Archive | May, 2019

Listahanan identifies 46k poor fisherfolks in MMAROPA

MALATE, Manila– According to the Listahanan of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a total of 93,352 fisherfolks were identified in MIMAROPA region based on the 2015 household assessment.

From the figure, 49.8% or 46,523 fisherfolks aged 15 years old and above are poor.

May 31 is declared as the National Fisherfolks Day to give recognition to the rightful stewards and beneficiaries of our oceans and its natural resources as well as our lakes, gulfs, bays and other fishing areas.

Listahanan, a government mechanism to identify who and where the poor are, recorded Palawan province has the highest percentage of poor fisherfolks with 52.9% (29,998) followed by Occidental Mindoro with 51.7% (6,391); Romblon with 47.4% (4,006); Oriental Mindoro with 39.8% (3,723); and Marinduque with 36.9% (2,405).

Of the total identified poor fisherfolks, 95.8% (44,563) are male and 4.2% (1,960) are female.

In terms of educational attainment, 3.9% or 1,808 fisherfolks have no grade completed; 28.6% (13,310) of poor fisherfolks graduated from elementary; 12.3% (5,742) graduated from high school, and 0.2% (101) graduated from college.

Three Palawan towns have the most number of poor fisherfolks identified:  Balabac with 156, Taytay with 83 and Coron with 71.

As an intervention, DSWD has provided livelihood assistance to 23,987 fisherfolks regionwide under the Sustainable Livelihood Program amounting to P159 million since 2011.###

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Listahanan to re-identify poor households list in MIMAROPA

A DSWD Listahanan enumerator administers house-to-house interview in Romblon.

MALATE, Manila– The Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Listahanan program is set to assess 622,230 households in the five MIMAROPA provinces for the 2019 assessment to identify a new list of poor.

Listahanan is a government mechanism to map out the poor nationwide. In the 2015 household assessment, of the 584,562 households assessed  221,324 (37.9%)  are identified poor.

“For this Listahanan 3rd round assessment or L3, we have 186,616 target households in Oriental Mindoro;   95,122  households in Occidental Mindoro;  50,618 households in Marinduque; 65,436 households in  Romblon; and 224,438  households in  Palawan,” said Regional Coordinator Ernie H. Jarabejo.

The household target per municipality is based on the results of 2015 assessment and the Philippine Statistics Authority census of population. However, target households may differ depending on the actual number of total households in a given area.

The L3 assessment is expected to kick off on the second semester of the year with 1,153 field staff to be deployed regionwide.

“Compared from the 2015 assessment, this 2019 assessment will no longer use the mobile mode of enumeration. All household assessment will be administered thru paper-and-pen,” Jarabejo added.

The initial proposed budget for this 3rd household assessment in the MIMAROPA region is P99 million.

“We are calling the private and public institutions and individuals to join hand in this quadrennial activity particularly those living in rural and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in MIMAROPA,” Jarabejo said.

All beneficiaries of DSWD programs such as Sustainable Livelihood, Social Pension, and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program are required to be interviewed.

Prior to the field staff deployment and household enumeration,  Listahanan will hold a series of consultation-dialogue with national and local government units and various stakeholders including the media for orientation and to seek support for the 3rd round household assessment.

The Department also appeals to the public to give accurate information to ensure accuracy of assessment results.###

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A Teacher’s Quest in Ensuring Education for the Disadvantaged

Geralyn Fajilan of Mabini National High School has been awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal 2019 on Education for her efforts beyond service to the children beneficiaries of the program

“Galing ako sa mahirap na pamilya kaya nararamdaman ko rin ang hirap na pinagdadaanan ng mga estudyante namin dito (I also came from a poor family that’s why I know the difficulties that our students are going through),” said teary-eyed Geralyn Fajilan, the Pantawid Pamilya focal for education in Corcuera, Romblon when asked about what keeps her motivated in encouraging children from poor families to pursue their studies.

For four years of being a Pantawid focal, Geralyn has been providing services to the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beyond her duty of monitoring the compliance verification of the program’s monitored children in Mabini National Highschool in Brgy. Mabini, Corcuera, Romblon.  Since she came from a poor family who depends on farming to finance their needs, she understands the challenges that the students have to face especially in financing their education. Therefore, she was glad when she was assigned as the Pantawid focal since she will be able to take part in the program’s advocacy in keeping children in school through provision of financial assistance.

“Napakalaking responsibilidad para sa akin ang maging isang focal ng programa dahil kinakailangan kong siguruhin na maayos na natatanggap ng mga batang ito ang tulong mula sa programa sa pamamagitan ng pagmomonitor ko ng attendance nila sa kanilang mga klase, (Being a focal of the program is a big responsibility for me because I need to ensure that the children will properly receive the aide from the program through monitoring their attendance to their classes),” Geralyn said. “Kaya naman hindi ko lamang silang gustong tulungan na makatanggap ng kumpletong cash grant kundi gusto ko rin silang tulungang mapabuti ang kanilang pag-aaral sa pamamagitan ng pagtuturo ko at ibang mga proyekto ko para sa kanila (That’s why I want to help them not only to receive their complete cash grants but also help them with their studies through my teachings and the different projects I develop for them)”, she added.

Through Geralyn, the 4Ps club in Mabini National High School was established and Pantawid student beneficiaries were prioritized in receiving other services that their school offers. Aside from mobilizing the student beneficiaries in participating actively in school and community activities, the club was also created to better monitor the compliance of the students to the program conditionalities.

 

Beyond Duty

In 2016, Geralyn was assigned by their school Principal, Ronald Famodulan as the Pantawid focal. “Nakitaan ko siya ng malasakit sa pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng mga estudyante dahil sa pangunguna niya sa aming proyektong, ‘Adopt-A-Child Program’ kaya siya ang napili kong coordinator (I saw how she cares for our students in attending to their needs due to her management in our project, ‘Adopt-A-Child Program that’s why I assigned her to become the coordinator),” Mr. Famodulan said.  As the coordinator of the said project, which was the initiative of the former principal of the school, she encourages the alumni of the school to become sponsors of children, whose grades are not lower than 85%, to help them with their financial needs. As much as she wants to help more students, there are only limited slots since there are limited numbers of sponsors hence, the students undergo screening to identify the deserving students. Currently, 24 out of 46 grantees of the project are Pantawid beneficiaries.

Geralyn believes that part of her responsibility as a focal is to ensure the welfare of the students through helping them appreciate the importance of education in attaining a better future.  Because of this, she is determined to exert efforts to help these children in uplifting their lives as well as their families.

Mahalaga na malaman ng mga bata ang kahalagahan ng edukasyon kaya kailangang bigyan sila ng motibasyon para ipagpatuloy ang pag-aaral at magtiwala rin sa kanilang sarili, (It is important for the children to understand the importance of education that’s why we need to motivate them to continue their studies and to become confident with themselves),” Geralyn said. This has inspired her to establish the 4Ps Club in 2018 to organize the 412 student beneficiaries of their school in strengthening the advocacy of the program. Through this club, Geralyn aims to strengthen the sense of responsibility and leadership of the students as well as boost their confidence of being a Pantawid beneficiary.

Geralyn organized the student beneficiaries of Pantawid to create the 4Ps club in 2018

Sa pamamagitan po ng 4Ps club, mas naging proud na po kaming mga estudyante na maging benepisyaryo ng 4Ps dati po kasi ay may mga nahihiya ‘pag sinasabing sila ay 4Ps (Through 4Ps club, we became more proud to be a beneficiary of 4Ps since before, there were students who were intimidated to tell others that they are beneficiaries of the program),” said Trisha Fampo, the president of the club.

The students nominated their officers and each grade level have their own representatives to make it easier for them to gather the members and keep them updated of the activities and the program’s advocacies. The club conducted a community clean-up drive and created an herbal nursery in school, which were all coordinated and organized by the officers of the club.

“Kami po ang nakikipag-usap sa Department of Agriculture para sa mga seeds o kaya sa barangay para sa iba pa naming mga kailangan (We coordinate with the Department of Agriculture for the seeds or with the barangay for the other things that we need),” Trisha said. According to her, the club has inspired them not only to become better students but also become better members of the community.

For Geralyn, the club has also become a great help for her as Pantawid focal since she is able to better monitor the compliance of the student beneficiaries as well as somewhat solve issues on non-compliance. “Mayroon silang peer counselling sa kanilang mga kaklase na hindi pumapasok o kaya naman ay palaging nagcucutting (They conduct peer counselling with their fellow classmates who have issues on absenteeism or on cutting classes),” said Geralyn. It has allowed students to easily seek help to their fellow classmates or beneficiaries and provide listening and support for those problematic students.

“Kapag may mga kapwa benepisyaryo po kami na nahihirapan na at hindi na po namin makausap, nirerefer na po namin ito kay Ma’am (When there are fellow beneficiaries who are having difficulties which we cannot handle, we refer it to our teacher),” said Trisha. She added that the officers of the club also coordinate with the Pantawid municipal staff in conducting counselling to the non-compliant beneficiaries.

The club has gained support of the school since it has also helped them in decreasing the numbers of students who are dropping out. “Dahil majority ng aming eskwelahan ay 4Ps beneficiaries, sa tulong ng mga pagmomonitor sa mga bata, bumababa ang kaso ng drop out sa amin (Since majority of our students are beneficiaries of 4Ps, the monitoring conducted has helped in the decrease of students who are dropping out of our school),” said Mr. Famodulan.

After a year of its establishment, the Municipal staff of Pantawid in Corcuera was inspired to introduce to other schools in their municipality the organization of a 4Ps club  for the next academic year through their meeting this May. On March 2019, Mabini National High School recorded a 96.60% compliance rate where 14 students were non-compliant.

 

Becoming an Inspiration

“Si Ma’am Geralyn ang nagbigay sa akin ng lakas na loob na kayanin ang isang pagiging lider sa lahat ng mga benepisyaryo ng 4Ps sa aming eskwelahan (It was Ma’am Geralyn who has given me the confidence to become a leader of all 4Ps beneficiaries in our school),” said Trisha. Trisha was able to develop her leadership because of being the president of the club since it was Teacher Geralyn who believed in her.

According to Mr. Famodulan, one of the greatest characteristics of Geralyn is her ability to inspire students to reach greater heights of performance and success. In fact, as the Grade 10 adviser, she has been able to motivate all of her students to graduate with honors for two consecutive years already.

Teacher Geralyn ensures that her students are inspired and motivated to finish their studies to achieve their dreams in life

Geralyn was motivated to extend efforts to the beneficiaries of the program because she understood the objectives of the program in educating the children. With her strong dedication and passion to help them, she is driven to continue helping the program towards attaining its objectives.

For Geralyn, it is not important to be recognized and appreciated as long as she does things which can benefit other people.

Through being a Pantawid focal, Geralyn said that she was able to be given a chance to use and develop her skills as a teacher to open the eyes of the children in understanding the importance of education in improving their lives, their families, and their community. With this, Geralyn assured that she will continue in becoming an inspiration to the students and in helping them achieve their dreams. ###

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The Inspiring Ride of Mighty Mc Dommel: Student-Turned-Instructor of San Teodoro

“Noong bata ako, hindi ko napapansin na may kapansanan ako. Noon na lamang po na lumalaki ako hindi na ako sinasali sa mga field demonstration. Nakikita ko ‘yung mga kaklase ko sumasali sa street dancing,” narrated the 34-year old Mc Dommel Aldaba of San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro.

Mc Dommel was stricken by poliomyelitis or polio, an infectious viral disease that can cause foot deformities or worse permanent paralysis, at nine months old. Being the firstborn of the family, his parents feared for his condition. They were clueless how it happened and why it had to be their son to be affected. They weren’t prepared for the medication. More than that, they were never emotionally prepared for the possibility of their son being bullied in the future. “Hindi naman po ako nakaranas ng sobrang pambu-bully. Noon na lamang po na nag-highschool ako, hatid sundo ako ng tatay ko. ‘Dun ako nakaranas na ma-bully. Kaya ‘dun ako nag-aral magbike. ‘Yung tatay ko kasi laging nasasangkot sa gulo dahil nawi-witness niya ‘yung pambu-bully sa akin. Nakakapanakit siya ng estudyante kaya nagpursigi talaga ako mag-aral magbike,” said Mc Dommel.

Mc Dommel started to feel the effect of polio during his adolescence period. “Hindi na po kinakaya ng binti ko ‘yung upper body weight kaya nananakit na mga tuhod ko ‘nun,” he narrated. He consulted a doctor if he needed to use crutches, but his doctor did not allow him since it may cause muscle buildup, leading to heavier upper body weight. Instead, he was advised to continue biking as a form of leg exercise. He has already traveled using his bike from San Teodoro to Puerto Galera, which has a distance of approximately 21 kilometers. “Sinet ko na sa isip ko na kelangan patuloy ko gamitin ‘yung binti ko. Na-res earch ko na ‘yung mga nalulumpo dahil sa aksidente kaya lumiliit mga binti nila kasi hindi nila nagagamit. Nagkakaroon ng muscle loss. Para ma-delay ang process, kelangan mag-exercise. Biking lang talaga hanggang maaari every three days na long ride. Malaking bagay. Dati nakakarami ako ng pahinga then eventually nakayanan ko na derecho na walang pahinga dahan-dahan lang para ‘di mabigla,” he said.

Mc Dommel completed a two-year course in Calapan City, an associate degree in Technology major in Electronics. “After gumraduate, nasimulan naman po itong aming negosyo kaya kulang po ang maghapon para makapag-entertain pa ako ng mga repairs,” he narrated. “Actually hindi po ako aware na may ganyang program [skills training] dahil abala po ako dito sa kabuhayan namin, sa paggawa ng pork barbecue. From morning to evening, gawa lang po kami ng gawa dito. Bukas po ang tindahan namin sa hapon,” he shared. Then one day, the secretary of the focal person of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in San Teodoro informed him that there was an opening of training on electronics. He applied for it and successfully became a trainee.

Mc Dommel, along with 26 other participants in the first batch, trained for 33 days under the Wellcare Institute of Science and Technology (WIST), the official partner and service provider of SLP. His skills expanded when he became a trainee of SLP. He learned product assembly, power supply, troubleshooting, and CCTV installation. “Nung nag-aaral po kasi ako more on troubleshooting lang kami. ‘Nung nag-EPAS ako, dun lang po ako na-expose. Mas nahimay po sakin ‘yung detalye. Although may background po ako sa electronics bago sumali sa SLP, marami pa din ang naging bago sa aking experience dahil matagal din akong hindi nakapag-practice,” he shared.

Student-Turned-Instructor in an Instant

Mc Dommel recounted how he felt before graduating. “Noong matatapos na po ang training namin, ibinalita na po sa amin na lahat ng trainees after makalusot sa medical exam ay made-deploy as OJTs sa Laguna. Nalungkot po ako noon dahil ‘yung mga classmates ko made-deploy as OJT tapos ako balik dito,” shared Mc Dommel.

Right after receiving his Electronics and Product Assembly Servicing National Certificate II (EPAS NC II), WIST offered him a teaching position as an assistant instructor for the succeeding batches of EPAS which he gladly accepted. He did not expect this kind of opportunity to come his way. “Naging napakabilis ng flow of events kasi trainee biglang naging instructor. ‘Nung una may kasamang kaba dahil first time ko po made-deploy sa malayo. Sa Mansalay. Bale mga 100 kilometers po ang layo mula sa San Teodoro. Ang training period ay 33 days,” he narrated. His first teaching class included out-of-school youths, undergraduates, and housewives. After this batch, WIST offered another assignment to him in Pangasinan where he worked for almost four months.

Mc Dommel expressed his sincerest gratitude for giving him the opportunity to grow in his chosen career. “Napakalaking bagay po as experience aside po sa nagkaroon ako ng additional skills ay nagkaroon din po ako ng pagkakataon na makapagturo sa mga bata, mga out-of-school youth, nagkaroon po ng mga bagong kaibigan sa ibat-ibang lugar, at higit sa lahat ay nakatulong sa pamilya,” he said when asked on the impact of the program to his life.

More that these, he became more involved in the community. He has explored his leadership skills. “Hindi ako aware sa samahan, hindi talaga ako mahilig maki-involve sa mga community activities hanggang sa na-appoint ako na president ng PWD dito sa barangay namin. Lately lang ako nagiging active. Nayaya ako ng focal person namin na umattend sa Calapan sa assembly ng mga PWD sa kapitolyo,” he said.

This opportunity helped Mc Dommel to save some amount of money. Also, he was able to buy things he needed for his condition such as cane. “Yung tungkod na ginagamit ko po ay pahiram lang sa’kin ni Madam Makiss [DSWD staff]. ‘Nung nakaipon-ipon po nakabili na din ako ng sarili kong tungkod,” Mc Dommel narrated. He was also able to save some money since he started as an instructor.

Sustainable Livelihood Program provides access to employment opportunities to people like Mc Dommel who belongs to the disadvantaged sector of the society. Mc Dommel represents people with disabilities who do not succumb to their condition, rather push their limits to become better at what they do. ###

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Bridging Pantawid Community towards Good Health

Nelly Lusterio was awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal on Health of Pantawid Pamilya MIMAROPA

Binigyan tayo ng pagkakataong makatulong sa iba, kaya nararapat lang na gawin na natin ito nang buong puso at sa abot nang ating makakaya (We were given the opportunity to help others so we must do it wholeheartedly and with all our best),” said Nelly T. Lusterio, who makes this her personal mantra to continue doing her best in helping the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries in Bansud, Oriental Mindoro in improving their quality of life through complying to the health conditionalities of the program.

Aside from serving as a Midwife III in Bansud Health Station, Nelly was assigned as the Pantawid focal on health in the municipality since the start of the program in 2009. Throughout her years in service, she assures that the beneficiaries of the program will receive the right health services and attain knowledge on the significance of availing these services especially the Indigenous People (IP) beneficiaries who constitute a great portion of the families she monitors.

“Ako man ay hindi rin nakakaangat sa buhay, isang karangalan para sa akin ang mabigyan ng tulong sa kahit maliit na paraan sa mga pamilyang ito (I may not also be affluent in life, but it is an honor to be of help to these families even in a simple way),” she said.

Nelly is motivated to assist the beneficiaries of the program through exerting efforts in ensuring that the they comply to its conditionalities since she understands how important it is for these poor families to receive not only the complete financial assistance from the program but also to obtain the health services that they need to improve the health condition of their family. She provides services to the Pantawid beneficiaries not only because it is her duty as a health practitioner but also because she understands that provision of health care to the poor families is important in providing better lives for them, coming from a low class of the society, herself.

 

Descent

Nelly was born and raised in Sinait, Ilocos Sur. Her father was a farmer while her mother was a housewife who takes care of her and her younger brother.

Mahirap din ang aming buhay noon bilang umaasa lamang kami sa pagsasaka ng aking ama. Tuwing anihan lamang nakakaipon ang aming mga magulag para sa aming pang-araw-araw at sa aming pag-aaral (Our life was also difficult before since we only rely on our father through farming. It is only during harvest seasons that our parents can save money for our daily needs and for our education),” Nelly narrated.

Though they are only a small family, it had been difficult for her parents to finance their education. But through her dedication and her parent’s hard work, she was able to graduate at St. Rita School of Nursing and Midwifery in Metro Manila with a course in Midwifery. She was also fortunate to study Bachelor of Science in Community Health at the Trinity College of Quezon City through the help of the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP).

After graduating, she met Erwin Lusterio and got married to him in 1984. Since then, they lived in Bansud, Oriental Mindoro, together with their three daughters.

To practice what she had studied Nelly applied for work in Bansud Health Station, where she has developed a strong dedication in providing health services to those in need.

Makikitaan si Tita Nelly ng kaniyang dedikasyon sa trabaho sa attitude pa lamang nya sa pagtanggap ng tungkulin at sa pagbigay ng serbisyo sa nangangailangan (Tita Nelly’s dedication towards her work can be seen through her attitude in accepting her responsibilities and in providing services to those in need),” said Dr. Mario O. Sales, their Municipal Health Officer. According to him, Nelly continuously provide her service even after office hours whenever she will be visited or consulted at home.

Nagsimula ako na mayroong maliit lamang na sweldo pero pinagpatuloy ko iyon dahil masaya ako sa aking ginagawa (I started with only a small compensation for my work, but I continued working because I am happy with what I do),” she said. They would visit remote sitios to offer health services especially that there are many IP communities in the area. They would walk 5 kilometers from one sitio to another to visit the IPs just to ensure their availment of health services.

“Doon din siguro nagmula ang motibasyon ko para tulungan sila dahil nakikita ko mula sa mga pagbisita namin sa kanilang komunidad kung gaano kahirap ang buhay doon at kung anong serbisyo ang maari naming maibigay sa kanila (Maybe that’s where my motivation in helping them started since I was able to see their situation during our community visits which determines what services we can give to them),” Nelly said.

Although her job requires her to spend more time and effort, Nelly’s family has been supportive to what she does and is proud of her for her commitment towards it. They understand the responsibilities of their mother since there are people going to their house to consult to her. If she’s not at home and her patients go there to seek for health assistance, her children will immediately call her so she can provide immediate response.

 

Compassion

Nelly is seen to be responsible, hard-working, and empathic towards the people she serves. Because of these traits, she was assigned as the Pantawid focal for health in 2009 when the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program started through the recommendation of Dr. Sales. According to him, because of her character, Nelly has already established her relationship with their patients. “Isa sa mga best characteristics nya ay may malasakit sya sa aming pasyente. Madali syang pakisamahan at approachable sa katutubo man or sa Tagalog (One of her best characteristics is she has concern to our patients. She is also easy to get along with and approachable to IPs or the Tagalos),” he said. Because of this, he knows that Nelly will be the best candidate for being a coordinator of the program.

As the focal on health, she ensures that the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya avail health services that they need

As Pantawid focal on health, she ensures that the beneficiaries comply on the health conditionalities of the program such as in getting regular preventive health check-ups and vaccines of children 0-5 years of age, getting deworming pills twice a year of children aged 6-14 years old, getting pre-natal care and post-natal care of pregnant women, and delivering of pregnant women by a skilled birth attendant.

“Simula nang ako ay naging Pantawid Focal Person, mas naging matibay ang aking kagustuhan na matulungan ang aking mga kababayan na higit na nangangailang ng tulong pangkalusugan (Since I have become a Pantawid Focal Person, the urge in me to help others in need of health assistance strengthened),” she said.

More than her duty in monitoring the Compliance Verification forms of the beneficiaries, she conducts home visitation to beneficiaries who are non-compliant to follow-up on the reason of non-compliance and to explain to them the importance of the program and its advocacies on helping them through investing on health and nutrition of their families.

One case she handled on non-compliance was a pregnant Mangyan couple who did not avail pre-natal services and did not want to deliver her baby in the health center due to their beliefs. She tried to persuade the couple to go to the center because the condition of the woman is sensitive and critical which may be life threatening to both herself and the baby if she was to give birth at home. After continuously trying, she was able to convince them. “Lubos ang pasasalamat sa akin ng lalaki noon dahil kung hindi ko daw sila sinabihan ay baka kung ano ang masamang nangyari sa kanyang asawa (The husband was extremely grateful because if I did not urge them, an unfortunate event might happen to her wife),” narrated Nelly. Since then, the couple convinced other IP couples to deliver their babies in the health center to ensure their safety.

Sumasama ako sa mga FDS upang maibahagi ang kahalagahan ng kalusugan at upang magbigay na rin ng updates sa mga benepisyaryong minomonitor ko lalo sa sa mga IP area (I join FDS to discuss the importance of health and to provide updates on the beneficiaries that I monitor especially in the IP areas),” she said. Nelly initiated efforts in visiting IP communities together with the barangay health workers (BHW) to educate them on family planning and ensuring the health of their children by availing check-ups especially for pregnant women. She encourages them to give birth at the health center to ensure safe delivery of their babies.

As a midwife, she collaborates with BHWs to identify who are pregnant to encourage beneficiaries to give birth in the health facilities to avoid pregnant women giving birth at home to lessen maternal and infant death, as well as morbidity cases.

Nelly ensures that the beneficiaries she caters are compliant to the conditionalities of the program

Ang maging isang Pantawid focal sa kalusugan ay napakalaking responsibilidad. Sa kabila ng dami ng aking trabaho, sinisiguro ko na nagagampanan ko at natutugunan ang aking responsibilidad sa mga batang Pantawid at mga miyembro nito (Being a Pantawid focal on health is a great responsibility. Despite my workload, I ensure that I fulfill and meet my responsibilities towards the Pantawid children beneficiaries and its members),” Nelly said.

Kumpara sa ibang mga focals na nagsheshade lang [ng CV forms], makikitaan si Tita Nelly ng concern sa mga benepisyaryo. Kung hindi niya masolusyunan ang non-compliance ng isang benepisyaryo, sisiguraduhin niyang ilapit muna sa amin ito bago niya gawing non-compliant sa form (Compared to other focals who only shade [CV forms], Tita Nelly has sincere concern for the beneficiaries. If she cannot solve the non-compliance of beneficiaries, she will make sure to bring the issue to us before listing them as non-compliant),” said Municipal Link Mary Joy M. Singsing in Bansud. According to Joy, Nelly has positive attitude towards the beneficiaries of the program which has helped her to easily encourage them to comply with the conditionalities on health even with the IPs, who find it difficult to visit health center due to their distance and due to their cultural beliefs. Because of this, beneficiaries in the areas she monitors have achieved a 100% compliance rate on health for 2 years.

 

Continuity

“Hangga’t andito ako, patuloy kong gagampanan ang aking responsibilidad bilang Pantawid focal para sa mga benepisyaryo ng Pantawid (As long as I am still here, I will continue perform my responsibilities as a Pantawid focal for the beneficiaries of the program)”, Nelly said.

“Masaya akong nagiging parte ako ng pagbabago sa kanilang buhay kahit sa maliit lamang na bagay na ibinibigay ko (I am happy to be part of the changes in their lives even with the simple things I give them),” she added.

According to her, she finds joy in the assistance she gives towards the beneficiaries of the program and she will never get tired of promoting the importance of health as part of the improvement of their lives. ###

 

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Quenching the Thirst to Progress: A barangay in Balabac, Palawan’s journey towards clean, potable water

When the water services in Metro Manila were suddenly cut off early March in 2019, a fiasco ensued.

Residents from all walks of life lined up for water. Social media were saturated with disappointed, angry comments, just like how the streets of the nation’s capital were suddenly filled with rows of water containers, pails, and just about anything that could hold the precious liquid.

But in one of the barangays in the island municipality of Balabac, Palawan, the recent scenario in Metro Manila was the norm – up until the community, Local Government Unit (LGU), and Kalahi-CIDSS project of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) worked hand in hand for the completion of a water system.

Shallow Wells

PUBLIC WELLS.  Prior to the completion of Level II Gravity-Fed Water System of Brgy. Poblacion 1, Balabac, Palawan, residents could be seen lining up to fetch water from shallow wells.

The municipality of Balabac, the southernmost town of the province and westernmost point of the Philippines, is gradually becoming famous for its Maldives-like pristine waters and white sand beaches. Unknown to many however, the town is facing one of the usual but probably the most challenging problem for islands – the scarcity of clean water.

From capital city Puerto Princesa, a trip to Balabac means a four-hour land travel to barangay Rio Tuba in Bataraza. Reaching the port past 8 AM, however, would most of the time guarantee another night’s stay near the area. The tickets for the two passenger boats sell like pancakes. Not surprising though since only these two trips daily cater for the municipality’s 40, 142* residents.

After more or less 4 hours of travel along Balabac Strait and parts of Sulu Sea, Balabac Island, which is only around 50 kilometers to Sabah, Malaysia, would be reached. There, near the gateway to the island lies Barangay Poblacion 1, the island’s center of commerce and government activity.

Poblacion 1, or Pob 1, as people fondly call the area, not just houses the Municipal Hall, the Rural Health Unit and the National Power Corporation, but also the home of some shallow wells – the resident’s source of water.

Holes ranging from 2 to 4 meters deep could be seen near the roadside. Just wide enough for a pail to be brought up and down, these wells provide the residents water for doing their laundry, for washing the dishes, and for quenching their thirst.

The problem though was that these shallow wells weren’t producing abundant water enough to supply the demands of the barangay. On bad days, the residents could only fill one pail every 30 minutes.

Jonathan Montalba, 38, recalled the usual scenario every summer season, the time of the year where the minimal water from the wells became even harder to fetch.

“Oras na ganitong tag-init minsan hindi nakakatulog yung mga tao sa kababantay ng tubig kasi pila pila [During summer, residents sometimes didn’t get to sleep since the queue for fetching the water were longer than usual),” said Montalba, a community volunteer.

In fact, there was a time that he had to queue for 20 hours just to bring home water enough to make their 30-gallon container half-full.

“Ang hindi ko talaga makalimutan ay yung mag-iigib ako dun sa may Brgy. Poblacion 2, tapos inaabot pa ako ng alas-kwatro ng madaling araw magbantay kasi ang daming nakapila. Pumunta ako dun ng 8 o’clock ng umaga (I really couldn’t forget the time when I fetched water near barangay Poblacion 2 and I ended up going home at 4AM. I went there at  8 AM the previous day),” he added.

The 15-gallon water Montalba had fetched was used to wash dishes, for cooking, and for drinking.  Fortunately his family owns a piece of land in another barangay near the river.

THE COST OF WATER. For the residents of Barangay Poblacion 1, filling a gallon of water could mean losing sleep and and getting into heated argumantes.

“Tapos ung panglaba, pangligo, dumadayo pa kami sa bukid. Sa brgy 6 naman kami umuuwi kasi  may bukid kami dyan. Dun na kami naliligo, dun na kami naglalaba, pag umuuwi kami ng bukid, dinadala na namin ung labahin namin doon (For laundry and taking a bath, we go to our farm in Brgy. Poblacion 6. There is a river there),” said Montalba.

But not all 374 residents of Barangay Poblacion 1 were as stark lucky as Montalba. Most of them, aside from those who have their own private wells and those who could afford paying PHP200 for a drum of water, were reliant to the public wells for all their water needs.

And when the heat of the weather clashed with the thirsty residents of the barangay, misundertandings were inevitable.

“Dati nagbabaranggayan pa yan, nagsusuntukan dahil lang sa tubig, nagmumurahan dahil sa tubig (Before, there were cases of heated arguments and fist-fighting just because of water. People were even cursing each other),” said Montalba.

Making and sustaining the “Oasis”

Since November 2018, the residents of Barangay Poblacion 1 were no longer clawing their way through the long queues of pails and containers waiting for their turns. When the Level II Gravity-Fed Water System was finally operational, the residents no longer have to line up for hours for water just enough for their families’ drinking needs.

Now, the residents can enjoy clean water from 14 tap-stands situated within the barangay.

But what has changed in the barangay that led them to find a solution to the generation-aged problem?

When the Kalahi-CIDSS program of DSWD went to Balabac, the Local Government Units, from municipal down to barangay level, community volunteers, and the community members did not let the opportunity of finally addressing their most pressing problem pass.

Montalba, and the rest of the community volunteers, poured all their dedication and commitment to the program since the start of the sub-project. They gave their efforts, time, and even used a part of their meagre income just to make clean water adequate and accessible to their fellow ka-barangays.

It wasn’t an easy process, Montalba recalled.

Documents had to be submitted on time, barangay assemblies had to be conducted to get the people’s decision, and materials have to be procured. And although DSWD staff were there to guide them, the community volunteers were the lead in every step of the way.

As an island municipality, procurement of materials for the construction of the water system became a problem.

“Doon talaga kami nahirapan sa paghahanap ng supplier kasi naka-ilang beses kaming nagbigay ng quotation, walang nagku-quote. Kasi ang layo nga naman ng Puerto Princesa sa Balabac (When we were looking for supplier, that was when we had it difficult. Nobody was giving quotations because Puerto Princesa is really far from Balabac),” said Montalba.

Excluding waiting time, the travel from Puerto Princesa to Balabac is more or less 9 hours on good days. Rainy and typhoon seasons, completely paint a different picture.

But the volunteers didn’t lose hope and found a strategy.

“Ang ginawa namin hinati-hati namin. ‘Di ba kasi dapat ‘pag kumukha ng supplier deliver on site? Ang ginawa namin, hinati namin yun, nagkuha kami ng supplier, nagkuha din kami ng transpo. Kasi kung isasagot pa yung transpo doon sa supplier, ‘di nila papatusin (It should have been deliver on site, right? But what we did was we find a supplier, and we pay another entity for the transportation. We figured that if we wouldn’t be able to find a supplier who would shoulder the transportation expenses),” said Montalba.

And with that, the construction of the water system was completed.

Now, the volunteers from Barangay Poblacion 1 is making sure every household in their barangay gets enough water.

With the creation of Poblacion One Water System Association (POWSA), an organized group of community volunteers who manages the water system, a scheduling of on and off hours per tap-stand is in placed to ensure proper distribution of water.

For Montalba, however, the Kalahi-CIDSS program gave them more than just clean water.

“Hindi na nagkakaaway-away, kung mayroong problemang ganyan [hindi nakaka-igib], lumalapit na agad sila sa kung sinong nakatoka doon (Misunderstandings between neighbors have stopped. If someone was not able to fetch water, they immediately file their complaints through proper channel),” said Montalba.

The water system indeed gave the barangay the clean water they’ve been dying to have and the system that makes their relationship to each other better.

Now, residents of Barangay Poblacion 1 no longer line up for hours. They no longer have to manually bring a pail up and down the well. They can now sleep peacefully at night knowing that there’s enough water in their containers, and the feeling of thirst is just in passing and can easily be quenched. #

 

*data from 2015 census

Note: The Level II Gravity-Fed Water System of Brgy. Poblacion 1, Balabac, Palawan is one of the sub-projects of Kalahi-CIDSS program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Through the Community-Driven Development approach, the said sub-project was identified, implemented, and owned by the community.

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349,686 poor individuals are unemployed in MIMAROPA

Quick statistics on the labor force of poor individuals in the MIMAROPA region.

MALATE, Manila– According to the 2015 Listahanan Database, of the identified 665,564 poor individuals aged 15 years old and above in MIMAROPA, 52.54% or 349,686 individuals are unemployed and only 46.46% or 315,878 are in the labor force.

Listahanan is a government mechanism to identify who and where the poor are nationwide spearheaded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The database further reveals in Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan provinces the primary occupations of poor individuals are as follows:
1. Agricultural Workers with 12.72% or 84,639 individuals;
2. Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Laborers with 10.01% or 66,613 individuals;
3. Fishery Workers with 6.99% or 46,523 individuals;
4. Cleaners and Helpers with 4.66 % or 30,998 individuals;
5. Mining, Construction, Manufacturing laborers with 3.88% or 25,823 individuals;

6. Personal Service Workers with 1.31% or 8,695 individuals; and
7. Building and Related Trades Workers with 1.17% or 7,776 individuals

Furthermore, Palawan province posted the highest percentage of unemployed poor with 54.0% or 146,471, followed by Romblon with 53.1% or 36,100 individuals; Oriental Mindoro with 52.9% or 88,393 individuals; Marinduque with 49.8% or individuals or 22,411 individuals; and Occidental Mindoro with 49.3% or 56,311 individuals.

In terms of municipal level, three towns in Romblon posted the highest percentage of unemployed poor namely San Fernando with 64.7% or 4,338 individuals; San Jose with 61.2% or 1,952 individuals; and Calatrava with 61.0% or 1,735 individuals. On the other hand, Taytay Palawan has 59.3% or 14,687 poor individuals; and El Nido has 59.3% or 6,247 individuals.

This Listahanan statistics is in observance of the Labor Day today, May 1.###

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