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DSWD IV-MiMaRoPa holds forum on disaster response

Participants share experiences in relief operations in the aftermath of TS Yolanda.

Participants share experiences in relief operations in the aftermath of TS Yolanda.

Malate, Manila – “We need to fully comprehend what the New Normal is and how our Region can cope in terms of preparedness and response to changes in weather conditions,” the Regional Director Wilma D. Naviamos of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) IV – MIMAROPA was quoted saying in the recently concluded first semester Social Welfare and Development (SWD) forum, yesterday, May 13, 2014.

The objective of the forum titled “Ako at Si Yolanda: Conversations on Yolanda experiences”, was to pool together, employees of DSWD MiMaRoPa who had a firsthand experience in relief operations in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda.

The participants answered 5 questions that were carefully crafted in order to extract ideas to help create immediate steps to betterment of response in times of disaster.

Naviamos emphasized that she had participated and led various disaster response operations in the past but believed there still are major actions to be taken to cope with the New Normal.

 “The changes in weather conditions, as well as the increase in strength, magnitude and frequency of occurrence of various natural calamities, such as Yolanda, is what the new normal is about,” said Priscilla Natanauan, Training Specialist who presided the forum.

Participants answered questions that were later consolidated to form specific actions to employ when the next disaster strikes. Part of the recommendations was to have a uniform reporting template for ease in turnover and understanding of written reports. Also, Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Team Leader Miramelinda Leuterio suggested that a warehouse, should be readily available for stockpile of relief packs in the field offices.

Furthermore, volunteers had shared how equally difficult and rewarding the overall experience was. “Sa trabaho talaga natin kelangan may puso ka, masarap sa pakiramdam kahit nakakapagod,” said Jayson Masangkay, Financial Analyst of the region.

The result of the open discussion will be consolidated and further studied in order to concretize a plan of action to be undertaken in the next three months. ###


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The stronger ‘link’

Robert Salva,  beneficiary of cash-for-work project signs the payroll before receiving a Php2,750 cash assistance.

Robert Salva, beneficiary of cash-for-work project signs the payroll before receiving a Php2,750 cash assistance.

Yolanda breeds new species.

There is a blinding truth to the all-too-familiar belief that when one suffered an excruciating pain, one comes back a changed person. Ever-resilient. Ever-hopeful. Eternally optimistic.

Six months ago, TS Yolanda wreaked havoc to a small island-barangay of Malawig in Coron, Palawan. On the very island where survivors witnessed the merciless destruction caused by Yolanda, sat a group of young children singing along a Celine Dion hit, ‘My heart will go on’. Six months ago, volunteers could have been desperately holding their tears back upon hearing the painful experience told by survivors. Today, they could be clenching their mouth from chattering along the hit song and belting the chorus to an almost embarrassing degree.


Unbroken chain of support

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) revisited Malawig to distribute a Php2,750 cash assistance to 186 households that were completely damaged by Yolanda. The cash assistance was a payout to identified beneficiaries who had reconstructed their own house on a course of 10 days.

Robert Salva, 36, was one of the many individuals whose house were washed to the ocean. “Matapos yung bagyo, wala na kaming nabalikan na bahay, pero pinilit pa din namin magtayo ng bago (After the typhoon had passed, we were left without a house but tried to rebuild a new one anyway),” said Salva upon recalling his experience. His wife and two children are temporarily living with his in-laws until he finished the house he himself is rebuilding.

“Napakalaking tulong po ng halaga na naibahagi sa amin ngayon, kasi minsan kahit pako hindi kami makabili (this amount that were given to us is of huge help, this could help us afford to buy nails [for construction]),” said Senjen Capriano, 29, a resident who suffered the loss of his twins. Capriano added how his life has changed, and that most of his time is devoted to rebuilding his house and boat that were instantly smashed by Yolanda.


A leap of change

Clean streets. The island had slowly rebuilt its houses and streets from rubble and wreckage left by TS Yolanda.

Clean streets. The island had slowly rebuilt its houses and streets from rubble and wreckage left by TS Yolanda.

The residents of Malawig had been indebted with gratitude to various organizations that came and had been coming for support. ”Mabuti nga po at marami pa din tumutulong, kasi mahihirapan kaming makabangon kung wala kaming tulong na natatanggap (we are thankful for the outpour of assistance, we wouldn’t have been able to rise up from this if not for all these support),” said Virginia Viscara, 42, one of the beneficiaries.

There’s a glaring evidence of physical change in the island. Houses were rebuilt, standing solidly beneath the piercing heat of the sun. Streets were wiped clean paving way to sari-sari stores that re-opened. Schools were erected from rubbles and boats lazily docked on the shore.

The proof of what wreckage Yolanda brought gradually fades into history. If someone had not seen the island in the aftermath of the storm, he would not believe the kind of improvement Malawig had. Yet, somewhere along the faces of survivors are the remarkable indications of struggle and distress they experienced.

Malawig had gone through an indefinable force of change. A harrowing experience will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of all its survivors. “Kapag maiba lang po ng konti ang alon o lumakas ang hangin hindi na po kami makatulog, (we lose sleep when the waves and the winds’ strength heightened),” said one of the beneficiaries.

Beyond the reality of fear, these people had rebuilt their houses. Despite mourning for loved ones they had lost, they managed to grin and bear it.   Change could come in imperceptible and blatant flashes, but the residents stayed on their island – painting resilience in different shades.

People are bound to suffer and survive at some point. Life is ever-changing. A cliché that individuals truly grow tougher through suffering is around for this reason.



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The wisdom of the poor

Lydia sits comfortably amidst her freshly-harvested seaweeds. She has tirelessly been farming for 20 years and will continue until she's saved enough for retirement.

Lydia sits comfortably amidst her freshly-harvested seaweeds. She has tirelessly been farming for 20 years and will continue until she’s saved enough for retirement.

The working class. The tired. The small-earners. The ever-hopeful. The perpetually optimistic. The dreamers. These people are among us. They are the mirroring image of an economically challenged nation – a spitting reflection of a struggling Juan. The poor. The receiving end of charity works.

Poverty may have crippled many a people, but to a few, it grows into a great driving force. Lydia and Paz, are among many struggling residents from poor barangays in Taytay, Palawan. They are two women of colorful backgrounds. They belong to what the government refer to as the marginalized sector – the poor. Yet, all these women break the archetypal characterization of a poor person. When they speak of their struggles, they smile and laugh off what everyone would have sulked about.

Life’s a beach

To 64 year-old Lydia Obiña, life is a walk on a beach. “Mahirap ka na ipinanganak eh, mahirap na ngang maging mahirap magrereklamo ka pa, magtrabaho na lang kung ano kayang trabahuhin. Wala naman magagawa ang pag-awa sa sarili,” said Lydia while tinkering ropes for her seaweed farm. It was mid-morning, she and her husband are out in the middle of the sea harvesting seaweeds. They had attended the training conducted by the Department of Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) in cooperation with Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Seaweeds Farming.

Lydia thankfully shared how their family’s earning had doubled after learning an innovative way of farming seaweeds. “Nung una kung ano lang nakaugalian namin sa pagtatanim, ganun lang ginagawa namin. Madalas nalulugi kami kapag binagyo. Ngayon yung turo sa amin na MVL [multiple vertical lines], ng BFAR eh nakatulong para hindi maapektuhan pananim namin kapag bagyuhan,” said Lydia. Her seaweed farming had helped their family support her daughter’s college education who had recently finished school. “Malaking tulong, lalo na at wala naman kaming ibang alam na gawin kundi ang mag-seaweed,” she added.

The Obiñas earn at least Php20, 000 from marketing their harvested seaweeds. To a family of three, the amount seems to be of great value. But to Filipinos customary action, Lydia is generously helping a few of her relatives who are in dire need of financial support. She recalled the times when they were receiving help from relatives as well, and she felt indebted to return to favor.

Moreover, the couple are very much settled to the kind of life they have built for their family. “Nakatapos na ang anak ko at kami naman ay nagtatrabaho para makadagdag sa ipon at matulungan ang anak namin na makahanap ng trabaho,” Lydia said.  At her age, Lydia had not shown sign of physical weakness. Farming is a job that requires great physical strength, and for a person who has been in the business for over 20 years, Lydia has proven to be fit at 64. “Mas nakakabata yata kapag masaya ka sa ginagawa mo,” she said smiling.

A mother, a leader

Paz, like Lydia, had benefited from various skills enhancement training conducted by SLP. Her journey was different, in a way that she gained more than skills from cashew production training – she became a leader.

Happy and contented. Paz finds joy in heading the Cashew Production Process of Taytay, Palawan since its commencement in Spetember of 2013. She is a proud member of Taytay SEA-K and a devoted Parent Leader of Pantawid Pamilya.

Happy and contented. Paz finds joy in heading the Cashew Production Process of Taytay, Palawan since its commencement in Spetember of 2013. She is a proud member of Taytay SEA-K and a devoted Parent Leader of Pantawid Pamilya.

Her face is that of a person who seemingly have a smile on default. Paz is a rare combination of timid yet naturally bubbly personality. When she speaks of her life experiences and the hardships she went through, Paz managed to smile in between and ends most of her stories in giggles.

“Mananahi po ako noon, at talagang hirap na hirap po kumita ng pera,” she recalled. Paz was a tailor, and in a town where ukay-ukay is largely available, there’s a very small chance that a tailor will be needed for clothing. “Minsan may kita, minsan naman ay wala, pero wala naman akong ibang alam na trabaho kundi yoon,” she said forcing a grin. She was very eager to find a regular job as she has a family to support.

Paz felt fortunate to have taken part in Cashew Production Training and took it as an opportunity for a stable job. “Nung nabalitaan kong may training, talagang ginawan ko ng paraan para makakumpleto ng attendance,” said Paz. She coped by asking her neighbors to attend to her kids during training hours. “Gustong-gusto ko po talaga na mabuo yung training, yung iba kong kakilala eh hindi nagtapos, pero ayoko panghinaan ng loob,” she relayed.

Her persistence paid off, as today, Paz is a Parent Leader and the Center Manager for Processing in Taytay Cashew SEA –Kaunlaran Association. The organization produces variety of cashew products such as, cashew butter, salted and roasted cashew nuts, cashew brittle and cashew polvoron. These products are sold to tourists and neighboring towns. “Nakakatuwa na sa araw-araw meron kang dahilan para gumising, ito na yung inaantay kong regular na trabaho,” she said joyfully.

Paz recollected the time in September when they had just started production of cashew. As any first time business venture, it suffered. “Wala po kaming alam saan ibenta yung mga ginawa namin, napanghinaan na nga po kami ng loob at sabi namin parang hindi naman ito mabebenta at walang bumibili,” she assumed.  In a true sense of team work the first set of produced products were bought by members of the association in order to breakeven.

The business gradually picked up and today, they earn at least Php100, 000 a month from selling the cashew products. Through her active involvement in building the cashew production business, Paz developed a sense of leadership. When most of her peers voted for her to become the center manager, she immediately took on the position. Being a leader to at least 1, 595 members, she gained a stronger sense of self. “Mas pakiramdam ko na nakakatulong ako hindi lang sa aking pamilya pero sa iba din,” she proudly admits.

Wisdom of the poor

The Philippines is a struggling nation. There are multitude of stories from people living below the poverty line that are both inspiring and heartbreaking. There are some like Lydia and Paz, who did not lose hope and instead continued to live and find a way to betterment.

Lydia and Paz may have been classified as poor. Most of them are tired from fighting a day-to-day battle to survival but they do not lose hope. They do not earn big, but continue to work and find work anyway. They are acutely aware of the life circumstances they’re in, and yet look into the future with great positivity. They had been through the most trying times of their lives but smiled and moved on.

To some degree, there is wisdom in poverty.



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DSWD Region IV-MiMaRoPa celebrates adoption consciousness

Stakeholders parade along downtown San Jose holding banners bearing messages of support for legal adoption .

Stakeholders parade along downtown San Jose holding banners bearing messages of support for legal adoption .

Occidental, Mindoro – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region IV – MiMaRoPa led recently the Lakad Para sa Pag-aampon ng Bata, a fun walk promoting awareness on legal adoption in San Jose, last March 25, 2014.

Various stakeholders including the Philippine National Police (PNP), Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) from different municipalities of Occidental Mindoro, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), and Social Work students from Occidental Mindoro State College (OMSC) paraded along downtown San Jose in support of legal adoption. Participants held placards bearing motivational slogan reinforcing the importance of adopting an abandoned, abused or neglected child.

“Isang magandang adhikain ang matulungan ang mga inabandonang kabataan na magkaroon ng pamilya,” said Mayor Romulo Festin in his inspirational message during a short program held after the parade. Families who have successfully raised an fostered child gave speech in light of breaking the stigma on adoption. “Kung wala pong umampon sa akin, wala na rin po ako siguro sa harapan nyo,” said Jennylyn Talento, a 25 year-old fostered child in her testimonial. Her foster mother, Benny Gasmin, 45, cried upon her delivery of speech saying “Malaki po ang biyaya na hatid ng pag-aampon ng bata, napakasarap po sa pakiramdam na nakatulong, nakapagpalaki at nakapagbigay ng magandang buhay sa isang bata.”

DSWD Region IV – MiMaRoPa Regional Director, Wilma D. Naviamos reinforced the fact that adopted children should be free from ridicule as they are not different from any other children. “Huwag po nating kutyain ang mga batang inampon, sila ay hindi naiiba sa kahit sa sino sa atin,” Naviamos added. She also said that everyone has an equal chance at becoming successful in life regardless of ones stature.

A covenant signing capped the short program to reassure commitment and full support of various stakeholders in promoting legal adoption.



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A second chance: An account on woman empowerment

Written by: Ruth Tamara Encarnacion, Municipal Link

Healed wounds when scratched relive the pain that was once felt. It is but a constant reminder of what made us become the person we are today. It might sound hurtful, but to experience such cruelty will definitely make one rethink how safe and secure we are in this society we call just and accepting. According to the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, “It is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women.”

Maria (not her actual name), 33 years old, belongs to the Iraya group of Mangyans. She lives in Baco, Oriental Mindoro. She is a wife, a mother of three and an active member of the community. A Community Health Team (CHT) member in their barangay and parent leader of Pantawid Pamilya, Maria is also a survivor of domestic violence.

Maria is third among nine siblings in their family and graduated secondary education in Baco Catholic High School. She lived with her partner, Jay, of Visayan origin, since 2000 and was only legally married last 2010. Her husband supports them as a farmer in their own inherited land and sometimes gets manual jobs.

Early years

During the early years of their partnership, the couple stayed with their in-laws despite the disapproval on their relationship. They were blessed with two children, Nene and Toto. With their second child diagnosed with heart ailment that led to more health complications, and just like any other starting family, the couple had difficulty financing their needs. Their son’s health condition required monitoring until the age of one and a half which led them financially drained.

Her in-laws wanted her husband to sell fish together with his uncle. Maria disapproved as it would only decrease the earnings since his husband has to share it with his uncle. They will be left with smaller income compared to their own efforts in selling crops. The conversation turned into argument with Maria’s husband and was overheard by her ferocious mother-in-law. She was told that she should not meddle with the work of her son. Being young, fearsome, and powerless, Maria went back to her parent’s home.

Going back

Being a parent triumphs over any hurt Maria felt at that time and went back to her husband after a week. When she arrived at her in-laws house, her husband was not there. He went across the Pambisan River, a place within their municipality to sell bamboo. When her in-laws saw her, they started to scold her and called her names. She tried to defend herself but her father-in-law forcibly placed his used underwear inside her mouth. The words uttered and actions showed to her at that time had lower her worth as human being.

With a weakened emotional state, Maria ran back to their house to find solace but to her disbelief, her father-in-law went after her and started beating her with a two-by-two sized coco lumber while saying mean things. The event was witnessed by her daughter, sister and cousin. They weren’t able to help her because of her in-law’s threat that he will kill her.

It was the worst days of her life. She was starved and beaten relentlessly by the people she considered her second family. It was on the third day, while she was having some time alone with her children and sitting on a hammock when her father-in-law cut the ropes holding it and made them fall on the ground. He started slapping and beating her again, and even kicked her daughter, Nene. Nene dashed to the side of the house and cried. Her son, Toto was taken away from her. She was unable to attend to her daughter as her hair was already enveloped in a tight grip and her back was taking all the kick from her in-law. This was the scene that her husband saw. Jay tried to stop his father but cannot control the situation. “Parang awa mo na, gupitin mo ang buhok ko,” Maria pleaded. Her husband helped her. Maria took her daughter and fled. That was in August 2005. It had been raining hard and with adrenaline pumping through her body, she managed to carry her child and swam across the river and passed by a small area with few residents. She ran to the barangay captain’s house.

Seeing all her bruises and wounds, she was led inside the house. She confided the incident and was told that they could stay for the night and that her parents will be called to take her the next morning. Both Maria and her daughter were given first aid.


Early the next day, her parents arrived and were shocked at the sight of her swollen face and bruises. Her husband, Jay, was also there. He sided with his own parents and denied Maria’s accusations and told them that she was the one hysterical when she arrived at their house that is why his parents had to hurt her to realize what she was doing. “Ayaw ko na po sa babaeng yan!” said her husband. She felt betrayed and alone. She was hoping that her husband will save her, but hearing him utter those words, got her mad.

Her mother accompanied her to the municipal health center to gather physical evidence. She then went to their own barangay hall and reported the incident to the police. Unfortunately, her in-laws had connections and turned the story around. According to Maria, her father-in-law purposely banged himself to a tree to show that she attacked him. Maria felt untrusting since then.

She thought of her son, Toto who was still with her husband and in-laws. She decided to seek assistance from the DSWD in getting back her son’s custody.

Fighting back

Taking back her child is what’s important to Maria. After what she’s been through, she doesn’t think of her fears anymore, and just wants to be reunited with her children. She went back to her husband’s house together with two case workers and policemen to get her son.

Since her child is a minor, by law, the child should stay with the custody of her mother. She did not push through with the case against her in-laws. What matters for Maria is that she has her children with her.

Two years passed and she learned to do hard jobs from planting to harvesting rice in the fields. She also accepted other decent jobs that will bring food to the table. She also sold crops such as bananas, coconuts, vegetables, etc. There was no room for self-pity, no time to cry, and the anger she felt pushed her to prove her self-worth and make a living for her children. Also, the violence she experienced prevented her from entertaining even the slightest thought of living with another man.

Putting the past behind

The day came when her husband knocked on their door and asked for forgiveness. She slapped him on the face and told him to leave, but her husband pleaded and told her that he will wait. He said he was sorry for not believing her.

Their children talked to their father and it made Maria realized how much their children missed their father. She decided to accept her husband once again but with the condition that he better stand and fight for their family. He promised to do so and has not failed since.

New beginnings

It was in 2011 that their family became beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya. She made sure that she does not miss the conditions of the program. She vowed to send her children to school regularly believing that education is their best weapon from people who will look down at them.

Through the Family Development Sessions (FDS), she learned that to value the time she spends with her family and applied the parenting styles she sees effective in raising her children. It was also in these monthly meetings that she came across the topic of Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC). She asked, “When was VAWC implemented? Had what happened to me considered VAWC?” She had better understanding of the subject.

With her gutsy attitude, she was chosen to become a parent leader by the other 32 members in their barangay. She attended an IP-based Workers and Parent Leaders Training held in Manila last year initiated by the Department. Being a parent leader boosts her confidence and feeling of acceptance in the community. She was said to be of big help to other members of the program in preparing updates and filing grievances. She found her self-worth, dignity and uniqueness.

Her influence to her members was seen by the midwives in their area that opened more opportunities of serving the people. She became a CHT member in 2012 and earns Php2,000 a month. She also works as an all-around housemaid. She does her job well as the money she earns help her children in their school. Currently, it also helps in paying the motorcycle they acquired.

Little by little, they have been lifting their social status. Her father-in-law died a few years ago and Maria has maintained a civil relationship with her mother-in-law who also visits them from time to time.

Maria claims, “A long period has passed, I learned a lot of things. I am different now. I am no longer afraid, but it is only now that I cried, not when I told the case workers, not when I told the police or the barangay captain. I have not talked about it since. I even thought of not showing in this interview,” Maria said.

“The Pantawid Pamilya has empowered me as a woman, taught me the value of self-respect, that I am a person with equal rights and dignity. Whenever I see my sister crying because of marital disputes, I tell her to stop crying and do something,” she added.

A wiser and fiercer woman brought by age and experience, Maria dreams big for her now three kids. “I want them to finish college. In this society, you get discriminated just by knowing that you are an IP, more so, a woman, confined to do very limited traditional roles. There is a big difference when you are educated. People look at you with high regard. They are afraid to touch you or say things about you because they know that you know the law, your rights, and what to do.” A woman is created equal with men, may be not by physical strength; nonetheless, she was chosen to bear children. She is capable of multitasking. A woman is never afraid to show her emotions. She has sensitivity to the needs of others. Her silence could mean a lot of things but it is her complexity that showcases her worth.

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100 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries gain access to social insurance

Pola, Oriental Mindoro – Mayor Leonardo Panganiban Jr. headed recently the launching of Alkansssya Program – a microsavings program designed for informal workers seeking social protection in Pola Municipal gymnasium, March 12, 2014.
The event was attended by 100 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who are new members of the Alkansssya program. The project is a collaboration between the local government unit of Pola, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region IV – MiMaRoPa and Social Security System (SSS).
Alkansssya is a saving scheme that helps informal workers save up for their SSS contribution through the use of “piggy bank” cabinets. Beneficiaries are encouraged to deposit an amount on a daily basis until they come up with the Php312.00 monthly contribution.
“Isa po itong malaking tulong, at isang maluwag na pamamaraan upang magkaroon ng access sa insurance ang ating mga kababayaran ditto sa pola,” said Mayor Panganiban, who signed the memorandum of agreement with DSWD and SSS taking accountability for the safekeeping of the aluminum cabinets in Pola municipal office.
Roberto Marcelo, Branch Manager of SSS Oriental Mindoro, said the project will be able to give easy access to all informal workers in gaining insurance protection without the burden of having to give out Php312.00 contribution at once. He also added that the SSS team will take full responsibility of assuring the amount is deposited monthly. Members can also avail of salary and housing loans, as well as funeral, maternity, disability, death and retirement benefits.
The event was also attended by SWAD team leader Miramelinda Leuterio, DSWD IV-MIMAROPA external relations officer Maritess Pones and Municipal Social Welfare Office’s, Remedios Fegalan.
Pola is the first municipality in Oriental Mindoro that adopted the project and will soon be replicated in other municipalities as well.

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Taking part in every aspect

Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries take part in the celebration of Panginhas Festival in Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro through street dancing,

Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries take part in the celebration of Panginhas Festival in Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro through street dancing,

Loud music playing. Colorful banderitas hanging. People cheering.

These are signs of piyestang bayan (festival) celebrated in municipalities and provinces. For the Southernmost part of Oriental Mindoro, Bulalacao, their festival this year brought a new flavor to their municipality.

The Panginhas Festival of Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro started some 20 years ago, but was never celebrated tremendously in the succeeding years. Taken from the same name of the shell that is also found in the municipality, the celebration aims to offer a festive mood to its citizens. Known as a third class municipality, it is not in the grandeur of performances but with the participation of the people.

With the Pantawid Pamilya taking part in almost every activity in the municipality, the field staff took an initiative and actively recommended to take part in the program of the festival through street dancing.

Barangay Poblacion with over 200 beneficiaries formed eight groups of 10 to 20 members. The eight groups performed their dances to the tune of “Piliin Mo Ang Pilipinas” by Angeline Quinto. Before the proper competition in the gymnasium, the groups paraded around the barangay as an invitation to join them in their jovial mood.

With the theme, “Empowering Pantawid Pamilya Beneficiaries Thru Community Participation,” the groups were judged on their props, costume, dance steps and relativity to the theme. The performances brought loud cheers from the audiences. Officials of the municipality from the police, army, barangay, neighboring municipalities and even one from the Pantawid Pamilya staff judged the presentations. Before announcing the winners, one of the judges, a councilor in Roxas said in his speech, “Your festival may not be as grand compared to other municipalities or provinces but I can feel the unity and joy in the participants and the audiences as well. May you continue the harmony your community projects for the coming activities.” The participants received cash prizes and plaque of recognition.

Moreover, prior to the street dancing, Mutya ng Panginhas was held the night before. Here, seven contestants vie for the top spot. Two of the seven are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who took home the first and second runner-up crowns. It goes to show that difficulties in life cannot be a hindrance to achieve what you want.

The field staff of Pantawid Pamilya continue to be active members of the community by doing their jobs first and going beyond such as taking part in festival celebrations and making sure that everyone gets to enjoy. It is not only the implementation of the program that makes a difference to the lives of its beneficiaries, but also the people behind the program and doing more of what is required from them.



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Puerto Galera LGU to offer livelihood options to Pantawid beneficiaries and human trafficking survivors

(from left to right) Stariway Foundation Dir. Lars Jorgensen, MSWDO SWO Carlito Mendoza and Mayor Hubert Dolor.

(from left to right) Stariway Foundation Dir. Lars Jorgensen, MSWDO SWO Carlito Mendoza and Mayor Hubert Dolor.

MALATE, MANILA— Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) IV-MiMaRoPa held a consultation dialogue with Puerto Galera Mayor Hubert Dolor, Stairway Foundation and TESDA MiMaRoPa in the DSWD-led initiative to reinforce anti-human trafficking campaign in the municipality, February 26, 2014.

The dialogue aimed to device a strategic plan addressing the existence of human trafficking cases in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. Women, who are forced into commercial sex work are the primary victim of human trafficking in the municipality. “Kelangan na may mas maigting na plano para mawala at maiwasan ang maging biktima ng human trafficking, (There should be a good strategic plan in order to eliminate and avoid being victimized by human traffickers),” said Concepcion Deymos, Focal Person for Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked persons (RRPTP),DSWD IV-MiMaRoPa.

Mayor Dolor, emphasized the importance of providing livelihood options for potential victims for them not to fall prey to human traffickers. Business entrepreneur Ricky Reyes expressed solidarity with DSWD in its fight against human trafficking. His representative, who was present during the dialogue offered to submit a proposal listing possible training courses for livelihood.

Mayor Dolor promised to look into the proposal for possible partnership with Ricky Reyes in the implementation of to-be-proposed training programs.

In addition to provision of livelihood, DSWD have been doubling its effort in advocating RA 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Human Trafficking Act across the region and had recently conducted community orientation in Palawan and Mindoro respectively.###


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