Archive | December 10th, 2013

DSWD CONVERGENCE: A TRUE TESTAMENT OF GENUINE GOVERNMENT SERVITUDE

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has made it to a point that regardless of the issues being thrown at the institution, it is being dealt by showing how successful programs are being implemented, and how transparent transactions are dealt with. In fact, in Region X, the management has clearly maximized all programs to subsidize all beneficiaries by employing qualified and competent workers. To do so, the management, with the constant supervision of the Regional Director, Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo, has made sure all workers are knowledgeable of all the programs offered by the department in the region.

Workers from top positions to the bottom are comprehensively informed of the progress of the programs and important matters that has something to do with ensuring that regional operations are at its best.

The Convergence Strategy of maximizing impact of the three Anti-Poverty Programs of the Department, namely, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4 P’s), the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), and the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP, formerly known as SEA-K) or the TATSULO Program is at full swing at ensuring that people who deserve government aid are reached by programs that would address their needs. A true testament to this is the municipality of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

In 2008, the municipality had gone through a serious ordeal when Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels attacked civilians in Muslim and Christian barangays in the municipality. War broke out in Lanao del Norte and the people were the biggest losers in the battle.  The little progress that the municipality felt had a set-back because of the conflict. With the entry of the TATSULO Program, problems brought about by the forgettable incidents of 2008 will now be dealt with.

The Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA Program is a project of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) program geared at aiding armed conflict areas by providing them necessary sub-projects to bring them back on track on progress. It is being managed by the DSWD through the Community-Driven Development Program of the Department, the Kalahi-CIDSS. Through the program, barangays are given the opportunity to deal with problems brought about by the armed conflict issues in the area. All thirteen barangays of the municipality have benefited from twelve sub-projects (Brgy. Libertad and Brgy. Tacub had a merged water system project) for the PAMANA Cycle 1 implementation.

As of the moment, the municipality is implementing the PAMANA Cycle 2, which will then again provide their different barangays with means to deal with the problems of armed conflict and the different effects it has brought to the lives of the people of Kauswagan.

The Municipality is also benefitting from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).  There are a total of two thousand seventy-four (2,074) beneficiaries of the program distributed in six (6) sets and a hundred and seventy-three (173) of these beneficiaries are under the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer – Extended Age Coverage Program, where beneficiaries or families with children 15-17 are still provided cash grants for their continuing schooling needs.

The 4Ps is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor families, particularly families with children aged 0 to 14 years old. Pantawid Pamilya provides cash grants to beneficiaries provided that they comply with the set of conditions required by the program. The program provides immediate relief from difficulties that often push families to sacrifice their future to survive the present. It aims at putting an end to the inter-generation of poverty that a lot of Filipino families are facing.

Lastly, Kauswagan also benefits from the Sustainable Livelihood Program through the Bottom up Budgeting Program (BUB) in the municipality. The SLP implements and manages funds of the BUB. Through the Sustainable Livelihood Program, 340 beneficiaries (households/groups) have benefitted from Php 3,400,000 worth of livelihood capital and benefitted from SLP trainings on livelihood sustainability and compatibility.

Kauswagan went through a troubled past. But the future is bright for the people of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte all because the government, through the different programs of the department tries to ensure that the municipality be steered back to its former glory. The Department of Social Welfare and Development will ensure just that through the partnership with the provincial local government unit of Lanao del Norte and the municipal local government unit of Kauswagan. Because of this, all hope is restored for Kauswagan.

Written by: Marko Davey D. Reyes – Social Marketing Officer (Kalahi-CIDSS)

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SENIOR CITIZENS ENSURE TRANSPARENCY OF GOVERNMENT PROJECTS

With the on-going issues we have with corruption in the government and with intrigues on government expenditures, especially in national agencies, one could wonder if whether there is still but one politician or government agency who/that is still true to their calling.

People say that once you are part of a blemished system, you also get to be infected; soiled.

With these things at hand, it is now a priority of government agencies to clear their names of any negative image, or distance themselves from the issues by clearing their ranks of employees whose names are being dragged onto the issue, or just by keeping mum about the issues.

But what better way to prove all detractors wrong than to show how successful programs are being implemented by being transparent.

The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) deals about this matter.  The Community-Driven Development strategy of the program allows a multi-stakeholder approach in the project implementation; opening all doors to just about everyone who gets to benefit from the various sub-projects of the program.

In this manner, various organizations/bodies (Civic Society Organizations, Non-Government Organizations, Peoples Organizations, Local Government Units, National Agencies) get to be part of the project implementation primarily as Bantay (Watchdogs – geared at preventing corruption), Gabay (Guide – provide technical support to the department), Tulay (Bridge – link between the department and the various target sectors), Kaagapay (Partners in implementing various programs or projects). The multi-stakeholder approach encourages people or groups to ensure that the project implementation is on the right track, achieving all goals.

Pilar Jimenez Bonete, Office for Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) Chair for Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, is an avid partner of the project.  One could never miss her on the sub-project sight of Barangay Kawit Oriental, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. Supported by her aluminum walker, she steadfastly monitors the construction of the 300 linear meters Farm to Market Road PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan) sub-project; doing her part as an advocate for transparent governance.

“I am glad of the Kalahi-CIDSS PAMANA project in our municipality.  We get to be part of the implementation, especially in the monitoring.  We senior citizens may be old, but we can still function in our society very well”, Mrs. Bonete Said.

Mrs. Bonete is a retired teacher in Kauswagan, serving for more than 30 years, and ending her career in teaching as principal for Kauswagan Elementary School. Her advocacy to empower senior citizens earned her an award from the Coalition of Elderly Services in 2011; the only awardee from Mindanao that year.

“As the chair for OSCA in Kauswagan, I have been working with the DSWD especially in the payout for the Social Pension Program.  I always offer my help, especially in locating those members who are unable to be present in the payout. But what I do for the PAMANA project is another matter. I serve as a partner for the implementation. Our organization serves as guardians to ensure transactions are transparent”, Mrs. Bonete said.

Another member of OSCA, Mrs. Efigencia S. Jumawan, Federated Secretary for Kauswagan, partners with Mrs. Bonete overlooking KC-PAMANA sub-projects. She admires the enthusiasm of Mrs. Bonete in partnering with the DSWD to ensure that the PAMANA implementation is on the right track.

“Day in, day out she is out on the field monitoring the PAMANA sub-projects. She even checks documents at the Barangay Sub-Project Management Office to ensure that funding for the project are well managed, Mrs. Jumawan said.

“It is about the right time that the government allows groups outside the national government realm, such as our Senior Citizen group, to take part in the implementation of government projects. The money used in these projects is tax payer’s money, and that includes my money. So it is just fair that we take part in monitoring where our money is spent on; whether properly or anomalously”, Mrs. Bonete said.

The Kalahi-CIDSS Project upholds the right of all stakeholders in the implementation of the project. This is one way of ensuring that the community, the local government units, organizations in the community and other agencies are empowered of the process the project adheres to.

The Kalahi-CIDSS project believes that a united effort is critical in achieving growth and development and defeating the problems of poverty; the more hands working on the project, the easier to achieve the different goals that would address the problems of the community.

Thanks to people like Mrs. Pilar Jimenez Bonete who stepped up to ensure that people get to have their money’s worth; tax payers are ensured that their taxes are spent on legitimate projects.  Transparency is one of the principles of Kalahi-CIDSS, something that the project implementers are apparently serious on.

Written by: Marko Davey D. Reyes – Social Marketing Officer (Kalahi-CIDSS)

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A MOTHER’S FIGHT TO ENSURE HER CHILDRENS’ FUTURE

Ms. Helen D. Mabanta is a mother of five. With her meager income from her small backyard farm and her husband, Rolando’s income from working for the Cash-For-Work program of the Department of Public Works and Highways, they have tried providing their kids their basic needs, especially with their educational necessities.

The couple is proudest of their achievements, especially that with their little income, they have endured sending all children to school. Their eldest son, Helkent, was able to graduate as a caregiver from UHA Caregiver Training Center. Their eldest daughter, Helqueen, is currently taking up Criminology at Iligan Capitol College.

Their three other children, Hero King, 4th year student at the Marcela T. Mabanta Memorial National High School, Hero Kris, 1st year, also from MTMM NHS, and Heart Queencess, grade 3 from Libertad Elementary School are all covered by the 4Ps. A thing that the couple says is a “breath of fresh air” for them since the program gets to shoulder the expenses for their schooling.

At first, the family was very glad that they get to be part of the Pantawid Pamilya program. Helen attests that the program not only helped them financially, but also helped them to be better parents, especially with the Family Development Sessions (FDS) they have.

“Through the FDs, my husband and I have learned a lot, especially with improvements we need to raise a better family.  I know it is required of us to take part of the sessions but later on, we saw it as something important, and whether it was not a requirement, I would definitely still participate,” Ms. Helen said.

With the learning they had with the FDS, Ms. Helen immediately ensured that their family capitalized on it.  She and her children then started to build a backyard garden, since one of the sessions they had was with self-sufficiency. The backyard garden, later on, awarded as Best Backyard Garden for their Barangay Libertad during their town fiesta in 2012.

It was also in 2012 that the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, (managed by the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services) was implemented in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

“Not in a hundred years would I ever imagine having to win an award all because I have taken care of my family. Through the programs of DSWD, my family and our community has gained a lot of ground in our fight against poverty.  Pantawid took care of our expenses for our children’s schooling and health. And through Kalahi-CIDSS, I have learned to trust myself because now I am confident to face other people and be part of an activity and accept responsibilities in running something, as what I have gone through with Kalahi-CIDSS.  Kalahi-CIDSS has indeed molded me into a leader and taught me to face responsibilities with confidence,” Ms. Mabanta shared.

Ms. Helen also shared that it is not only through Pantawid Pamilya that her children have benefited from the DSWD. She said that her youngest child has also been a recipient of the Supplementary Feeding Program of the Department. The DSWD monitors the standard of Day Care Center operations in all the barangays in Kauswagan (including Brgy. Libertad, where the Mabanta Family are from) and complements the Supplementary Feeding Program of the local government unit. 640 day care students have been served for this year alone.

Aside from the Tatsulo Program or the three Anti-Poverty flagship programs of the Department, the DSWD has also strengthened the implementation/operation and management of the other programs of the department all over the region. In Kauswagan, the people in the municipality has also been well taken-care off with the Social Protection Programs of the Department.

Written by: Marko Davey D. Reyes – Social Marketing Officer (Kalahi-CIDSS)

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