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DSWD MIMAROPA ipinagdiwang ang tagumpay ng benepisyaryo ng Pantawid

“Kampay para Sa Tagumpay” – nagsagawa ng isang kampay ang mga dumalo sa aktibidad ng Pantawid Pamilya upang ipagdiwang ang tagumpay ng mga benepisyaryo na naka-“graduate” na sa programa

Puerto Princesa City  – Isinagawa ng Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office MIMAROPA sa pangunguna ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program ang “Kampay para sa Tagumpay: Pagkilala sa mga Kwento ng Pagtawid” noong Hulyo 26, 2019 sa Palawan Uno Hotel, Puerto Princesa City upang ipagdiwang ang pag-“graduate” o pag-“exit” sa programa ng mga benepisyaryo nito dahil sa unti-unting pagtaas ng antas ng kanilang pamumuhay.

Layunin ng aktibidad na bigyan ng pagkilala ang tagumpay ng mga benepisyaryo nito at maipahayag ang mga kwento ng kanilang pagtawid sa kahirapan.

“Simula 2011, 1,436 na pamilya na ang naka-“graduate” sa programa hanggang sa kasalukuyang taon. Ang mga pamilyang ito ay may mga nakapagtapos na mga anak, nagkaroon na ng magagandang hanap-buhay, at nagkaroon ng regular na pinagkikitaan habang sila ay nasa loob ng programa. Ang mga Municipal o City Links ang siyang tumutukoy sa pamamagitan ng isang assessment kung ang mga pamilyang ito ay maari nang umalis sa programa. Ang iba naman na mga benepisyaryo ay boluntaryong nagpapatanggal sa programa dahil para sa kanila, kaya na nilang tumayo sa kanilang sariling mga paa dahil ang programa ay nagging malaki na ang tulong sa kanila,” ayon kay OIC Regional Director Floreceli G. Gunio.

Mayroong 30 na pamilya ang dumalo sa nasabing pagdiriwang mula sa Puerto Princesa, Narra, Roxas, at Quezon na nagrerepresenta sa mga benepisyaryo sa buong rehiyon ng MIMAROPA na naka-“graduate” na sa programa.

Nagbigay ng mensahe at testimonya sina Margelyn Mandapat mula sa Quezon, Eva Acierto mula sa Roxas, Joesyl Mantal, mula sa Narra, at Daisy Franco mula sa Puerto Princesa City upang ipahayag ang pagbabago sa kanilang buhay matapos maging benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilya.

Ayon kay Margelyn, nabago ng programa ang kanilang buhay maging ang kaniyang sarili sa loob ng pitong taon niya bilang benepisyaryo ng programa.

“Karamihan sa mga kasamahan ko sa cluster ay katutubong Palaw’an na talagang kapos sa buhay at kulang sa sapat na edukasyon. Dahil sa programang Pantawid, pinahalagahan nila ang edukasyon at programang pangkalusugan ng ating gobyerno, na sa totoo lang, noong wala pa ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program ay ayaw nilang pagsumikapang paaralin ang kanilang mga anak at napakahirap nilang alukin ng mga programang pangkalusugan na ibinibigay ng ating pamahalaan,” pahayag ni Margelyn.

Si Margelyn ay isang katutubong Palaw’an na ngayon ay nagtatabaho na sa Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sa Palawan.

Dinaluhan din ni Vice Governor Victorino Dennis M. Socrates ang naturang pagdiriwang kasama ang mga katuwang na ahensiya, organisasyon, at lokal na pamahalaan ng Pantawid Pamilya upang magbigay ng testimonya at mensahe sa mga benepisyaryong Pantawid.

Nagpakita din naman ng presentasyon ang Department of Agriculture (DA), Palawan State University (PSU), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Amigonian Youth Center, Inc., International Care Ministries (ICM), at Ligaya ng Buhay tungkol sa ng kanilang mga serbisyo na maaring makuha ng mga naka-“graduate” na pamilya.

Hinihikayat ni OIC RD Gunio ang lahat ng benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilya huwag huminto sa pagsisikap, bagkus ay lalong palawigin ang pagbabagong puno ng pag-asa at liwanag tungo sa kanilang pag-unlad.

Ang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program ay isang programa ng DSWD na nagbibigay ng kondisyonal na tulong-pinansiyal para sa pinakamahihirap na Pilipino upang pabutihin ang kalusugan, nutrisyon, at edukasyon ng mga batang may edad 0 hanggang 18 taong gulang. ###

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No more classes under Banaba Tree

Ma’am Evelyn Urieta-Rivera, Principal of Sta. Lucia Elementary School in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro

When Evelyn Urieta-Rivera, 57, received her new assignment as an elementary school principal three years ago, she was ecstatic. On her 33rd year of service as a public school teacher, Ma’am Evelyn would finally set foot at Sta. Lucia Elementary School, a quaint learning institution situated at the center of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. This small school, oozing with that childhood energy and innocence, was built atop her family’s ancestral land.

“Kasi itong land area nitong school na ito, sa family namin nanggaling as donation. Kaya sabi ko nga, sa lahat ng school, ito ang pinakamahal ko (My family donated this land for the construction of this school. So among all schools, this is the one dearest to me),” she added.

In 2016, when Ma’am Evelyn reported for her first day however, a heart-wrenching sight welcomed her. Entering the school from the main gate, she saw a Banaba tree, and under its shade sat 25 or more Grade 2 students intently listening to their teacher.

Three years have passed and the Banaba tree has gone transformations to at least give some level of comfort to its 7-year-old patrons. First, a roof was built, then wooden walls and thin cement flooring were added to give the pupils a sense of a normal classroom set-up, she said.

In 2019, the community of Brgy. Sta. Lucia finally found a solution to address their problem. This community used cooperation and volunteerism to pave the way to finally end the years of having school children learning outside the four corners of a classroom.

CLASSROOM. This makeshift classroom under a banaba tree serves as the second home of the Grade 2 students in Sta. Lucia Elementary School.

Classroom Under a Tree

With a total land area of 2,188 sq. kms, Sablayan is considered as the largest municipality in the Philippines. Located at the central part of Occidental Mindoro, it is famous for the Apo Reef Marine Natural Park, the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world next to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Sablayan may be blessed with a one-of-a-kind natural wonder, but this laidback town hasn’t been exempted to one of the most pressing problems of the Philippine education system – the shortage of decent classrooms for students.

“Andun sa puno lang [sila nagkaklase]. Kapag umuulan, kawawa talaga ang mga bata, tumutulo syempre (They were conducting classes under a tree. When it rains, the roof starts to drip.),” said Ma’am Evelyn, pointing to the make-shift classroom which houses the Grade 2 pupils prior to the completion of the new building.

There were more or less 30 students sharing in the small space under the sturdy Banaba tree, she said. Its large trunk, moreover, looked like the classroom’s centrepiece – a wooden column planted in the center of the room. The children’s future had been literally depending on its branches for many years.

Imagine being a wide-eyed 7-year-old kid staying under a tree for eight hours, five times a week, rain or shine, learning the difference between a noun and a pronoun.

“Kasi kung malalaki ung ilalagay namin doon hindi sila kasya kaya maliliit ung nilagay namin doon (We couldn’t give the makeshift classroom to older students because they wouldn’t fit.),” said Ma’am Evelyn.

These Grade 2 pupils were the perfect tenants then, small enough to fit to the small space provided, yet big enough to take care of themselves when the rain drips from the clouds to the leaves and eventually find their way on their thin cement flooring.

Building School, Building Future

TURN OVER: The newly-constructed 1 unit, 2 classroom building has been formally turned-over to Sta. Lucia Elementary School

“Sobrang thankful kami na nagkaroon ng Kalahi, sobrang tuwang-tuwa ang mga teachers eh, kanina binisita nila ‘yan, ay meron ng ceiling fan, makakalipat na kami (We are very thankful for Kalahi, the teachers are very happy. We visited the new classroom earlier, there’s a ceiling fan already, we may be able to transfer soon),” said Ma’am Evelyn, pertaining to the 1 unit, 2 classroom building sub-project of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

To date, Kalahi-CIDSS has a total of 206 sub-projects in the province of Occidental Mindoro, 48 of which are in Sablayan. The poverty alleviation program which uses the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach ensures that community members are in the heart of decision-making especially in identification, prioritization, establishment, and operationalization of the community sub-projects.

In July 2019, the makeshift classroom under the Banaba Tree finally ceased to shelter the Grade 2 students of Sta. Lucia Elementary School. Due to the combined efforts of the community, the school, and the barangay and the municipal local government unit, having classes under a tree is now a thing of the past.

VOLUNTEERISM. Community volunteer Juanita Jarabe proudly posed in front of the school building she helped build.

“Madami pong naitulong [ang Kalahi] at malaki talaga. Ang pangunahing pangangailangan sa community, natutugunan po talaga. Tulad nitong classroom (Kalahi has helped us a lot. With Kalahi, we were able to address our most pressing concern, thus, this classroom),” said Juanita Jarabe, a community volunteer.

Juanita, and the rest of the 16 active community volunteers of Brgy. Sta Lucia, has ensured the smooth implementation of their new classroom worth a little over PHP 1.5 million. Complete with amenities such as tables and chairs, fans, and own restroom, the classroom was constructed from the combined budget of the stakeholders.

Kalahi-CIDSS total grant was at PHP 780,000, to which the municipal LGU gave a counterpart of PHP 500,000, the barangay LGU at PHP 250,000, and even the school has set aside PHP 36,000 from their budget.

For Ma’am Evelyn, the help of the community volunteers and the LGU officials has been vital for the realization of their dream to provide the students the facilities they deserved.

“Nagpapasalamat talaga kami kina Juanita, isa rin sa nagpursige na magkaroon talaga kami nito, sa mga konsehal, sa lahat na nag-counterpart (We are extremely grateful to Juanita and to other volunteers for their efforts, to the councillors as well, to everyone who provided counterpart),” she said.

Juanita, whose youngest child is currently enrolled at Sta. Lucia Elementary School, claimed that she finds volunteer work fulfilling.

“Sabi ko nga sa mga kasama ko masaya ako at nakakatulong ako at nalalaman ko yung mga pangunahing pangagailangan ninyo para magawan ng ng paraan para makahingi ng mga pondo katulad nyang school building (I told my co-volunteers that I am happy for extending a helping hand. At least we’ve identified the major concern and we were able to address it, asking for funds, if needed),” she said.

More than the infrastructure, the lessons imparted by the program has made the community volunteers more devoted to volunteering.

“’Yung mga katulad namin na ordinaryong mamamayan lang ay na-empower po, natuto kaming ipaglaban kung ano talaga ang aming mga karapatan dito sa community (Ordinary citizens, like me, were empowered. We’ve learned to fight for our rights),” Juanita added.

The product of the community’s collective effort is a safer, more conducive for learning classroom for the students – something that Ma’am Evelyn would be thankful for forever.

“Sabi ko nga ma-itransfer man ako bilang principal…masaya na ako kasi makikita ko ang mga bata na maayos ang kalagayan (If ever they have me transferred to other schools, I would still be happy knowing that I would be leaving the kids in a better condition),” Ma’am Evelyn added. ###

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DSWD MIMAROPA names Romero family as Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya 2019

The Romero Family of San Agustin, Romblon is Pantawid Pamilya MIMAROPA’s Huwarang Pamillya 2019

Malate, Manila – On June 4, 2019, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office MIMAROPA announced the Romero Family of Brgy. Bachawan, San Agustin, Romblon as this year’s Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya 2019.The Search which commenced on 2012, was conducted yearly to showcase the improvement in the lives of the family beneficiaries as the fruits of their own hard work and inspire the whole country despite the challenges they experience brought about by poverty.

The Romero Family is an active beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program since 2010. Tess, the mother, is a sales lady, while Felix, the father, is a farmer and is serving as a barangay kagawad. The couple has seven children namely: John Paul, Dannica Joy, John Vincent, April Joy, Felix III, Princess Ella May, and John Angelo.

Tess and Felix’s income cannot always provide the needs of their children especially in school.  Hence, they raise their children to be contented on what they have and to be more understanding of their situation. As the children experience the hardships in life due to poverty, they become more determined to work hard to improve the life of their family. All of their children excels in school and they are also active in different school and community activities.

“Nagsisikap po kami talagang magkakapatid kasi gusto namin na masukllian ang pagod nila Mama at Papa at sila naman ay mabigyan ng kaginhawaan,” said April Joy, the 4th child.

Dannica Joy, the second child, has graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology in 2018. When she and her eldest brother, John Paul, were both in college, John Paul has to stop going to school to work as a security guard in Manila to help in financing the needs of their siblings. But as soon as Dannica Joy graduated, Felix encouraged John Paul to continue studying so he can fulfill his dream of graduating in college.

The family has also been inspiring their community not only because of their strong family relationship but also because of their compassion to others. Through the leadership and initiative of Felix, a foot bridge was built to cross the river dividing Sitio Iso and Sitio Agnaga.

“Dati rati po kasi tumatawid sila ng sapa habang pasan pasan ang kanilang mga kopra tapos ang mga estudyante malayo naman ang nilalakad para hindi mabasa ng tubig,” narrated Felix. Because of this, he encouraged the community members in both sitios to join together to create a foot bridge. Felix’s family provided foods for the volunteers until the construction of the bridge has finished.

Ultimately, the Romero Family maintain a God-centered life, demonstrated positive Filipino values, and created an impact to their community. With their acts of kindness, respect, humility, and love, the family has been recognized as a huwarang pamilya.

Aside from the Romero family, four families from other provinces of the region has also been recognized. The Orense Family of Bansud, Oriental Mindoro has been awarded the 2nd place, while the Sucidor Family of Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro got the 3rd place. The Cayapas Family of Roxas, Palawan and the Acuzar of Gasan, Marinduque got the 4th and 5th place, respectively.

On September 29, 2019, the Romero Family will represent the MIMAROPA Region in the National Family Day Congress to be conducted in Metro Manila. They will also be invited to be awarded during the DSWD MIMAROPA’s Regional Search for Exemplary Children 2019 on October 11, 2019 also in Metro Manila.

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DSWD MIMAROPA launches Bata Balik Eskwela Campaign

Pantawid Pamilya launches its Bata Balik Ekwela Campaign to the different provinces of MIMAROPA Region to encourage students who are not attending school to continue studying

Malate, Manila – The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office MIMAROPA through Pantawid Pamilyang Pamilya Program launched the Bata Balik Eskwela Campaign on May 20, 2019 as part of its efforts to encourage children beneficiaries to enroll in school and maintain their attendance in class. With tagline, “Edukasyon ay Mahalaga, Ito ay ating Ipaalala”, the campaign will continue until the end of enrollment which is set on August.

In order to sustain the compliance of the beneficiaries to the program’s conditionalities especially in education, the Pantawid Pamilya rolled out the Bata Balik Eskwela Campaign or BBE which is targeted mainly for Pantawid children who are not currently enrolled and not attending.

The campaign was launched to encourage Pantawid children who are not attending school to continue studying so that they will fully utilize the program’s benefits,” said DSWD MIMAROPA OIC Regional Director Floreceli G. Gunio.

The different Municipal Operations Offices (MOOs) of Pantawid Pamilya set up information booth during Brigada Eskwela as part of the campaign to provide consultation to parents and children who are not attending school (Photo from Buenavista, Marinduque)

The Pantawid Pamilya provides conditional cash grants to the poor Filipino families, investing on health and education of the children. It provides P300.00 for every family who are compliant to its health conditionalities while another P300.00 for every monitored child who maintains 85% of their attendance in pre-school and elementary while P500.00 for those who are studying in high school. Only three children of the household-beneficiary can be monitored.

“Through the campaign, different reasons for not attending school were identified such as early pregnancy/fatherhood, bullying, gender-based violence, loss of interest, and working among others. These serve as guide to manage the cases of the children and provide them proper interventions,” explained Gunio.

Before the launch of the campaign, the Regional Office of Pantawid Pamillya convened all social workers of the DSWD Field Office MIMAROPA to create an action plan based on the different reasons for not attending school. These strategies have helped the field staff of the Provincial Operations Offices (POOs) in the execution of the campaign which include setting up of information desk during Brigada Eskwela; conducting focus group discussions to both parents and children; and tapping Alternative Learning System (ALS) coordinators to provide orientation about other modes of education offered by the Department of Education (DepEd) which they may also attend in lieu of the formal regular classes if they were not able to finish elementary or high school or have not attended school at all. In Oriental Mindoro, Pantawid Pamilya field staff conducted a stage play in every municipality. The stage play commenced on May 22, 2019 in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro and will continue until June 28, 2019. The play demonstrates stories of the beneficiaries and their struggles in life especially in gaining access to education. Through the stage play, the field implementer aim to exhibit the different means which beneficiaries may adopt in order to respond with their problems to allow them to continue studying.

Moreover, the program coordinates with the schools and Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUs) to discuss the involvement of the school’s Child Protection Policies and the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children in the implementation of the campaign. Starting June until August, the field staff will conduct case management, group work, and monitoring for those students who did not enroll for School Year 2019 to 2020.

“It is hoped that through these efforts, the importance of education in providing a better future will be instilled in the minds of the children beneficiaries,” Gunio said.

As of March 2019, there are 14,872 identified children beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya in MIMAROPA Region who are not attending school.  ###

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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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Pantawid Pamilya MIMAROPA recognizes partners on Health and Education

Malate, Manila – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office MIMAROPA through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program recognizes the efforts and services of partner stakeholders (Pantawid Focals) from the schools and health centers through conducting the Search for Best Pantawid Focal on Health and Education on April. The activity is part of the efforts of the program to strengthen partnership with different stakeholders for a more effective and efficient delivery of the program’s services and initiatives.

Since its implementation, the program has been partnering with the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (DepEd) to monitor the compliance of the beneficiaries to the program’s conditionalities on health and education. The schools and health centers assign a Pantawid focal to submit the necessary documents to verify their compliance.

The Search for Pantawid Focal provided Certificate of Recognition to all focal persons who have been serving for more than 2 years. Meanwhile, the focals on health and education who have exerted efforts beyond their duties and responsibilities to ensure the welfare of the beneficiaries were given the title Best Pantawid Focal on Health and Best Pantawid Focal on Education.

Each province nominated their best Pantawid focal on the Health and Education Category. The finalists in the Health category are: Eden Favila of Panitian National High School, Sofronio Española, Palawan; Cesar G. Castillo of Dayhagan National High School, Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro; Geralyn Fajilan of Mabini National High School, Corcuera, Romblon; Jessie G. Santiago of Magsaysay National High School, Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro; and Ma. Luisa C. Fellizar of Timbo Elementary School, Buenavista, Marinduque. Meanwhile, for the Health category, the nominees are: Elvira A. Manga, of Dumarao Barangay Health Station, Roxas, Palawan; Lina F. Fruelda of San Roque Health Station, Corcuera, Romblon; Carmelita T. Disor of Rural Health Unit, Lubang Occidental Mindoro; and Nelly T. Lusterio of Bansud Health Center, Bansud, Oriental Mindoro.

After the screening and validation of Pantawid MIMAROPA, Nelly from Bansud Health Center, Bansud, Oriental Mindoro was awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal on Health while Geralyn from Mabini Nationl High School, Corcuera, Romblon, was awarded as the Best Pantawid Focal on Education.

Aside from serving as a Midwife III in Bansud Health Station, Nelly T. Lusterio 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. 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.

Meanwhile, Geralyn, a Pantawid focal on Education for four years, 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. She established 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.

Both Pantawid focals will attend the National Partnership Summit in Metro Manila on May to be awarded together with the other focals of the region.

The program will continue its partnership with DepEd and DOH in line with its objectives to invest on the health and education of the children to improve their quality of life. ###

 

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Strength in Numbers

“Hindi ako nagsisi kahit madami sila…medyo hirap, pero kinakaya tsaka masaya naman (I do not regret having many children…it is sometimes hard, but we get through it and we are happy)” said Marlyn Geonzon, a mother of ten.

Being economically challenged and having more children to feed, Marlyn and his husband, Maclyn, work hard each day to support the needs especially the education of their children.

 

Marlyn and Maclyn inside their house in Roxas, Palawan

One Big, happy family

In a typical Filipino family, the father is in charge of earning a living for the family while the mother is expected to take care of the children. But Marlyn and Maclyn tend to defy the norm as they consider each other as their ultimate partner in life. Marlyn and Maclyn support each other in providing for their family; however, both of them do not have stable jobs as Maclyn works as a tricycle driver while Marlyn is a food vendor.

They met in 1988 and both have been working hard since then. As their family is growing, the couple knows that they need to earn more in order to sustain the needs of their children.  Both of them wake up at 3:00 in the morning to cook arroz caldo and other viands for lunch which Marlyn sells in government offices and houses near them. She also sells bilo-bilo, pancit, and rice porridge for merienda. When the clock hits 5 in the afternoon, she goes back home to prepare barbecue which she sells in front of their house. Marlyn was able to get a job as a Public Service Foreman in a Job Order Contract in the Municipal Assessor’s Office in 2006, but she continues selling food in their office for extra income.

According to Marlyn, they are lucky enough to be given ten obedient and wonderful children, of which five are girls while five are boys. And despite being economically challenged, the couple was able to give Mark Francis, Mae Sheila Ann, Mary Lovely Jane, Marc Lester, Marc Philip, Mary Apple Rose, Michelle Ivy Zhielaxy, Maclyn Jr., May Angel Catherine and Michael John Irish access to good education.

 

Getting through life’s hardship

Marlyn and Maclyn strive hard to provide the needs of their children. Just like most parents, they prioritize their children more than themselves. And with the help of certain programs of the government and their family’s efforts and hard work, Marlyn said that they have somehow get through with life’s hardship.

It was in 2009 that they have been listed as a partner-beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which had greatly helped in their family’s finances. Marlyn is serving as a Parent Leader in their cluster since 2011. “Ang programang ito ng gobyerno ay napakaganda dahil kung ihahambing natin ang panahon noong wala pa ang Pantawid ay maraming palaboy-laboy sa lansangan at hindi nag-aaral (This program of the government is helpful because before the intervention of Pantawid, children are seen in the streets instead of studying in school),” she explained.

She is thankful of the program as it helped them in financing for the education and health of their children. Together with the cash grant that they receive and the scholarships that her children obtain from several government office and other organizations, four of her children had already graduated college – Mark Francis, their eldest graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Programming; Mae Sheila Ann graduated Secondary Education; Mary Lovely Jane in Business Administration; while Marc Lester finished his degree in Electrical Engineering. Even though the grant they receive from Pantawid is not much, it helped them a lot especially since it has been difficult for them to send all of their children in school all at the same time.

 

Working together for a bright future

Children growing up in big families are said to become happier and more successful in life. The Geonzon Family might be a big one, but they believe that as long as they are together, they can overcome anything. It might take a while before all of them graduate from college, but they believe that everything will be worth it once it happened. Little by little, they can soon reach their dreams, knowing that they have their strength in numbers. ###

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To the Top: A Journey Towards Volunteerism and Leadership

ACTIVE VOLUNTEERISM- Giovannie Fabro, 32 represents their community’s Operation and Maintenance Group on the Organizational Development and Management Training of Kalahi  CIDSS.

Traversing the coconut plantation in the morning and organizing youth groups in the afternoon has been the routine of Giovannie, a dark, well-built man in his early thirties with a face chiseled by hard work and a heart molded by volunteerism.

Giovannie Fabro, more well-known in his community as Giovan is the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) Chairperson of Barangay Toctoc in Banton Romblon. From a by-stander to a volunteer, Giovan said that he has found more meaning in life when he was immersed in volunteerism and in Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi CIDSS).

New Chapter

Like many of the youths in Banton, Giovan worked in Manila. Numerous factories hired him until he has worked himself to exhaustion. Realizing that his income was not enough to support his family in the province, Giovan decided to go back home to take care of his parents.

He worked on their copras business to earn a living. Even with lesser income, he admitted that going back home was one of the best decisions he has ever done.

His caring and gregarious personality earned him a lot of buddies in Brgy. Toctoc. They usually hang-out and play basketball on the community court where the Kalahi CIDSS Barangay Assemblies (BA) were frequently conducted. This hobby of his had introduced him to the program and to volunteerism.

The raising hands of the people in the half court intrigued Giovan as they rest after a basketball game and he listened to what they discussed. He learned that the people were voting for a sub-project that they wanted to have in their community. Amazed on how the people are given the freedom to have a project of their choice, Giovan decided to join the next meetings.

In the beginning, he admitted that attending the assemblies of Kalahi CIDSS was like learning a foreign language. “Napakadaming acronyms yung nababanggit nila at hindi ko talaga maintindihan kaya tinatanong ko yung katabi ko.” (I do not understand the numerous acronyms that they mention thus I ask the person next to me about the meaning of those acronyms.)

He chuckled as he added, “umabot na sa pagkakataon sa assembly na nainis na yung katabi ko sa katatanong ko kaya linayasan nya na ko.” (One time, during the assembly, my seatmate got tired of my asking thus he walked away.)

The Heart of a Volunteer

On the second cycle of Kalahi CIDSS, he actively participated and was elected as a member of the Project Implementation Team (PIT).

A sudden change in Giovan’s routine had happened when he became a volunteer. His usual lazy afternoons were changed to attending meetings of the BSPMC and studying the community procurement manual.

Eventually, he discovered his passion to volunteerism when he attended the community volunteers’ training. This has also been his inspiration to organize a youth group called Uswag Banton. The group aims to re-plant trees in the area.  In addition, he encouraged the members of the group to take part in Kalahi CIDSS and they help the community empowerment facilitator to gather people during barangay assemblies.

The community members witnessed his industry as a community volunteer. Thus, they decided to elect him as the BSPMC chairperson of Barangay Toctoc on the third cycle of the program. Mrs. Yolly Felita, one of the elders in Brgy Toctoc said that she is convinced that Giovan will be a good BSPMC chairperson.

Despite this, Giovan admitted that he had second thoughts on accepting the new post.

Nevertheless, his dream of giving his community a safe and sustainable drinking water has surfaced than his fear of greater responsibility. “Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ngayon pa ba ako titigil kung kelan malapit na naming makamit ang pangangailangan ng aming komunidad?” (I said to myself, would I stop now, now that the need of our community is almost within our reach?)

Community Empowerment Facilitator of Brgy. Toctoc Shirley Vallez recounted a story on how Giovan has shown his dedication to the project. According to her, “Si Giovan ang nanguna noong kailangang i-konekta pababa sa bundok yung tubig kahit medyo masama yung pakiramdam nya. Na-amaze ako sa batang yan kasi kita mo sakanya yung passion na tumulong kahit may sinat sya.” (Giovan lead the community to connect the water from its source in the mountain down to their community and he was not feeling well when he did it. I was amazed on that kid because you can see his passion to help even he is sick.)

Beyond service

Giovan saw how the community driven development process has transformed his flat and passive community into an active one. From his account, he was amazed on how his community was able to work together in spite of political ramifications because of their common goal of having access to clean and potable water.

Consequently, Giovannie discovered his leadership talents in becoming a Kalahi CIDSS volunteer. From the timid man, he was now able to speak in front of his community and other crowds. He recounted the moment where he shared his reflection during the BSPMC training in Makati and he said he never felt so proud before.

“Kung may sasabihin ako at alam kong tama at makakabuti, sasabihin ko yun” (If I have something to say that I know is right and will contribute to the greater good, then I will say it) said Giovannie. He added “Sana ganun din ang gawin ng mga ka-barangay ko“(I wish that the people in my community would also do the same.)

Giovannie has been a volunteer of Kalahi for 2 years now and as a volunteer he had a lot of realizations in life, in his community and in the municipality of Banton. “Sana ay tigilan na ng kababayan ko ang panlilibak sa iba dahil lang sa pulitika. Panira sa pag kakaisa ng Bantoanon yang ganang gawain.” (I wish that people would stop destroying others for the sake of their political endeavors. This kind of action destroys our hope of uniting the Bantoanons for the common good).

All of Giovannie’s BSPMC colleagues have previously held posts in public service. With this, he was teased by his ‘kuyas’ that he must try his luck in politics and run as a barangay councilor. He said that he feels awkward whenever such topics are being discussed.

All Giovan know is his true calling is to serve his community beyond Kalahi CIDSS.

Kalahi CIDSS is a poverty alleviating program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development that employs the process of community driven development to empower the community which would empower the people, promote good governance, and alleviate poverty in the community. ###

Posted in DSWD MiMaRoPa, featured stories, news, Story of changeComments (0)

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