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Pantawid Pamilya recognizes model beneficiaries

Excitement. Hope. Joy. These reflect on the young innocent eyes of children and families as DSWD IV-MiMaRoPa held the Regional Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children and Huwarang Pantaiwd Pamilya last August 23, 2013 at the Makati Palace Hotel. The children and families came from their respective provinces to vie against each other and be declared as the regional winner.

In her welcome address,Regional Director Wilma D. Naviamos said, “Lahat tayo dito ay dapat masaya. Lahat tayo ay panalo sa paligsahang ito.” The event is a celebration of great young minds. She highlighted that the event is a venue to recognize the good deeds of the children that even at a young age, they serve as an example to the others. RD Naviamos also added that the event is held to acknowledge the parents and their virtuous upbringing despite the difficulties in life.

Exemplary Children

The Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children is an annual activity of the program that aims to recognize children beneficiaries who set excellent examples at home, school, and community. Two children were chosen in their municipalities, who consequently strivedto be the provincial representative at the regional level.

Shemia Pineda (Left), winner of the Regional Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children, smiles at RD Naviamos as she receives her plaque and Php 10,000 cash prize.

Shemiah Pineda (Left), winner of the Regional Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children, smiles at RD Naviamos as she receives her plaque and Php 10,000 cash prize.

Five children namely: Shemiah Pineda of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro,Jestonie Arellado of Sofronio Expanola, Palawan, Argilie Joy Balon of Looc, Romblon, Ma. Isabel Olarte of Socorro, Oriental Mindoro, and Ephraim Laurel of Torrijos, Marinduque competed against each other. They are judged based on the following criteria: Behaviour and Practice (35%), Intelligence (35%), Community/School Participation (20%), and Stage Presence and Appearance (10%).

The contestants battled it out in the talent portion through singing, dancing, and a monologue. After showcasing their talents, they each have answered a question from the judges.

In the end, the 13 year old Shemiah from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro emerged as the regional winner. With her monologue containing an emotional depiction of a child wanting to help her family,combined with vibrant singing and dancing, it is impossible for the audience not to be in awe of Shemiah. Her honest answer also to the question given to her added more appeal to her winning qualities.

During the question and answer portion, Shemiah was asked what she would do if she finds out that a family receives cash grant but does not follow the conditionalities of the program. She answered that she will tell and confide the situation to their parent leader. Her consistent high grades and active participation in extracurricular activities in school added a great factor in her winning.

Shemiah received Php 10,000 cash prize while Jestonie who came in second won Php 8,000. Argilie received Php 7,000, Isabel, Php 6,000, and Eprhaim, Php 5,000, who came in third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

Shemiah together with the other contestants will be included in the pool of exemplary children and will join the National Children’s Congress (NCC) to be held this October 2013.

Model Families               

Together with the conduct of the search for exemplary children was also the awarding of the families for the Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya. Five families who won in their respective provincial search came to be part of the activity.

Roberto, head of the Pelangco family, raises his hand for a high five with Pantawid Pamilya Regional Program Coordinator Vincent Dominic Obcena. Together with the selection committee, the family cannot contain their happiness as they were proclaimed as this year's regional winner for the Search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya.

Roberto, head of the Pelangco family, raises his hand for a high five with Pantawid Pamilya Regional Program Coordinator Vincent Dominic Obcena. Together with the selection committee, the family cannot contain their happiness as they were proclaimed as this year’s regional winner of the Search for Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya.

The families went through the rigorous process of selection and validation from the provincial level up to the regional level. The regional selection committee interviewed the heads of the family and asked about their life as a couple and their relationship in their family and to the community. The families were assessed using the following criteria: 100% compliance in all conditionalities (25%), practices and promotes healthy living (20%), actively involved in community and environmental endeavors (20%), demonstrates love and respect for the community including the environment (20%), and manages and utilizes cash grants properly (15%).

The committee probed questions as to the recurring arguments and problems the couple deal with and how theyresolve it. They were also further inquired about their lifestyles, jobs, and involvement in the community.

Among the five families, the Pelangco family from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro exhibits the best and strongest family ties. The family exhibited a palpable direction – to have a better life. Inch by inch they are saving and putting up sources of income such as herding animals and tending to a rented land. The family has four children. “Nagdesisyon po talaga kami na apat nalang sana ang anak namin,” said Roberto, father of the Pelangcos, with a smile. They have decided to keep their family’s number as it is since raising children is not an easy job.

All these families aspire for a better quality of life, their determination and actions transpired them to be model families. Yes, they are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya but they each have their own ‘diskarte’ in life to not only rely on the cash grants.They know that their contract with the program expires after five years. They ask themselves, “What happens after?” and they start to plan out their life, a life they always wanted – a family who has more than enough.

The Pelangco family received a cash prize worth Php 10,000 as the regional winner while the Frias family from Buenavista, Marinduque came in second place with Php 8,000. The Solangon family from Roxas, Oriental Mindoro came in third, Juarez family of Aborlan, Palawan came in fourth while the Malacad family of Sta. Fe, Romblon came in fifth and each received Php 7,000, Php 6,000 and Php 5,000, respectively.

Can do more

The activity such as the Search for Exemplary Children only shows that no amount of difficulty in life can stop an individual to pursue his/her dreams, and it can even start at a young age. These children are the reasons why government programs such as Pantawid Pamilya continue to exist and expand. It is giving hope to these poor young children and telling them that despite their situation, they can do more.

The program also reinforces families with aspirations and dreams. It provides support to the families by building a strong foundation – healthy and educated children, and stronger family ties.Being a model family takes a lot of work, and they choose to do more, because they also, as family, can do more.

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DSWD IV-MiMaRoPa and BFAR conduct training on seaweed farming

Taytay, Palawan –   Farming made easy – a phrase evident in a three-day training on seaweeds farming conducted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region IV-MiMaRoPa (DSWD) together with Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – Regional Fisheries Training Center (BFAR -RFTC) in two separate sessions in barangays Pamantolon, July 15-17, and Calawag, July 18-20.

The training was a collaborative effort of DSWD, BFAR-RFTC and the Local Government Unit of Taytay which end goal is to provide technical knowledge on seaweeds farming.   It was attended by seaweed farmers who, coincidentally, are beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya and Sustainable Livelihood Program of DSWD.

Introduction to strategic farming

Rene Pareño, Training Specialist II and Project Officer of BFAR-RFTC facilitated the training proper. On the onset, he stated how weather conditions affect seaweeds farming system.  Pareño further stated that Palawan is one of the areas in the country that is frequently visited by typhoons wrecking traditionally built seaweed farms. He then segued into the introduction of Multiple Vertical Lines (MVL) – a planting technique in which the seaweeds are grown into a set of long vertical lines as oppose to the conventional horizontal farming method.

MVLs hoisted above sea shows  a new approach to seaweed farming.

MVLs hoisted above sea shows a new approach to seaweed farming.

The unfamiliarity of the technique sparked interest among beneficiaries which lead one to question its cost-efficiency. “Hindi pa namin nasubukan ang ganyan pagtatanim, hindi kaya magastos?” raised one participant in Calawag. Pareño assured beneficiaries of how economically competent the technique is. He further added that the resources needed are readily available in their barangay. “Yung iba sa inyo ay meron ng mga gamit sa seaweeds siguro i-enhance nyo nalang ang mga yun,” suggested Pareño.

Training for livelihood

The training for seaweeds farming is a lecture-cum-experiential-based type of training. The participants had to actively participate from the actual practice of creating their own MVLs to planting the seaweeds. Pareño also highlighted the importance of knowing the market condition in the industry. The significant difference in price between fresh and dried seaweeds adds to the kind of product a farmer should produce. “Mataas na pala ang presyo ng dried seaweeds ayusin natin

Participants immerse in the process of MVL preparation as part of the training agenda.

Participants immerse in the process of MVL preparation as part of the training agenda.

ang pagaalaga ng mga seaweeds para mas mataas kita natin,” advised Pareño.

The training progressed into practical application of techniques taught during the lecture session. The beneficiaries had a hands-on experience of processes followed in building a seaweed farm – from the preparation of materials to be used down to the actual installation of MVLs.


The Bayanihan Ideology

The Filipino culture is known for the high regard it gives to familial relationship. Every member of a community looks out after its people and assures that no one is left behind. If one plans to succeed the rest will contribute an effort to make it happen. Domingo Agra, DSWD-SLP Regional Coordinator, best said put the bayanihan ideology in his message during the closing ceremony saying, “ang training na ito ay naglalayong dapat walang maiwan sa kahirapan, yan ang

Concerted effort. Beneficiaries gather in circle and join hands in wrapping seaweed around one set of MVL.

Concerted effort. Beneficiaries gather in circle and join hands in wrapping seaweed around one set of MVL.

adbokasiya ng aming opisina”.

The participants were awarded with start-up material for building a seaweed farm as well as cash grants from SLP. The three-day training was well-worth the effort. DSWD along with partner agencies assured that the training not only equip the beneficiaries with technical knowledge on seaweed farming but also planted hope for a successful business venture.


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Pantawid Pamilya orients Municipal Links

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) IV-MiMaRoPa conducted an orientation-training on the newly-hired Municipal Links (MLs) of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Richville Hotel, Mandaluyong City with the first batch of participants last July 3-10, 2013 and the second batch this July 24 – 31. The orientation-training aims to equip the MLs with the in-depth knowledge of the processes and thrusts and skills on how to handle issues and concerns of the program.


With Regional Training Specialist (RTS) John Rosas and Regional Training Associate (RTA) Alexa Fajardo as facilitators, every part of the program were discussed and thoroughly tackled by the respective focal persons from the regional office. “This is the first time that we are able to conduct an orientation-training for 10 days to our MLs so we make sure that they understand fully all there is to be learned about the program,” said RTA Fajardo.

The live-in activity also ensured that MLs understand the relationship of the other programs and services to their tasks such as its incorporation in the convergence strategy. Here, it was given importance that the programs of the Department do not work on its own alone. Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries have an edge benefitting from the other programs of the Department like in Sustainable Livelihood Program but not limited to since they are included in the list of poor households from National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

According to RTS Rosas, the MLs play an essential role in implementing the program. “You are the main connection of the regional office to the field and have the direct communication with our stakeholders especially our beneficiaries,” added RTS Rosas. It is only right that the activity be provided to better equip the MLs with the up to date knowledge and changes in the program.

The first batch consisted of 25 MLs from chosen municipalities of the five provinces while the second batch composed of 17 MLs from the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro and Palawan. The third batch of MLs will soon conduct their orientation-training this August.

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DSWD IV-MiMaRoPa seeks deeper engagement with CSOs

Puerto Princesa City – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region IV-MiMaRoPa conducted an orientation-caravan with various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan last July 16, 2013. With the aim to provide awareness and information among the CSOs as well as the general public on the different programs and services of the Department, the program kicked off with the opening of the photo exhibit at the Robinsons Place Palawan. The photo exhibit showcased pictures of the DSWD’s achievements in providing social welfare and development services to the poor. It highlighted how the Department caters to the upliftment of the lives of its clients and how CSOs can be part of these activities. Regional Director (RD) Wilma D. Naviamos led the ribbon cutting of the gallery with Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Annie E. Mendoza and National Program Management Office Focal Person on CSOs Roy Calfoforo of DSWD-Central Office. In her welcome remarks, RD Naviamos said that the Department is now forging a constructive engagement with the CSOs where they also become part of implementation of the programs and services given to the people. She added, “Ito ay isang gawain ng patuloy na pakiklahok, patuloy na pakikipag-usap, patuloy na pagsusuri at tunay na pakikilahok sa pamamahala ng ating pamahalaan.” It is not just a mere celebration but the start of the deeper engagement of the CSOs with the Department. To deepen this engagement with CSOs, an orientation was made at the Skylight Convention Center right after the opening of photo exhibit. Here, the poverty reduction and social protection programs of the Department were further discussed by ARD Mendoza. The types of engagement (Bantay, Gabay, Tulay, Kaagapay) were also tackled in detail by Pantawid Pamilya Regional Program Coordinator Vincent Dominic G. Obcena. In Kaagapay, CSOs conduct anti-poverty activities and projects while in Gabay, technical assistance in the implementation of programs was

Regional Director Naviamos shows the achievements of the programs and services of the Department to the CSOs.

Regional Director Naviamos shows the achievements of the programs and services of the Department to the CSOs.

provided. Most of the CSOs engage in this part assist in the conduct of Family Development Sessions on Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries. In Bantay, CSOs helps eliminate corruption and provide transparency in the implementation of the programs and services. Attending barangay assemblies during the social preparation stage in Kalahi-CIDSS, CSOs observe if the members of the community are rightfully heard and not overpowered by officials in choosing a project. Lastly, in Kaagapay, CSOs provide feedback and monitoring mechanisms in the implementation of the programs and services. In the open forum, it was further explained that the CSOs are part of the external convergence strategy of the Department in reaching out to the clients and included in the dimension of the Public-Private Partnership move of the national government. Although engaging with the Department entails following a tedious process like in liquidation of funds, RD Naviamos stressed that it is important that processes be followed since they are using the public’s money. RPC Obcena also ensured that if proper requirements and documents are provided, easier and faster facilitation will be given. Also, feedback mechanism with the help of CSOs was commended especially with those issues regarding misuse of cash grants. It was discussed that such incidents must be specifically identified and report it to the Provincial Operations Office for investigation or validation.

Assistant Regional Director Annie E. Mendoza tackles the various programs and services during the orientation-caravan at Skylight Convention Center.

Assistant Regional Director Annie E. Mendoza tackles the various programs and services at Skylight Convention Center.

With a deeper understanding on how they can partake in the implementation, the Department urges the CSOs to engage in providing better services to poor people and together move forward for a better future. As mentioned by Mr. Calfoforo, “Hindi po mangyayari yung pagpalawak sa iba’t ibang programa kung wala pong partnership sa mga CSOs na talaga namang kinikilala ng ating gobyerno at ituloy-tuloy lang po natin ang mga gawaing ito.” The activity was attended by 23 CSOs implementing various social welfare and development programs and services from the municipalities and city of Palawan.

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Romblon celebrates National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week

A father walks alongside his daughter in a parade at downtown Romblon in celebration of the NDPR week.

A father walks alongside his daughter in a parade at downtown Romblon in celebration of the NDPR week.

Romblon, Romblon – Festive in pink.  Like flowers sprouting at the break of spring, Persons with Disability beneficiaries together with their relatives and representatives from various PWD sectors of Romblon, Romblon wore pink and paraded along downtown streets of their municipality in celebration of the 35th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation week, July 17, 2013.

Holding signboards high above their heads, members of the PWDs voiced out their right to mandated laws protecting their interest. Freedom from derogatory comments, neglect and any form of abuse marked placards that they brandished in the entirety of the parade.

The NDPR week was a whole day celebration conducted by the LGU, DSWD and all concerned stakeholders. Part of the itinerary was the consultation dialogue between government agencies, LGUs, concerned stakeholders and PWD beneficiaries in the implementation of RA 9442 or “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability”.

Breaking the silence

Purification Arriola, Head Protective Services Unit , DSWD IV-MIMAROPA,  actively urged households to report to their respective municipality any member who has a disability. “Yung culture of silence na meron tayong mga Pilipino ang minsan nagiging dahilan para hindi natin bigyan ng kaukulang pansin yung kapamilya natin na may kapansanan,” said Arriola.

She emphasized how most households are bounded by the fear of being subjected to ridicule had their community learned that one of their family members is a PWD. She further added that some families would rather keep their silence on the condition of their member to avoid neighborhood gossips.

In the end, Arriola assured that RA 9442 encompasses sanctions given to any person who is verbally and/or physically abusing a PWD. “Huwag po tayong matakot, may kaukulang batas at parusa sa mga taong mangugutya sa mga kababayan natin na may kapansanan,” she added.

Shared support

The consultation-dialogue intensified as one of the stakeholders brought to table the 1% share from the total municipal budget for senior citizens’ and PWDs development programs. This concern was directed to the proper division of budget. Each party do not have the same developmental programs, and the PWD sector has relatively more number of projects therefore needing a higher budget. Marc Arthur Silverio, representative of town Mayor Gerard Montojo, addressed the issue saying both parties could come into concensus. They can hold a meeting and compromise as to the division of budget.

Silverio emphasized how the 1% share had been properly utilized since its implementation in 2009. He enumerated the programs to which the share was allocated such as, educational assistance for PWDs, issuance of ID for discounts, financial, medical and burial assistance.

Game face on

The celebration was punctuated with parlor games prepared for PWD attendees. Players proved how any form of disability do not hinder ones capacity to win. Every single one of the attendees participated in egg relay, stop-dance, paper dance and trip to Jerusalem. Fancy prizes were at stake. Having participated the game, Ilyn Ismael, a handicapped, said smiling “nagsaya ako ng husto hindi ko na-feel na natalo ako”.

PWD beneficiaries enjoying the all-too-famous Trip to Jerusalem parlor game.

PWD beneficiaries enjoying the all-too-famous Trip to Jerusalem parlor game.

As if befitting to the theme “Building an Inclusive and Non-Handicapping Environment for PWDs”, Jerry Masaulong, a PWD beneficiary, sang the lyrics to the song Pusong Bato which perfectly described the feeling of PWDs towards societal discriminatory behavior. Although it spoke of love and heartbreak, the emotional equivalent of pain and embarrassment a PWD feels by each derogatory word said to any one of them is evident.

In the end, the participants were all awarded with prizes such as canned goods, school supplies and grocery items. The LGU also took the time to distribute cash grants to the beneficiaries of Special Education Program for children with autism.

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DSWD IV-MiMaRoPa Holds Provincial Consultation Dialogue for RA 9442

Stakeholders attentively listen to presenters while noting down points for discussion thereafter.

Stakeholders attentively listen to presenters while noting down points for discussion thereafter.

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan – Five government agencies gathered in response to an initiative by the Department of       Social Welfare and Development IV- MIMAROPA to conduct a consultation dialogue with the Local Government Unit and Stakeholders of Puerto Princesa City in the implementation of Republic Act No. 9442 known as “Magna Carta for Persons With Disabilities”, last July 10, 2013.

The consultation dialogue was in favor of presenting the guidelines in implementation of the RA 9442. Delegates from the DSWD, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) took turns in presenting laws and programs to be implemented by their respective department.

The RA 9442 which benefits the welfare of persons with disabilities was an amendment of RA 7277. The Act highlights the 20 percent discount and other special privileges provided to PWDs at drugstores and establishments such as restaurants, theatres, cinemas, amusement parks etc.

A comprehensive discussion on specified orders in accordance with RA 9442 underlined the first half of the consultation dialogue. The rest of the day was solely dedicated to an open forum participated by attendees from various associations of PWDs and other concerned stakeholders.

One section of the Act that states the reduction in tax obligations of a person taking care of a PWD was put into question by Municipality Budget Officer of Quezon, Palawan, Mr. Eddie Luneta. He proposed that the same regulation should apply for employed PWD. Luneta further implied how having to take care of a person with disability and having the disability yourself bear no difference in the degree of burden therefore concluding the specific regulation should apply to an employed PWD himself.  This concern was quickly addressed by Ms. Geneliza Gabilan, DSWD IV-MIMAROPA’s focal person for PWDs, validating the 25% tax reduction on the gross salary total of an employed PWD.

As the forum progressed, one beneficiary complained of some drugstores’ refusal to provide a 20% discount on purchase. Gabilan explained that a beneficiary should first be legitimately registered as a PWD. That means undergoing the process of acquiring an ID needed to present to any drugstores and/or establishments that a PWD has benefit from. The process includes obtaining a medical report from a government hospital to identify the kind of disability a person has. The medical report will then be used to check if the type of disability a person has, qualifies for the kind of protection RA 9442 gives.

The session concluded with a few concerns left to be confirmed. That includes the 1% of the total municipal budget that is supposedly allocated to development programs for PWDs and Senior Citizens. Also, a few clarifications are yet to be discussed in reference to the percentage of tax reduction of an employed person who has a PWD for a beneficiary.  These concerns will be looked into by the concerned government agencies and a promise of a timely response has been set.



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NHTSPR second round assessment targets half a million households in MiMaRoPa

With the successful launching and implementation of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTSPR) Central Database in 2009, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office IV-MiMaRoPa is now preparing for its second round of regionwide household assessment this September.

Targeting 591,699 households across five island provinces in MiMaRoPa, the DSWD will be deploying field staff to conduct house-to-house interviews as part of the four-year updating of database of poor and non-poor households to establish its integrity and relevance in identifying beneficiaries for various social protection programs.

DSWD will be using a four-paged revised Household Assessment Form (HAF) which is deemed critical to identify the socio-economic status of a household. HAF contains 42 verifiable indicators such as household composition, housing structure, education of household members, material assets and access to basic services.

“We will assess all households in the community particularly those barangays located in rural areas while barangays situated in urban centers are subject for saturation or pockets of poverty depending on the  magnitude of poor households”, says Regional Field Coordinator, Ernie H. Jarabejo.

The collected data will go  through Proxy Means Test (PMT), a statistical formula that estimates the income of households based on the proxy variables in the household assessment form to identify if the household is poor or not.

Moreover, these field staff will undergo series of training to equip them for the conduct of household assessment before they will be assigned in their respective areas. Trainings are scheduled on August to October 2013.

NHTSPR is the result of the Department’s effort to respond to the need of mapping out who and where the poor are nationwide. ###

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DSWD IV-MiMaRoPa conducts orientation on Foster Care

Malate, Manila – Municipal Social Welfare Officers from the different provinces of MiMaRoPa came in to attend the orientation on Foster Care Act of 2012 held last July 17, 2013. The activity was facilitated by Social Welfare Officers Ms. Priscila Contreras and Ms. Cecil Sajonia. The aim of the activity is to enhance the skills of social workers in handling foster cases.

Assistant Regional Director for Administration Mr. Joel Mijares said that with the passage of the Republic Act 10165 or the Foster Care Act of 2012, social workers will play a big part on how the said law will be effectively implemented. Being the ones at the forefront, there is a need to know the salient features of the law so as to provide the child with his/her needs.

Ms. Sandra Plata of the Protective Services Bureau, DSWD Central Office discussed the Republic Act 10165 and its implementing Rules and Regulations. As a backgrounder, the Republic Act 10165 adheres to the policy of the State to provide every child who is neglected, abused, surrendered, under sociocultural difficulties, abused, or with special needs with an alternative family that will provide love and care as well as opportunities for growth and development. It was recently signed into law last June 11, 2012.

Nonetheless, Ms. Plata also shared with the participants some known personalities who have engaged in foster care and have consequently become adoptive families.

In MiMaRoPa, there are 100 licensed foster families. To date, there are 56 children who are under the care of licensed foster parents.

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