital assistance provided.

The fertile slopes in Barangay Pugil gave way for the 1-hectare yam plantation. The capital assistance  was used for the purchase of 200 kilos of seedlings or yam tubers. Each yam tuber or seedling  was divided into 4, giving Rolando a total of 800 yam tubers  planted and nurtured for 8 months.

Since the slopes in Brgy. Pugil  is still very fertile,  no fertilizer was added. Only the clearing of the land cost  Rolando  Php 2,000.00 as add-on to production cost.

Latent mind awakens

Rolando is among the  15 members of the Pugil Self Employment Assistance Kaunlaran Association  (SKA) who received  capital assistance after series of trainings and assessment done by Project Development Officers.

Attending the Family Development Sessions  (FDS) of Pantawid Pamilya Program, and mandatory trainings on Sustainable Livelihood Program taught Rolando a lot.

True to his words, “babaen kadagiti program iti DSWD, mariing ti panunot tapnu maamo dagiti naduma duma a tulong tapno sumayaat iti biag” ( DSWD’s programs on poverty reduction awaken our minds to access more help that will improve our lives), Rolando mentioned.

As he recalls, Rolando also learned about anti-Violence Against Women and their Children and basic rights of children.

Braving the fangs of  poverty

Rolando and his wife Tina together with their children Raffy and Roxanne. Behind them is Santol’s pride - the Simminublan Falls.

Living in the  mountains without  electricity and without  modern water facility is tough. But with resilience and continuous hard work, everything is possible, Rolando narrated. Reduced poverty can be attained because government’s help is already available, Rolando further mentioned.

“Ti DSWD agserbi a guide a kumalay-at iti pagsayaatan babaen iti an-anus ken sakripisyo (DSWD serves as guide in reaching for a better life with hard work and sacrifices), Rolando confidently mentioned.

Among the pride in their community is the waterfalls  hidden  between the mountains. Rolando likened this beauty of nature  with  his faith. Despite the rocks or problems, the refreshing water gushing from the mountains represent  DSWD’s programs and services reaching them even in their far flung communities. (by: Iryn D. Cubangbang, Regional Information Officer)

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3 Cs to work in Gender Equality

Police women are among the participants of the GAD Forum from various government agencies during the 2013 Women’s month celebration held at COA Auditorium, San Fernando City, La Union

Police women are among the participants of the GAD Forum from various government agencies during the 2013 Women’s month celebration held at COA Auditorium, San Fernando City, La Union

New Regional Advocates for Gender Equality (RAGE) President  Melecio C. Ubilas of  DSWD   representing Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo emphasized  the need to converge  government efforts through  3Cs (communicate, coordinate, and collaborate) as vital components to  realize the goals of  Gender Equality in Region 1.

As exhorted,  ‘to communicate’  is giving information/feedback anytime anywhere to concerned individuals who could assist and provide necessary interventions on cases of  Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC); ‘ to coordinate’  with partners to strengthen responses to any discrimination against women; and for all agencies to ‘collaborate’ to ensure gender equality at all times.

This was among the significant messages of the 2013 Women’s Month Celebration of the RAGE  that included a Fun Walk, Thanksgiving Mass, Oath Taking of New RAGE Officers, and Dialogue on Gender and Development  held at COA Auditorium, San Fernando City, La Union, recently.

The new RAGE Officers representing their agencies are as follows: President – Melecio Ubilas (DSWD); Vice President – Marichu Cuizon (CSC); Treasurer – Irenea Ubungen (NSCB); Board of Directors – Ines Meneses (NEDA), Dr. Edwin Ferrer (DepEd), Atty Rommel Daguimol (CHR). The oath-taking was facilitated by Atty. Raquel Dulay  Estigoy Andres, the Clerk of Court VI of Regional Trial Court, City of San Fernando, La Union.

Further, the DSWD’s  Men Opposed to Violence Against Women Everywhere (MOVE) which is a group of men with integrity advocating for the  rights of women was popularized among the participating agencies. Its visions and goals of expanding more among government offices and even up to the baragay level  was advocated by its  President,  Benjamin F. Baldo. (by: Iryn D. Cubangbang, Regional Information Officer)

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Pagudpud passes resolution to support BAED Campaign

The Municipality of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte passes a resolution prohibiting politicians and other electoral candidates to attend Family Development Sessions (FDS) and other Pantawid Pamilya related activities in support to DSWDs "Bawal ang Epal Dito" Campaign.

The Municipality of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte passes a resolution prohibiting politicians and other electoral candidates to attend Family Development Sessions (FDS) and other Pantawid Pamilya related activities in support to DSWDs “Bawal ang Epal Dito” Campaign.

In response to the implementation of DSWDs “Bawal ang Epal Dito” (BAED) Campaign, the Municipality of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte passed a resolution prohibiting politicians and electoral candidates to attend the conduct of Family Development Sessions (FDS) and other Pantawid Pamilya activities in the course of the campaign period for the 2013 elections.

MAC Resolution No. 02 series of 2013 stipulates that politicians especially candidates for the upcoming 2013 national and local elections, and their spouses, shall be banned and prohibited to speak or use the occasion (FDS) for their campaign sorties.

Accordingly, their support to the campaign shall send a strong message to all politicians, candidates and other concerned that there is a definite and clear position being taken.

This is also Pagudpud’s way of contributing their share in nation building along “Daang Matuwid” and Anti- Epal Campaign.

According to Catherine Castillo, Parent Leader from Pagudpud, the Municipality’s move is a sign that they are in favor for the protection of the program and the beneficiaries in the area.

Meanwhile, DSWD – FO1 Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo encourages all beneficiaries to report any observed “epal” activities and never believe on hearsays and threats instead all must maintain integrity this coming election.

“Bawal ang Epal Dito” (BAED) Campaign is DSWDs advocacy campaign to insulate Pantawid Pamilya Program and its beneficiaries from being used by certain politicians or groups this upcoming elections by empowering beneficiaries and highlighting the fact that no one has the authority to de-list a beneficiary but DSWD. (by: Allan O. Lulu / Information Officer II, Pantawid Pamilya)

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NHTU Conducts Series of Special Households Validation

Three consecutive special households validations in different municipalities in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and Pangasinan were conducted by the National Household Targeting Unit (NHTU) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD-FO1), first quarter this year.

Last February 21 to March 14, 13 barangays in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur are visited by NHTU staff headed by the Regional Field Coordinator Joan Nuesca. These barangays are Aluling, San Juan, Comillas South, Malaya, Concepcion, Libang, Dinwede East, Remedios, Dinwede West, Rosario, San Luis, Pilipil, and Comillas North. Out of the 185 target households,173 were validated, eight (8) were temporarily away or were not available while four (4) households had transferred to other barangay and one HH is subject for further verification.

After visiting Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, the team immediately proceeded to Malasiqui, Pangasinan to validate 40 HHs in four barangays. A total of 28 HHs were validated in Barangays Calbueg, Asin West, Asin East, and Balite. The validation team found out that all names submitted for validation are children (sons and daughters of the family head) but not the household head because these are for Compliance Verification updates according to Pantawid Pamilya staff in the said municipality.

Another validation activity was conducted in nine municipalities in Pangasinan namely Aguilar (14 target households in 6 barangays), Sual, Sta. Barbara, San Fabian, Rosales, Malasiqui, Calasiao, Binmaley, Mangaldan, and Urdaneta City with one HH each respectively. Out of the 23 target households, only two were not validated because they are no longer residents in the area.

Lastly, two municipalities of Ilocos Norte, Dumalneg and Adams also underwent special validation last March 21-23.  There were 12 target households in Dumalneg and 9 in Adams.  All the 21 target households were validated.

Before conducting household validation activities, households that are subject for validation first have to undergo name matching procedure in the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) database management.  (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Administrative Assistant V, NHTS-PR)

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