Archive | March, 2020

DSWD assures no delays in delivery of goods to LGUs

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured the public that its relief goods given to local government units (LGUs) as part of its resource augmentation support to them while under the enhanced community quarantine are delivered in a timely manner based on their request for augmentation.
At the same time, the Department clarified a post circulating in the social media showing the placement of DSWD logo stickers in canned goods which allegedly delayed the distribution to its intended recipients. The Department said it does not have its logo on canned goods.

DSWD explained that the Department’s logo is placed, instead, on the Family Food Pack boxes for proper identification and to maintain the integrity of the relief supplies.

Each box of FFP contains six kilos of rice, four cans of sardines, four cans of corned beef or beef loaf, and six sachets of coffee or cereal energy drink which is enough for two days for a family with five members.

The provision of additional relief items is part of the Department’s mandate to provide Technical Assistance and Resource Augmentation (TARA) to LGUs during times of emergencies.  To date, DSWD has already distributed FFPs amounting to more than P35 million to LGUs around the country.

The Department will continue to work with LGUs, which are the first responders in providing assistance to their constituents, to provide maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo amid the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine. ###

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DSWD readies aid for vulnerable sectors affected by COVID-19 crisis

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide social amelioration measures amounting to P5,000 to P8,000 for two months to families belonging to vulnerable sectors who have been affected by the community quarantine amid the COVID-19 crisis as mandated by Republic Act  (RA) 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.”

The Emergency Subsidy Program includes the DSWD’s provision of food and non-food items (FNFI) and financial assistance through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) as well as those provided by other agencies, provided that the benefits received by each household does not exceed the prescribed threshold per region.

The P5,000 to P8,000 worth of social amelioration  programs is based on the maximum subsidy per region determined from the region’s minimum wage levels as these are close approximations to the amount  needed to buy basic food, medicine, and hygiene essentials. It will be given to an eligible family in cash and in kind by various national government agencies. 

The provision of FNFI is part of the Department’s Technical Assistance and Resource  Augmentation (TARA) to local government units (LGUs) in addressing the food needs of their constituents. AICS, on the other hand, provides integrated services to individuals and families in crisis situation which include financial assistance to assist them with their basic needs.   

Likewise, Livelihood Assistance Grants (LAG) will be provided to a beneficiary-family of the Department’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) with at least one member who is a worker in the informal sector and is displaced due to the declaration of the community quarantine. The family must be in the master list endorsed by the LGU to the DSWD Field Office (FO) and must still undergo assessment by a DSWD staff. The LAG will be given after the quarantine period has been lifted to help the families start anew.

LGUs will prepare the list of the target beneficiaries of the social amelioration measures and endorse this with the complete documentary requirements to the concerned DSWD FO for verification. A Social Amelioration Card (SAC) that captures the family profile  will be distributed to the LGUs to enable the beneficiaries to access the assistance. It will also serve as a monitoring tool to  avoid duplication of delivery of services. DSWD will also use the existing list of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Program to validate the list submitted by LGUs. 

Families under the 4Ps will also be supported with a top-up on their grants and rice subsidy to reach the maximum benefit per region. 4Ps beneficiaries are most vulnerable to economic, social and physical shocks such as this health crisis, thus, the need to augment  their existing grants to help them with their daily needs. 

The social amelioration measures will help mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 health crisis and the enhanced community quarantine to the target beneficiaries, particularly the senior citizens, persons with disability, pregnant and lactating mothers, solo parents, overseas Filipinos in distress, indigent Indigenous Peoples, homeless citizens, and the informal economy workers.

The measures are contained in the Joint Memorandum Circular forged by DSWD, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Finance (DOF), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). DSWD commits to strengthen its coordination with the LGUs to provide the delivery of maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo to the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged, while putting premium to the health and safety of its beneficiaries and personnel in this time of public health emergency. ### 

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4Ps beneficiaries continue to receive grants, rice subsidy during quarantine period

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clarified that beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) will continue to receive their grants and rice subsidy through their cash cards amid enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine in some parts of the country, emphasizing that only 4Ps activities that require mass gathering are suspended.

DSWD also reiterated that program beneficiaries with Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) cash cards may withdraw their grants on March 24, 26, 28, and April 4. 

Cash grants credited through the EMV card may be withdrawn from any Land Bank of the Philippines Automated Teller Machines (LBP-ATMs) or any ATM subject to minimal charges.  

Beneficiaries may also use their EMV cards in establishments that receive payment through point-of-sale or POS. 

Meanwhile, the Department is exploring alternative means to distribute cash grants to beneficiaries who have yet to receive their EMV cash cards. 4Ps City and Municipal Links will cascade the announcement of release once finalized.

Other 4Ps activities that are temporarily suspended are the conduct of the monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS) and the assessment of household beneficiaries using the Social Welfare and Development Indicators, and over-the-counter payouts.

The Department has also waived the program conditionalities for the months of February and March following the signing of the resolution on Force Majeure.

Under Rule VIII Section 15 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act (RA) 11310 or the 4Ps Act, the Secretary of DSWD may suspend the monitoring of compliance of beneficiaries to program conditionalities under “force majeure” circumstances.

This means that beneficiaries will be receiving their full grants for the said period sans compliance to program conditions.

Amid this health emergency, the Department continues to look into different modes of providing social services without prejudice to public health and safety.


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DSWD, LGUs to provide food, non-food aid to families during quarantine period

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in coordination with local government units (LGUs), is set to provide family food packs and non-food items to families and individuals during the implementation of the community quarantine in Luzon due to COVID-19.

This is part of the DSWD’s Technical Assistance and Resource Augmentation (TARA) mandate to assist LGUs as they address the food and other basic requirements of their constituents in times of emergencies.

DSWD’s Field Offices (FOs) are now coordinating with LGUs in identifying target beneficiaries, distribution points, and strategies to be undertaken to ensure the smooth distribution of goods.

DSWD will also partner with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the hauling and delivery of the food packs and non-food items such as hygiene kits to LGUs. 

The DSWD Central Office has a total of P1.3 billion Quick Response Fund (QRF), which can be replenished by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) once exhausted, to sustain the provision of food and other essential supplies to various communities.

Aside from food and non-food supplies, DSWD is now finalizing its guidelines for the provision of social amelioration services that would further benefit families and individuals affected by this health crisis.

The Department emphasized that it will continue to provide the delivery of maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo to the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged, while putting premium to the health and safety of its beneficiaries and personnel in this time of public health emergency. ###

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DSWD bares measures to support Pres. Duterte’s directives to stop spread of COVID-19

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has issued its own guidelines in support to the directives of President Rodrigo Duterte to further control the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the country.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista signed on March 14 Department Advisory Number 1 titled, “Guidelines for the Prevention, Control, and Mitigation of the Spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the DSWD Offices, Attached and Supervised Agencies.” The advisory outlines the various steps to be taken by the Department to safeguard its workforce, internal, and external stakeholders, and to prevent the spread of the disease.

One of the actions to be undertaken is the temporary suspension of some of the Department’s programs and services that require meeting or gathering of beneficiaries and other stakeholders from March 15 to April 14. The President’s directive emphasized that all mass gatherings shall be suspended.

The Department is temporarily suspending the payouts of Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens and Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT); Listahanan enumeration; activities of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) particularly the administration of Social Welfare and Development Indicator (SWDI), over-the-counter pay-outs and distribution of cash cards; activities in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Offsite Serbisyo, Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP), Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), and  Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS); and service delivery assessments.  

The Department emphasized that it is deeply concerned with the health of  the beneficiaries and its personnel that it decided to temporarily suspend the activities of certain programs and services. This step will minimize the exposure of beneficiaries, especially those from vulnerable groups such as children, persons with disabilities, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, and senior citizens, as well as DSWD employees from the threats of COVID-19. 

The Department will assess the temporary suspension from time to time to ensure responsiveness of the policy to the evolving situation. This will be done to determine if the suspension of some program activities will have to be continued or otherwise.

Despite the suspension of some services, urgent medical and burial assistance can still be availed through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS). Clients may proceed to the Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Team Offices in the different provinces nationwide where 30 beneficiaries daily will be accepted for processing, and at various DSWD Field Offices where 50 beneficiaries daily will be processed. The DSWD Central Office will also accept and process the request for assistance of 100 beneficiaries daily.  A guarantee letter will be given to the beneficiaries.

The Department strongly advises younger and healthier members of the family to be the ones to apply and bring the necessary requirements instead of the elderly family members so as not to further compromise their health and well-being.

Meanwhile, families who are affected by fire may still receive financial assistance or guarantee letters under the AICS which will be given out in evacuation centers.

In addition, distribution of food and non-food items will continue based on the guidelines of the Department. The DSWD will coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for the hauling, and with the local government units (LGUs) for distribution to the residents. As frontline in service delivery, LGUs provide initial assistance to their constituents. The DSWD, in turn, augments the resources of the LGUs.

DSWD Centers and Residential Care Facilities (CRCFs) nationwide will also continue its operations, but visits from family members and other guests will be regulated, and proper social distancing will be implemented.

With regard to the provision of social protection services to distressed Overseas Filipinos (OFs), all Social Welfare Attaches will remain in their diplomatic posts in their assigned countries for continuity of DSWD assistance.

To safeguard its employees who will provide continuous public service amid the COVID-19 health emergency, the Department will ensure the safety and good health of its skeletal workforce, through the provision of protective equipment and frequent sanitation and disinfection of their work areas.

DSWD appeals to the public to remain calm and to fully cooperate with the government by adopting social distancing and maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation at all times.

The Department also guarantees that social amelioration will continue amidst the threat of COVID-19 to serve the poor, vulnerable and marginalized. -30-

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DSWD-10 helps Mother and 10-year-old Child reunite after 10 years of no contact

Ana (not her real name) finally meet her son whom she surrendered to a government institution 10 years ago when he was seven months old due to economic, psychological, and physical reasons.

This is a story of a boy who was once given up by his mother for adoption.  The mother at her young age became a victim of sexual abuse that led to her pregnancy.  Her circumstance of becoming a mother at a young age caught her off guard and she was not even prepared economically, psychologically and physically to withstand her responsibility as a mother to her son.  At a young age, she had high hopes and dreams for herself to be able to finish her studies and be of help to her family. 

Ana, not her real name decided to give up her son to a child caring institution, hoping that her son would somehow find a family who is willing to accept and love him and consider him as part of their family.  None of her family or relatives were willing to take custody over her son.  Despite the counseling and ample time given to make up her decision, Ana still decided to surrender her son for adoption.

Ten years had passed, Ana recalled how she felt when she entrusted her one-month old son to the care of a child caring institution.  According to Ana, “there was never a time that I did not remember my son.  Being away from him gave me the courage to do better and strive harder to finish my studies…”  Over these years, Ana was able to attain her college degree, got a stable job and earned a high salary.  She even supported her two (2) siblings financially until they graduated from college.

Ana shared that despite her fulfilled dreams, she still felt empty inside.  In 2017, she asked assistance from the City Social Welfare and Development Office in their locality to connect with the child caring institution where she entrusted her son.  Unfortunately, she was not able to contact the institution. 

Nevertheless, Ana did not lost hope that someday she will hear about her son she longed to see and touch.  She said “Nag-ampo gyud ko sa Ginoo nga kung dili man gani ma adopt akong anak, hatagan unta ko ug higayon nga mag-uban mi sa akong anak” (I prayed hard that if ever my son is not yet placed to an adoptive family, I hope that I will be given the chance that we will be reunited again.)  “Until one day I received a call from DSWD that my son was with them.  I cried out of happiness that my prayers have been answered!”  Since then, they keep on communicating with each other through a cellphone conversation while the mother is provided with social intervention and assessment for their eventual reunification.

Ana and her 10-year-old son finally reunite in an airport with the help of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 10 where the child was in custody of.

Last February 7, 2020, Ana and her son finally met at the airport.  It was an emotional encounter of a mother and son running towards each other and wrapped her son tightly in her arms while tears run down her cheeks.  According to Nathan, not his real name, “Naa na gyud ko family. Dili nako gikan sa liki sa kawayan” as he is often bullied by his classmates that he came from an unknown origin (I already have my family at last.  I’m no longer come from a crack of a bamboo.)  Nathan shared his happiness of finally meeting his mother.  He believed that it was God’s purpose that his adoption paper was not pushed through because God wanted him to be back into his mother’s arms.

Written by: Faith Sabulana and Rosanel Pague – DSWD

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March 2020