Pantawid Pamilya conducts Family Day Congress in Torrijos Marinduque

Family Day Congress in Torrijos Marinduque

Torrijos, Marinduque – More than 400 beneficiaries gathered on September 8, 2018, Saturday in Torrijos Municipal Covered Court, Torrijos, Marinduque to attend the Family Day Congress 2018 of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office MIMAROPA with the theme “Pamilyang Pilipino: Nagsusumikap, Nagtutulungan, Nagtatagumpay”. Families from the 25 barangays of Torrijos joined the event, which employed a combination of methods of fun-filled activities and plenary and individual/group discussions to infuse positive life-affirming event for the members of the family.

Mr. Primo Pamintuan, Board Member for Mayor in Torrijos, Marinduque welcomed the beneficiaries of the program to officially start the event. Through the support of the Local Government Unit of Torrijos and the Local Government Unit of Marinduque, the activity was successfully conducted.

In order to ensure a festive vibe, the event was filled with booths and stalls from the different partner agencies of the program such as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Marinduque Police Office which offer free services to the beneficiaries. Other than services from the partner agencies, the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office of Torrijos through Ms. Mary Anne Larracas, MSWDO, set up a Kiddie Corner to offer children toys and free ice cream during the conduct of event. The Pantawid staff, on the other hand, set up a Games Corner which let children and adult play different games such as pabitinpalayok, and other simple ball games. A photo booth was also set up to help the families commemorate the event.

One group sharing their output during the the first part of the discussion

The event was divided into discussion part in the morning and the family day fair in the afternoon.

Pastor Francisco De Jesus of the Norwegian Mission Alliance, one of the CSO partners of the program led the discussion proper on topics: 1)”Ano ang Masayang Pamilya”; and 2.) “Paano masosolusyunan ang di Pagkakaunawaan sa Pamilya”. On the first discussion, all families were grouped into 20 groups and were tasked to illustrate what defines a happy family. Meanwhile, on the second discussion, the parents, teens, and children were separated to discuss the second topic using film showing for the children, role playing for the teens, and plenary discussion for the parents.

On the afternoon, the Family Day Fair commenced to conduct the three major contests of the event such as the Gulayan Cooking Contest, Collage-Making Contest, and the Recycled Art Contest. The Gulayan Cooking Contest were participated by five (5) families. Since the program is strengthening backyard garden of its beneficiaries, all vegetables used in the contest were picked from the backyard garden of the family or their communal garden. The challenge was to prepare a nutritious meal with vegetables as their main ingredient. For the Collage-Making Contest, the eight (8) families who participated created a collage about the theme of the event. Meanwhile, the ten (10) families who participated on the Recycled Art Contest used 80% recyclable or trash materials which they collected to create a material which can be used at home.

Simultaneously, while the three contests were being conducted, other families played Filipino games such as putukan na, rice planting, spoon feeding, egg relay, balloon relay, race around chairs,  calamansi relay, and balloon relay. All booths were open on the afternoon hence, those families who did not join the games can visit them.

Cooperation of the family members during the Gulayan Cooking Contest

According to DSWD MIMAROPA Regional Director, “mahalagang magkaroon ng isang pagdiriwang ang pamilya tulad nitong Family Day Congress upang mapagtibay natin ang kanilang komunikasyon at suporta sa bawat isa, maging responsableng miyembro ng pamilya, at mapagtanto ang kahalagahan ng isang pamilya (it is important to conduct activities such as the Family Day Congress to strengthen communication and support of the family members to each other, to become a responsible member, and to understand the importance of a family).”

Ating hinihikayat ang bawat pamilya na magkaroon ng bukas na komunikasyon sa kanilang tahananan at magsagawa ng iba pang gawain na makatutulong upang mas mapagtibay ang kanilang samahan (we encourage all families to have open communication in their houses and to conduct other activities which can help them strengthen their relationship),” she added. ###

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Pantawid Pamilya visits Tau’t Bato Tribe in Palawan

IP beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries from Sitio Signapan attends FDS

On May 21-25, 2018, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program visited the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of Brgy. Ransang, Rizal, Palawan.

Before going to Sitio Signapan to meet with the Tau’t Bato tribe beneficiaries, the team stayed for a night in Sitio Ogis where they met Panlima Eldino Goling, one of the tribal leaders in the community. Panlima Eldino, a program beneficiary under RCCT, shared that he was originally from the Tau’t Bato tribe who decided to reside at the foothill of the mountain. According to him, it was hard for the tribe to access health care and education because of their distance hence he decided to build a permanent home in Sitio Ogis with his family.

Pantawid Pamilya with IP beneficiary before going to Sitio Signapan

Since malaria cases are rampant in their area, two of Panlima Eldino’s children became volunteer health workers who conduct Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) through the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria (KLM) program. Panlima Eldino also sought assistance to KLM to help him build health center and daycare center in his own land. Already on process, Panlima Eldino initiated the construction of the centers to cater to the IPs in Sitio Ogis and to their neighboring sitios. He also started building kubol-kubol or small houses where students or families can live once the centers were built.

From Sitio Ogis, it took the team a 5-hour trek to reach Sitio Signapan. From there, they met 17 members of the Tau’t Bato tribe, who took part in the focus group discussion (FGD) led by the IP focal, Ms. Karen Uson. Since the payout was scheduled a day after the visit of the team, only few beneficiaries attended as some of them already went down from the mountains to be early for tomorrow’s payout. In the discussion conducted, it was learned that most children-grantees in the sitio attend non-formal schools and daycare centers.

Due to the distance of elementary schools in their sitio, most children, whose age grade should be in the elementary level, are likely to attend daycare centers and non-formal education. According to the parents, it is hard for them to let their children study in the lowland since they cannot monitor what they are doing and they fear that something might happen to them. Adding to that is the fact that most of their children help them in farming or kaingin. They suggested to build an elementary school situated in their sitio to make it easier for the students to go to school. Jonathan Diklay, MCCT- Social Welfare Assistant, who is also a member of the tribe, shared that they already started lobbying to the authorities to build a school in their community but the documents submitted were declined to be signed by the barangay officials due to unknown reason. It was agreed upon during the visit that the construction of school in Sitio Signapan will continue its petition with the help of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Pantawid Pamilya.

Most people of the tribe believe that education is important so that their children can learn how to read, write, and count. They believe that through education no one can take advantage of them. However, they do not consider education as a way to escape poverty or their difficult situation because of their culture. Since they are used to farming and living in the mountains, they still fear that if their children reach a higher level of learning, they will change behaviors and will not go back to their tribe again. This also affects parents’ action towards sending their children to school outside their community. ###

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DSWD MIMAROPA pilots the Unconditional Cash Transfer for social pensioners in Brooke’s Point Palawan

BROOKE’S, POINT PALAWAN – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) MIMAROPA, in partnership with Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) and Local Government Unit (LGU) of Brooke’s Point Palawan, implements the Pilot Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) for Social Pensioners, Saturday, 30 June 2018.

This is in accordance to Section 82 of Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Accelaration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law to provide cash to poor households and individuals who may not benefit from the lower income tax rates but may be adversely affected by rising process.

From three barangays of Brooke’s Point Palawan, a total of 988 Social Pensioners receive P2,371, 200 UCT cash grant.  277 Social Pensioners are from Poblacion 1; 211 from Poblacion 2; and 505 from Barangay Pangobilian.

Ang ayudang ibinibigay po namin sa inyo ngayon sa UCT ay mayroon pong kasamang pagmamahal at pagkalinga ng pamahalaan. Kayo po ay kinakalinga at inaaruga namin. Kahit gaano po kalayo ay pupuntahan naming upang mailapit sa inyo ang serbisyo ng gobyerno [The UCT cash grant that we are providing is filled with love and compassion. We will reach the unreached and the isolated in order to closely provide the services of the government],” said DSWD Regional Director Wilma D. Naviamos.


Ten million households/individuals will receive the UCT. Of this figure, three million are indigent senior citizens who are also beneficiaries of DSWD Social Pension Program which is being implemented with the help of local government units (LGUs) and social development offices

 (SDOs). Also included in the 10 million UCT beneficiaries are 4.4 million Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries. The remaining 2.6 million

households will be selected from the Listahanan or National Household Targeting System (NHTS-PR) which will go through validation.

The UCT will be implemented for three (3) years. For 2018, each family will receive P200 per month or a total of P2,400 a year through LBP Cash Cards. This will increase to P300 per month or P3,600 annually for both 2019 and 2020. ###

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Modelong Gulayan: Gulayan sa Canturoy

Ang pagkakaroon ng gulayan, ito man ay sa bakuran o sa pamayanan ay sinasabing isang pangangailangan sa kasalukuyan. Kakulangan sa pagkain at pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin ang nakikitang dahilan ng unti-unting pag-unlad ng ganitong mga gulayan. Ang gawain ring ito ay nagbibigay ng magandang pagkakataon sa mga tao sa komunidad na magsama-sama at matuto sa isa’t isa ng mga bagong kakayahan habang kanilang painauunlad ang kanilang mga pananim.

Ang Gulayan sa Barangay sa ilalim ng bio-intensive gardening na inisyatibo ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program ay isa rin sa nagpapaigting ng kagustuhan ng bawat miyembro nito na magsagawa ng kanilang sariling gulayan sa bakuran o sama-samang magsagawa ng gulayan sa kanilang barangay. Naglalayon itong magkaroon ng masustansiyang pagkain sa hapag-kainan ang bawat pamilya sa komunidad hindi lamang ang mga benepisyaryo nito at magbigay din ng alternatibong pagkakakitaan ang mga miyembro ng programa. Ang pagtatagumpay ng gulayan ay nakasalalay sa partisipasyon at pakikiisa ng bawat miyembro ng cluster sanhi ng magandang dulot at kahalagahan nito sa kanilang mga pamilya at pamumuhay.

Ang bayan ng Rizal sa lalawigan ng Occidental Mindoro ay malugod na niyakap ang panukalang gulayan sa komunidad ng Pantawid Pamilya. Nangunguna sa pagiimplementa rito ay ang Canturoy Community Garden.


Pagtutulungan at Pagkakaisa

Ang gulayan sa Sitio Canturoy, Brgy. Manoot, Rizal ay binubuo ng mga cluster groups mula sa Sitio Amaling II, Sitio Lower Canturoy, at Sitio Upper Canturoy. Enero noong taong 2017 nang nagkaisa ang mga benepisyaryo na magkaroon ng kanilang sariling gulayan sa barangay.

Binubuo ng limang cluster groups ang gulayan na ito na kinabibilangan ng mga sumusunod: Jacinto cluster na may 23 samabahayang miyembro; Gomez cluster na may 33 sambahayang miyembro; Burgos cluster na may 26 sambahayang miyembro; Zamora cluster na may 27 sambahayang miyembro; at Luna cluster na mayroong naman 27 samabhayang miyembro. Ang limang cluster groups na ito ay may mga itinalagang mga gawain na kung saan ang lahat ng miyembro ay sumusunod at regular na isinasagawa ang kanilang mga responsibilidad kagaya ng paghahanda ng pagtatanimang lupa, pagtatanim ng binhi, pagdidilig, pagdadamo, at pagsasaayos sa bakod ng gulayan.

Bagamat malaki ang bilang ng miyembro ng gulayan na ito, maayos naman na naipapatupad ang kani-kanilang tungkulin at rotation ng iskedyul ng bawat cluster. Tuwing Lunes, ang Gomez cluster ang nangangasiwa sa gulayan, na sinundan naman ng Burgos Cluster sa Martes, at Jacinto Cluster sa Miyerkules. Samantala, ang Zamora Cluster ay naka-iskedyul ng Huwebes at Biyernes naman ang mga benepisyaryo ng Luna Cluster. Ang Sabado at Linggo ay itinalaga nilang “open time schedule”, kung saan kung sino mang miyembro ang magawi sa gulayan ay siyang magdidilig ng pananim. Hindi naman nawawalan ng miyembrong magdidilig sa mga araw na iyon sapagkat bawat miyembro ay may pagkukusa at nakikiisa sa layunin ng gulayan na makapagbigay ng masustansyang pagkain ang samabhayan sa kanilang komunidad upang mapangalagaan ang kanilang mga kalusugan.

Nobyembre ng taong 2016 nang ipinagpaalam ng grupo kay Kapitan Bonifacio Custodio ang bahagi ng lupa sa Sitio Lower Canturoy sa pamamagitan ni Kagawad Emil Tamboong upang kanilang magamit na siya namang napagbigyan. Hanggang sa kasalukuyan, ang lugar ay ginagamit pa rin ng grupo sa kanilang paggtatanim.

Hirap ang grupo sa pagkuha ng tubig para sa kanilang gulayan dahil malayo ang kanilang pinagkukuhanan. Sa pag-pagkuha ng tubig, isinasakay nila ang kanilang pinag-igiban sa kariton o tricycle upang madala sa kanilang gulayan. Dahil dito, nanguna ang kanilang mga parent leaders na makapagpagawa ng water system sa kanilang lugar. Hindi lamang ang kanilang gulayan ang nakinabang dito kundi pati na rin ang Barangay Health Station, Child Development Center, Elementary School, at ang mga sambahayang nakatira sa paligid nito.

Noong Setyembre 2017, lalong nabigyang ng motibasyon ang miyembro ng gulayan noong sila ay makakuha ng 3rd Place sa gardening contest ng Rizal Local Government Unit sa pagdaraos ng Nutrition Month. Nakapagbigay ito ng inspirasyon sa kanila sapagkat nakilala ang kanilang sama-samang pagsisikap at ang kanilang patutulungan bilang isang grupo.


Pagpapalawig ng Ugnayan at Kooperasyon

Mula sa pakikipag-ugnayan at suporta ng Pantawid Pamilya, nagkaroon ng inisyatibo ang mga benepisyaryo ng programa ng bumuo ng isang proyekto na makakatulong sa pagtustos sa kanilang pangangailangan sa pagpapagawa ng kanilang water system. Ito ay ang kanilang tinatawag na MaBoteng Pamayanan Project kung saan nangolekta ang mga miyembro ng mga bote, lata, at dyaryo upang ibenta. Ang naipon nila mula rito ay kanilang ibinili ng mga materyales na kailangan sa kanilang water system.

Sa pangunguna ng kanilang Municipal Link, napagkalooban din ng training ang ilan sa mga miyembro ng grupo para sa Organic Pest Management. Ang kanilang natutunan dito ay siya rin naman nilang nagamit sa kanilang gulayan. Nagkaroon din ng Farmers Field Seminar noong Marso 2018 sa pangunguna naman ng Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) ng Rizal na nilahukan ng ga benepisyaryo ng Pantawid, kabilang ang ilang miyembro ng grupo, at pati na rin iba pang hindi benepisyaryo.

Hindi naman naging mahirap para sa gulayan sa Canturoy ang makahanap ng butong kanilang itatanim. Bukod sa mga binhi na kanilang nakukuha mula sa MAO, ang bawat isa ay nagbabahagi rin ng kanilang buto mula sa kanilang mga sari-sariling pananim sa bakuran.

Sa kasalukuyan, mayroon muling inisyatibong isinasagawa ang gulayan ng Canturoy sa pangunguna ng mga parent leaders na sina Rosalie Celestial at Lotis Arevalo. Isang proposal ang kanilang ginawa na kanilang ipinasa sa Department of Agriculture – Occidental Mindoro na naglalayon na sila ay matulungan sa kanilang pagpapatayo ng greenhouse para sa gulayan. Ang proposal na ito ay pinoproseso na upang mapagkalooban ang grupo ng materyales na kanilang kailangan para rito.


Alternatibong Pagkakakitaan

Simula noong mabuo ang gulayan ng Canturoy, nakapagtanim na sila ng 16 klaseng gulay at ilang lamang-ugat. Kalimitan sa kanilang mga tanim ay: kalabasa, talong, okra, patola, sili, malunggay, alugbati, pechay, labanos, kamote, sitaw, singakamas, mani, gabi, sibuyas, at bawang. Sa buong panahon na isinasagawa ng grupo ang pagtatanim, wala namang naitalang pagkakataon na sila ay naapektuhan ng peste o pagkabulok ng pananim. Isang matatandaang pangyayari lamang ay nitong nagdaan ang buwan ng Marso 2018, nang hindi naging maganda ang ani ng grupo sa kanilang pananim na mani, dulot ng tagtuyot, kung saan hindi lahat ng pananim ay nagkaroon ng laman sa loob. Ang ganitong sitwasyon ay sadyang hindi mapipigilan ngunit ayon sa grupo, isang biyaya na sa kanila na mayroon pa rin silang napakinabangan sa kanilang pananim sa kabila ng tindi ng tagtuyot.

Hindi man pangunahing layunin ng gulayan ang aspetong ekonomikal, sinubukan pa rin nilang magbenta ng kanilang ani. Ang presyo ng gulay sa kanilang gulayan ay di hamak na mas mababa kumpara sa presyo ng gulay sa pamilihang bayan kaya naman hindi lamang ang mga miyembro ng grupo ang mga bumibili rito kundi pati na rin ang iba pang mga naninirahan sa komunidad. Halimbawa nito ay sa isang tali ng labanos na may anim na piraso, nagkakahalaga lamang ito na P10.00. Samantala, ang pechay naman na may limang puno kada tali ay nagkakahalaga rin ng P10.00.

Ang ani noong Hunyo 2017 ay nakapagbigay sa kanila ng P480.00 at ang ani naman noong Oktubre 2017 ay nakapagbigay ng P780.00. Ang kanilang kabuuang kita na P1,260.00 mula sa kanilang napagbentahan ay idinagdag sa pondo para sa kanilang water system. Masasabing malaki na rin ang kitang ito sapagkat wala silang masyadong pinagkakagastusan sa kanilang gulayan kundi ang kanilang pagbabakod dito at ang pagbili ng trichoderma, na isang uri ng organikong pestisidyo na nagkakahalaga ng P30.00 kada kilo. Ginagamit nila ito upang sugpuin o bawasan ang sakit ng halaman.


Epekto at Dulot ng Gulayan

Maraming karagdagang kapakinabangan ang gulayan sa komunidad sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaroon ng mataas na bilang ng makukuhang masustansyang pagkain, pagpapalakas ng ugnayan ng mga miyembro ng komunidad, pagbibigay ng positibong benepisyo para sa kapaligiran, at iba pa. Ang mga nabanggit ay sya rin namang nagiging dulot ng gulayan sa Canturoy.

Nakakatuwang isipin na ang gulayang ito ay nakakapagbigay ng magandang epekto sa mga miyembro, sa kanilang mga anak, at maging sa buong komunidad. Napansin ng mga parent leaders, na sila ring nagseserbisyo bilang Barangay Health Workers, na gumaganda ang pangangatawan at estado ng kalusugan ng mga bata sa kanilang komunidad. Bagamat mayroon pa ring mga bata sa kanilang lugar na mayroong mababang timbang o kulang sa laki, isang indikasyon pa rin ito ng pagkamit ng layunin ng grupo para sa kanilang gulayan upang lubusan nang maalis ang kaso ng malnourishment sa kanilang komunidad.

Pagtulong sa kapwa – hindi inaari ng bawat miyembro na ang gulayan ay para lamang sa kanilang mga benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilya. Ito ay isang pamamaraan nila ng pagtulong sa lahat ng naninirahan sa kanilang lugar. Ang gulayan ay nagbigay ng motibasyon sa grupo upang mas mangarap na magpaunlad ng kanilang sarili upang kanilang mapaunlad din ang kanilang buong komunidad. ###


Contributed by: Arrah Grace F. Calanza, ML Rizal, Occidental Mindoro

Edited by: Maria Alyssa L. Esguerra, IO, Pantawid


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IP Beneficiaries, Engaged in Communal Gardening

The Indigenous peoples of Barangay Manihala, Sitio Palamang comprising of forty-one (41) beneficiaries from both Regular Conditional Cash Transfer (RCCT) and Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) of the Panttawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program have joined together to work hand-in-hand to organize a communal garden.

At first, beneficiaries of the said sitio have their individual backyard gardens which became a great source of vegetables for their daily consumption. They have seen positive results with regards to their health condition especially of their children. They have expressed that they do not need to buy vegetables since they can easily harvest their own from their garden and even sell some of it at times. Their determination in maintaining their individual backyard garden has led the Pantawid staff to encourage them to unitedly start their communal garden. 

With this, Pudo Paladan and Analiza Santos, both IP leaders, have led IP beneficiaries to look for an idle land which they can develop into a yielding ground. They were successful to find a land which is around half hectare and said to be owned by a non-beneficiary.

It was during the IP Consultation Dialoge cum Family day last November 6, 2017 that the IP beneficiaries received seedlings from the Department of Agriculture. They were also provided with gardening tools such as rakes, shovels, bolos, and iron bars among others. Additional seedlings and tools were provided by the Local Government Unit during an event initiated by the Municipal Mayor, Hon. Angel M. Saulong.

In January 2018, they started clearing the said idle land which took all forty-one (41) members of the group to clear and finally plant seeds for three (3) days. Most of their crops are different types of vegetables but they’ve also added corn, peanut, ginger and monggo beans.

To ease the difficulty in watering the plants, the water system provided by the Team Mission from Calapan City was extended through the unity and efforts of the members of the group. They have used up the excess hosepipes of the project and installed it near their garden. The Philippine National Police (PNP) Bansud also gave them pails and dippers which they also use in their everyday watering of their vegetables.

Regular meetings are also conducted to ensure the proper maintenance of the communal garden. Agreements were made which are religiously followed by all the members. All the forty-one (41) members were divided into seven (7) groups comprising of six (6) members each which shall have regular daily schedule of watering the plants and cultivating the plots. It was also agreed upon that if a member would not be able to do the task on his/her schedule, the said member shall pay Php 100.00 which will be used to buy food for those who will be working for that day

The group’s vision is to earn from the crops planted and to invest their income. As of the moment, the beneficiaries have expressed that they will continue to maintain their individual backyard gardens for their daily own personal consumption while the communal garden will be for the economic benefit of the group. Since the establishment of their gulayan, they have already acquired an estimated P1,000.00 for their harvest.

The Gulayan sa Barangay Project of Pantawid Pamilya has not only helped the IP beneficiaries on the aspect of health and economic condition but most especially build up camaraderie and unity of the IP beneficiaries.  It serves as a way for them to talk as a group more often and dream bigger together. ###

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Story of Tatay Wilfredo: Serving as the Pillar and the Light of the Home

A food vendor, a farmer, a hog raiser, an active church member, a Barangay Tanod, a Barangay Health Worker, an active PTA President, and a father and mother all at once – these are all of Wilfredo’s duties and responsibilities after he became a widower. Getting by with his small income from farming, he exclaims how he give his best to provide for his 6 children even without their mother.


Becoming a Solo Parent

When he was in his teenage years, Wilfredo V. Turiana, a native of Tilik, Lubang, Occidental Mindoro, decided to go to Manila to work instead of studying because his parents cannot afford to get him to school. He decided to work in a small grocery store which is owned by a relative but he did not stay long because he got sick. When he recovered his good health, he applied again for work as gasoline boy in Novaliches, Caloocan City.

At the age of 18 he met and fell in love with Marina Joy Locay who later on became her wife. In 1992, they decided to settle down in Wilfredo’s hometown in Occidental Mindoro, where they planned to build their family. They got married in a mass wedding in 1998 and were blessed with 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls. They live a simple life only depending to Wilfredo’s income from farming in sustaining the needs of their family. But an unfortunate situation happened in the year 2008 when his wife died in delivering their youngest son.

Wilfredo still reminisces those memories he has when their family is still complete. Even though they were experiencing difficulties in life, it seems to him that he has a perfect family since they are always happy together.

Working and taking care of the family alone for their children is a lot harder than Wilfredo thought. Having both the responsibility of a mother and a father, Wilfredo do household chores such as washing clothes, preparing food for his children, and cleaning the house. After that incident, Wilfredo knows that he has to find ways to ensure that he can provide the needs of his children. Hence, he continues to work hard as a farmer. He also tends to work as a garbage collector and house cleaner when there is no work in the farm. Moreover, he collects and sells dry woods, cooks kakanin to sell in the port, and raises hogs and chicken.

He always says that their family have ups and downs because of their situation. But nurturing his sons and daughters is his first priority as he ensures that all of them can go to school since he believes that education can help them create a good future.


Finding a ‘partner’ in the program

Wilfredo has big dreams for his children. Not being able to finish his studies, he aims to send his children to school as well as provide them their needs. However, he struggles to support them as much as he wanted to because he has an unstable source of income.

In 2009, a year after the death of his wife, Wilfredo shared how lucky he was as he felt she found a partner in raising his children after he became a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary.

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18. It provides monthly cash grants to beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers, and attending the Family Development Sessions (FDS).

Wilfredo was very thankful because it lessens his burden financially and was able to learn deeply to appreciate what they have.

Other than the cash grants being provided by the program, he is also thankful because this program taught her to be a better parent through her regular attendance to the Family Development Session (FDS). He acknowledges it as very essential in guiding every Filipino family.

Being a member of Pantawid Pamilya also opens a lot of opportunities for Wilfredo as he was chosen the Parent Leader of their cluster. He also becomes an active member of the community. He also started to serve his barangay as Barangay Tanod which has helped him won as Barangay Kagawad from 2010-2013. He also became an active president of the Parent-Teachers Association from 2007 to 20018 in elementary and secondary schools in their barangay. Furthermore, he is currently serving as a Barangay Health Worker (BHW) to their community and a Hermano Mayor, Lector and commentator, and Lay Minister of the Eucharist in the Parish of San Nicholas Church even though he has his own duties at home.


Getting Stronger for the Family

Because of his eagerness to make money for his family, there were times when Wilfredo forgets to attend to the needs of their children.

“Minsan nagtrabaho ako sa bukid dahil biglaang tawag ng kapwa magsasaka at nakalimutang maghanda ng pagkaing pananghali di nakakain ang aking mga anak at ako’y awang awa at halos tumulo na aking luha,” he shared.

According to him, the program has helped him realize that always being there for his children is the most important.

For Wilfredo, the happiness they share today because of their good relationship at home and the accomplishments of her children in school reflects his success as a solo parent. This is what keeps him going every day and continuously inspires him to work harder until all his children achieve their dreams. ###

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Press Release: 4Ps beneficiaries to receive grants by May

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office MIMAROPA is set to pay the cash grants of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries whose mode of payment is through partner conduits on May 2018.

This includes cash grants under Period 6 (January 2018) and the P2,400 (P200 per month) grants under the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT). The December 2017 cash grants will not be included in the scheduled payout due to insufficient funds because of increased compliance. Additional funds are now being requested to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The UCT program covers all beneficiaries who are active and was able to claim for Period 4 (August to September 2017). A total of 182, 220 beneficiaries under Regular Conditional Cash Transfer (RCCT) and Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) without cash cards, will be able to receive the UCT grants on the scheduled payout. Meanwhile, only 176,702 beneficiaries who are compliant to the program’s conditionalities for January 2018 will receive their grants for the said month.

The synchronization arrangement for the payout for the regular cash transfer of Pantawid Pamilya and 2018 UCT has caused the delayed payment of grant through OTC transactions. DSWD Field Office MIMAROPA has already paid 15,382 Pantawid households with cash cards last March 2018 covering Period 6 and UCCT grants.

The UCT is a component of the national government’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) program that aims to assist indigent Filipinos who will be affected by the rising prices because of the implementation of the new tax reform program.

As stipulated in the TRAIN Act, DSWD will implement the UCT scheme for three years. It will release P2,400 (P200 per month) in 2018 and a total of P3,600 (P300 per month) in 2019 and in 2020. P24 billion has been earmarked for the 2018 UCT implementation in the FY 2018 GAA.

Also included in the 10 million UCT beneficiaries are three million indigent senior citizens nationwide who are also beneficiaries of Social Pension Program which is being implemented with the help of Local Government Units (LGUs) and Special Disbursing Officers (SDOs).

The remaining 2.6 million households nationwide will be selected from the Listahanan or National Household Targeting System (NHTS-PR) which will go through validation. In MIMAROPA, there are 92,790 target households to be validated. ###

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First from the Mountains: A Graduation Story of a Girl from Tau’t Bato

Coming from a tribe who has been long isolated in the mountains, it was difficult for Juda Diklay, 25, from Tau’t Bato tribe, to keep pace with her classmates in the suburb.

It took Juda years to adapt and connect with other people whom she is not familiar with. Since she was the first of her tribe to attend a formal class, she has no knowledge on how things work in a school system. Further, her distance to her family also added to the difficulty in adjusting her life in the lowland.

Mahirap po yung nag-aaral ka sa baba na hindi mo kilala kung sino yung mga nakakasalamuha mo tapos malayo pa sa akin yung pamilya ko. Lagi ko na lang naiisip ang mga negative na bagay at sumuko na lang pero napapaisip rin ako kung anong mangyayari sa akin kapag susuko ako agad sa pag-aaral ko (It was really difficult to study in the lowland since I don’t even know the people I am encountering. Adding to that is the distance of my family to me. But when I thought of negative things, I begin wondering what will happen to me if I give up my studies),” Juda said.

She might have been through a lot of challenges, but her burning desire to learn and discover the world around her has helped her in finding a motivation to keep going. Thus, because of her determination and perseverance, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, making a history as the first Tau’t Bato tribe member to graduate in college.



Living in the Mountains

A group of people from the Palaw’an tribe living in Singnapan Valley are called Tau’t Bato or Taa’wt Bato. Long before, they live inside the crater of an instinct volcano in Palawan, hence their name which literally means “stone people” or “dwellers of the rock”. Today, the Tau’t Bato tribe lives in their homes made of light and sturdy materials such as saplings. Although they do not live in the caves like before, they still find shelter inside it during rainy seasons when the valley is flooded. Other than serving as a shelter, the tribe also seeks protection from the cave as they go inside it when they hear unpleasant stories from the lowland.

“Napakadelikado po nung mga dinadaanan namin papunta sa mga kweba. Puro bato, at kaliwa’t kanang bangin ang dadaanan para makapunta doon at buwis-buhay talaga. May part pa doon na tatawid ng tulay na kailangan nakabalanse ka kung hindi malalaglag ka talaga (The trails going to the caves are very dangerous. We pass through rocks and cliffs to get there and it’s a really a life-threatening experience. There is a part of it where we need to go over a bridge that if we cannot balance ourselves, we will fall),Juda shared.

The tribe rarely goes down from the mountain as they survive through gathering wild fruits and vegetables, hunting, planting crops and rice. Their community can only be reached through an 8-hour hike from Brgy. Ransang, Rizal, Palawan. Because of their distance, most of them do not go to school or have access to different health services.

May mga pumupunta pong misyonaryo sa amin pero kapag napunta sila para kunin yung mga anak nila para pag-aralin sa baba, tinatanggihan nila dahil iniisip nila na mamatay yung anak nila since hindi nila kilala yung mga taga-doon o baka hindi na makabalik agad yung mga anak nila (When missionaries go to our community to help their children go to school in the lowland, parents always decline because they fear that their children will get killed by those people they do not know or their children might not come back home),” Juda said.

Only Juda’s family was convinced to go down the mountains to study. Juda and her younger brother Jonathan, was able to study in elementary after 5 years of being pursued by a Christian missionary group called, Youth with a Mission (YWAM). The group has been visiting their tribe even before Juda was born to share gospels and encourage the parents to send their children to school. YWAM also visits not only their tribes but also other tribes in Palawan and other parts of the country.

“Noong una, ayaw ko naman talagang sumama doon. Si Jonathan ang mas gustong mag-aral pero sabi ng magulang namin sumama na lang daw kami pareho kahit ako lang talaga yung gusto nilang isama (At first, I don’t really want to join them. It was Jonathan who wanted to study but our parents told us to come with them though it’s only me that they invited),” she said.

She was already 10 years old when she studied in Ransang Elementary School with her brother. Afraid and curious at the same time, Juda knows that it will be difficult for a girl from the mountains to begin a new life in the lowland.


New Life in the Lowland

Since Juda was the oldest in their class, it was hard for her to socialize with her classmates.

Ang gawain ko lang po kasi noon, school tapos uuwi na agad sa bahay tapos bahay tapos school lang ulit. Kaya akala ata nung mga kaklase ko ay masungit ako o suplada (What I did back then was go to school then go home after classes are over. That’s why some of my classmates thought that I am snobbish),” she said.

As she gains new friends, there are still others who bully her just because she came from the mountains.

May mga nagsasabi sa akin noon na bakit daw ba ako nag-aaral eh taga-bundok lang naman daw ako. Wala naman daw akong silbi (There were those people questioning me why I am studying in school even if I came from the mountains. They say that I am useless),” she shared.

Juda was disheartened. She told herself that after graduating in elementary, she will already go home. Enduring the pain, she continuously goes to class, pass her homework on time, and study for exams carrying a heavy heart caused by those people who discouraged her.

Little did she know that her hard work will pay off as she was announced as their class Valedictorian.

“Nagulat po talaga ako ‘nun. Kasi noong binubully na nila ako nawalan na talaga ako nang ganang mag-aral tapos bigalang nalaman ko ako pala ang highest sa amin (I was really shocked when I discovered that I got the highest place in class because when I was being bullied I already lost desire to continue studying),” she said.

This event motivated her to continue high school. She was sent by YWAM to Puerto Princesa to study.

Since it was her first time in the big city, it was still uneasy for her to find new friends. And as she was expecting, there are still those people who want to test her determination.

“Nung high school naman po ako, may kaklase ako na sinira yung project na gawa ko dahil nauna akong magpasa sa kanila dahil hindi pa sila tapos at nauna ako sa deadline. Umiyak lang ako noon pag-uwi tapos gumawa na lang ako ng panibago at nagpasa pagkatapos nilang gawin yung kanila (When I was in high school, one of my classmates tore down a project I made because they were not finished yet and I passed mine before deadline. I cried when I got home. I made again another project and passed it after everyone are done with theirs),” she narrated.

Only negative things come to her mind during that moment and she wanted to go back home so badly after experiencing all those pains. Every day after school, she packs her things telling herself that she is ready to go home. She said that she sometimes asks herself, “masama bang mangarap ang isang taga-bundok (is it bad for someone from the mountain to dream)?”

During the hard times, it was only her friends and the people of YWAM who keep on motivating her. She share her stories and heartaches to other scholars of the group whom she knows can understand her.

Ang lagi lang pong sinasabi nila sa akin ay ‘we are living by faith’ kaya lagi ko lang daw silang ipagdasal (They always tell me that ‘we are living by faith’ that’s why I should to pray for them),” she said. Juda was also strengthened by her faith to God.

As she was barely getting through with the difficulties she experienced, Juda was still able to finish high school. Once again, she thought of giving up but the people believing in her ignite her desire to continue with her dreams. And although Jonathan, her brother, went back home after they graduate in high school, Juda went on with her journey as a student.

Sa totoo lang po napaisip din ako noon kung itutuloy ko ba kasi pataas na nang pataas yung level at pahirap na rin nanga pahirap. Minsan natatakot ako nab aka ganun ulit ang mangyari sa akin (The truth is I think of whether continuing because the difficulty is getting high as I leap from one educational stage to another. Sometimes, I fear that those things might happen again),” she said.

Once again eager to experience and learn new things, Juda took up Bachelor of Elementary Education at the Western Philippines University in Puerto Princesa.

After years of staying away from home, Juda became confident of having new friends. This time, she discovered that in college, all of them are unique and no one will indicate their faults of being different.


Getting Support

When Juda was in college, YWAM continued supporting her needs financially but there are still those times when she thought of getting a job to at least acquire even a small amount of money to help her family in the mountains and buy other things she needs in school. This is because the allowance given to her, is still not enough for her needs as her year level moves up.

“Wala po akong mga libro nun. Nagpapaxerox lang ako kapag kailangan naming ng libro at pag may project, hihintayin kong matapos mga kaklase ko para ako naman ang makagamit ng libro (I don’t have any books that time. I usually photocopy pages from the books of my classmates and when we have projects, I wait for my classmate to finish theirs so I can borrow their books).” Juda said.

It was then when Juda became one of the grantees of the Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Juda was given P30, 000.00 for the first semester to cover for her tuition fees and other school fees such as textbooks, board and lodging, etc.

“Nagulat po ako noong nakuha ko yung pera kasi first time ko pong makahawak ng ganoon kalaki. (I was shocked when I was given the grant since it was my first time having such large amount of money),” she exclaimed with joy.  With her grant, she was able to buy all those books that she needs.

Pagkatapos ko pong bilhin yung mga kailangan ko, yung ibang natira po sa pera ko ay ipinadala ko sa amin at sa isa kong kapatid na nag-aaral, (After spending the money on the things I need, I gave what’s left to my family and some for my brother who is also studying),” she said.

It was not only Juda who has been supported by the program. Her family became a Pantawid beneficiary in 2010 and because of it, Noah, one of her younger brothers was able to go to school through the cash grants they receive. He is now studying in Grade 3 at Ransang Elementary School.

According to her, “napakalaki ng pagbabago sa amin sa Tau’t Bato noong dumating ang programa. Nakapag-aral ang mga bata kasi kailangan at nakakapagpacheck-up na sila (there are many changes in our community when the program arrived. Children are able to go to school and take regular check-ups because it is needed).”

Juda’s father also became the only Barangay Health Worker (BHW) in Tau’t Bato to monitor compliance of their community in terms of the health conditionality since he was the only one who knows how to read and write. On the other hand, Jonathan was able to get a job in the program as a Social Welfare Assistance (SWA) of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) catering to the Indigenous Peoples.


Creating History

Siguro kung nagpadala ako sa mga negative na naiisip ko noon, hindi ako nakapagtapos at may asawa na ako at anak, (If I did not overcome my negative thoughts, I won’t be able to graduate and I already have my own family now),” Juda said.

On April 11, 2018, Juda was finally able to get her degree.

When asked what she will do after, Juda said, “babalik na po ako sa amin at magtuturo ako doon. Ipapakita ko sa kanila kung gaano kahalaga ang edukasyon, (I will come back home and teach there. I will help them realize the importance of education)”.

Juda vows to use what she has learned to improve not only her family’s life but also the lives of other people in her community. She does not want people to belittle them just because they live in the mountains and do not know how to read and write.

“Iniisip ko pong magturo ng ALS doon sa amin para lahat ng mga tao doon ay makapag-aral, (I am thinking of teaching ALS in our community so that our people can study),” she said.

Being the first from her tribe to graduate in college, Juda is now an inspiration to the people of Tau’t Bato in recognizing the full worth of education in overcoming the hardships in life brought about by poverty. ###

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