Archive | October, 2020

New normal brings new challenges for an SLP participant who is also a Parent Leader

Mercy P. Solatorio is a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino or 4Ps grantee with four children residing in Lala, Lanao del Norte. She is the over-all parent leader in their barangay. She was able to avail a individual loan of Php 5,000.00 under the SEA-K program, former name of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), which she used to purchase 3 piglets and feeds to start her hog fattening project. From her profit in every cycle she used for the school and household expenses including paying debts.

Mercy was also trained on Dressmaking which was funded through a BUB-SLP project in year 2017. The training enhanced her rusty dressmaking skill. Her fellow 4Ps members and neighbors would have their clothes done by her which added to her daily income in paying off her loans.

Mercy used her dressmaking skills in repairing clothes and making uniforms for her neighbors and fellow 4Ps members

One of her children was trained in rag-making and used her acquired skills in making household rags using the excess or unused pieces of cloths from her mother’s work and sell them at a very affordable price.

In 2018, the barangay council issued a resolution in banning hog fattening within 50 meters from the residence. Mercy then changed her project to sari-sari store and food vending that made her earn Php 1,000.00 – 2,000.00 sales daily. With this, she was able to give enough school allowances to her children.

Mercy admitted that a portion of the income is sometimes used for sudden or unexpected expenses. It is through availing small loans from local micro-financing institutions that she sustain her sari-sari store. She is very thankful that even though life hits her hard, she was able to stand up again. As what she said, “Kinahanglan think positive jud sa kinabuhi dili magyaya para naay makaon ang pamilya. Kinahanglan moabag jud sa panginabuhian sa bana para mapa eskwela ang mga anak ug makakaon ang pamilya. Sa pagpaningkamot bahala ug nakautang utang nakapahuman sa anak ug sa bulig sa Ginoo nakapasar ang anak sa Social Work Examination adtong 2018 ug karun nagtudlo na sa Collegio de Kapatagan. (We have to think positive in life so that we can feed our family. We need to be able to contribute to our husband’s income so that we can send our children to school and have food for the family. Through hardwork, despite the many loans, my child was able to finish [college]. And with God’s help, my child passed the Social Work Examination last 2018 and is now teaching at Collegio de Kapatagan).” Her daughter shares part of her salary for the family’s daily needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected the sales of her store. It is still operational but experienced lower sales as many people within her community lost their jobs, including her husband. Jobs come by so rarely that some of the stocks in her store were consumed by her family and high on credit from neighbors who pay only whenever they can. Whatever her husband can earn, they use in re-stocking their store.

As they live in community that is far from the main road, Mercy needs to keep her store open for the benefit of her community. Despite the slow payment of people with credit, what is more important for her is that people have something to eat in this hard times.

Mercy still continued with her cloth repairing business. This time around, the extra pieces of cloths she uses in making re-usable cloth face masks for her family’s use and for sale. Some she gave away to her neighbors who do not have money to buy masks, and donated some to Barangay Health Workers and to her 4Ps cluster members.

Her daughter is still teaching but hopes to practice her profession as a Social Worker in DSWD. Her other children are enrolled in modular classes and help out in selling food in the morning.

Being a Parent Leader in the new normal is challenging for Mercy. Most of her cluster members do not have smart phones to watch the electronic Family Development Session (eFDS) which can be viewed every Friday through a Facebook livestream of DSWD. “Tungod kay dili tanang mga sakop sa 4Ps naay hightech na cellphone o internet para makalantaw sa eFDS, ang amu pamaagi para makalantaw jud tanan sa eFDS amu nalang ibutang sa USB ug pagkahuman ipalantaw tag lima lima sa mga mga sakop arun makaapil jud tanan sa eFDS (Because not all member of 4Ps have cellphone or internet [access] so that they can watch the eFDS, we would download and save it in a USB and let them watch it by 5 persons at a time so that everybody has the chance to attend the eFDS).”

Despite all of these challenges, Mercy keeps a positive outlook in life with firm belief that everything will turn just fine for everyone even amidst the pandemic.

Story and photos contributed by Elsie A. Galon, Project Development Officer II

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Supplementary Feeding Program goes full swing amidst pandemic

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 10 implements the Supplementary Feeding Program in the whole of Northern Mindanao.

Regular augmentation of goods to Local Government Units for 12 feeding days

The feeding program, now on its 10th year of implementation, aims to improve the nutritional status of children enrolled in child development centers and those under the supervised neighborhood play.

Sheryl Ave, Supplementary Feeding Program focal person, disclosed that a total of 48 local government units (LGU’s) started the implementation on August 17, 2020, the first batch of partner LGUs to distribute ingredients for cooking meals for the target children.

Another six LGU’s belonging to the second batch of implementers started to feed the children on October 27, Tuesday.

The other 38 LGU’s have yet to start their implementation.

The LGU will implement the feeding program for 120 days.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, daycare centers will feed the children twice a day. Thus, the cycle is shortened to 60 days.

Also, the development centers will divide the supply among the children since learners are studying at home because of the pandemic.

As it is, the parents or guardians will cook the rice cereal and viand in the designated community kitchen in their barangay for the learners to improve their nutritional status. Distributed goods include cooking oil, meat, eggs, fish, among others.

DSWD Field Office 10, through the supplier, will regularly deliver the goods to the LGU’s good for 12 feeding days.

During the delivery, suppliers and inspectors observe all health protocols.

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Makugihon ug Makaunayon, Journey to New Beginnings of Balatacan Makugihon C4 SLPA

The Balatacan Makugihon C4 SLPA was organized last April 2019 with 25 members from Barangay Balatacan, Tangub City. All of the members are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps. Their proposed project or livelihood is a Mini General Merchandise, focusing more on the Farming Fertilizers, Fishing Tools and Supplies. They were funded by Department of Social Welfare and Development under the Sustainable Livelihood Program with the amount of Php 375,000.00.

 The association faced many challenges even before they get to start with the project due to low participation of members in its meetings and planning. They thought that they will be relieved of their problems once they receive their funds but much to their dismay, it was only the beginning.

Things started to break down when the negotiation for the use of land on their first selected location was cancelled when the landowner changed their mind despite the near completion of the physical structure of the store. The mistake was not having a legal document to support their initial agreements that the construction was put on hold.

What followed was when the orders for the fishing materials and supplies were cancelled because most of the fishermen in the area were caught by the sea police after being caught at the protected fish sanctuary.

The overwhelming issues proved too much for the association officers who are mostly of senior age.

Living up to the name of their association, “Makugihon” which means to be hardworking or industrious, the association worked out their problems.

The women helped in transporting the salvaged materials from the first location of their store.

One of the association member offered a space within their property as new location of their store. People were hired to deconstruct the almost finished store. Even women helped in the laborious task of transferring the salvaged materials. As a lesson learned, they will be working out on having a written agreement

They still bought some of the needed supplies for fishing activities near the shoreline. A resolution was made to add grocery items since technically they are Mini General Merchandise and are encouraged by the locals as their barangay is along the National Highway but too far from the city proper.

Perseverance paid off for the association members as the celebrate this significant day as their business’ official opening.

Their Grand Opening is bittersweet for all. Dr. Jennifer W. Tan, City Mayor, and the rest of the City Council and Local Government Unit officials were present in the event in giving their support to the association.

Dr. Jennifer W. Tan, City Mayor of Tangub City, and Hon. Joel M. Limbaring, Barangay Chairperson of Balatacan, led the ribbon-cutting.

As the President of the association, Arcelie Ocampos has only these words to say, “Basta lang jud magkugi, walay dili masulbad. Magkanunayon lang sa Pagtoo ug paghimo kutob sa makaya. (As long as we we work hard, there is nothing we cannot solve. To be united in faith and making it work with what we can).”

The event was made more significant as Dr. Tan, their City Mayor, imparted her own words of wisdom, “Encourage nako ang association nga ampingan ug palamboon ang mga proyekto nga gihatag kay dako kaayo ni ikatabang sa mga lumulupyo sa Brgy. Balatacan labi na karong pandemic para dili na kinahanglan pa ang komunidad molayo pa sa pagpamalit kay naa na man inyo livelihood. Dili na lang kamo isa lang ka lumulupyo kun dili isa na kamo ka businessman (I encourage the association in taking care and making this project grow that is given to all of you, which would be a big help to your community in Brgy. Balatacan especially in this time of pandemic wherein the people do not have to travel far because of the now present livelihood project. You are not just residents but you are all now businessmen).”


The City Mayor even went into suggesting to their Barangay Chairperson in linking the association with one of the city’s major supermarket to sign them up as members so that can avail discounts on wholesale purchase. The private establishment responded to be open in providing free delivery of orders through proper communication channels.

“Dako amo kalipay nga ming.abot na jud among livelihood kay makatabang jud ni dungang income sa amo pamilya (We are very happy because we finally have our livelihood project which would greatly help us as additional source of income for our families)” according to Marites O. Empil, one of the association members.

Story and photos by Kay Lousil Sardenia, Project Development Officer II

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Asec. Peñaflor: Fast-track COVID-19 response

DSWD Asec. Rhea Peñaflor (first person from left) takes a photo opportunity with the Kalahi-CIDSS Regional Program Management Office after a fruitful meeting with the team on October 24, 2020, at Pearlmont Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City.

In a meeting with the Kalahi-CIDSS Regional Program Management Office (RPMO), DSWD Assistant Secretary Rhea Peñaflor facilitates close coordination with the RPMO to ensure DSWD’s COVID-19 response is timely and punctual to the needs of the communities.

Kalahi-CIDSS’ Disaster Response Operations Procedure (DROP) currently operates in 8 municipalities in Region 10, delivering sub-projects that impact health, sanitation, and economic recovery during this pandemic.

As of October 22, 56.68% or 68,024,037.45 from the total 120,022,650 million grant allocation for COVID-19 response have been released to the barangays, mostly poured into hard projects with ongoing implementation. Out of 214 sub-projects, 65 have not yet started its implementation due to the delay of fund downloading in the field office.

“As advised by the management, we are going to strategize to start implementing the projects even without the download [of funds] so that we can reach our target date for the completion of all sub-projects”, said Engr. Abobacar Tocalo, Project Development Officer for Infrastructure.

The RPMO is expected to complete all sub-projects by November 15 this year. Peñaflor commits to expedite the downloading of funds in the Field Office to catch up with the implementation. The RPMO, likewise, will review all its documents to fast track the process.

“This time it’s a different circumstance, kase we are in a public health emergency mode, and we need to be responsive… our sub-projects should be responsive to the call of the times,” said Peñaflor.

One of the challenges of the RPMO is the strict health protocols of LGUs affecting its objectives to provide technical assistance to staff and capacity building activities.

Peñaflor encouraged them to be innovative and adapt to the new normal way of conducting training, such as sending pre-recorded video technical sessions that Area Coordinating Teams can view in their respective assignment areas.

“We are all one in this. Ang ating gustong mangyari is to improve the lives of our fellow Filipinos, and Kalahi-CIDSS is a big platform for us to help our people in Mindanao. And when we provide these sub-projects to them, these are not just projects, this will be our legacy. Hindi man nila tayo kilala, may ambag at naitulong tayo sa kanila,” she said.

“The Central Office will support you sa pag-ensure na maibigay natin ang tamang serbisyo sa ating kapwa Pilipino.”

Peñaflor also reported the National Program Management Office’s efforts to push for the institutionalization of the Community-driven development, a strategy of the Kalahi-CIDSS used in delivering basic social services and grassroots development.

The DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS is hopeful for the program’s additional financing next year to continue its vision of promoting social change through community-driven development.

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DSWD, PCOO, PIA join forces to help IPs and vulnerable sector in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon

Indigenous peoples and other vulnerable sector of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon received family food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development today, October 23, 2020, in response to the request of Mayor Anthony Uy and endorsed by the Presidential Communications Operations Office to assist IPs and other vulnerable sectors especially those affected by the difficulties brought about by the pandemic.

The distribution of the food assistance was done during the conduct of “Explain, Explain, Explain: Pagdu-aw sa Bukidnon,” which is facilitated by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

In the activity, the DSWD also took the opportunity to explain to the residents of Impasug-ong the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), also known as Listahanan.Listahanan is a data management system run by the DSWD that generates the list of poorest households in the country. 

Generated through household assessment and validation, the list of poorest households shall be the basis for national government agencies, local government units, and social service providers in identifying potential beneficiaries of their social protection programs.

In Region 10, the DSWD already assessed 894,290 households of which more than 83,000 are validated.

The DSWD aims to complete and finalize the list by first quarter of 2021, which will then utilized by DSWD and shared to other national government agencies, local government units, and non-government organizations providing social services and those implementing social protection programs. 

The “Explain, Explain, Explain: Pagdu-aw sa Bukidnon” was graced by PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar, PIA Undersecretary Ramon Cualoping, DSWD Assistant Secretary Rhea Peñafor, and DSWD Spokesperson Director Irene Dumlao. ###cpt

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Bakas ng Pagsisikap

Pundasyon ng kaunlaran ang edukasyon. Ang halaga nito’y kailanman ay hindi matutumbasan. Ito ang tanging kayamanan na pamana ng magulang sa kanyang anak. Ngunit, sadyang may mga balakid na sadyang sumusukat sa katatagan at sumusubok sa pagsisikap ng mga taong gustong  mag-aral.

Kadalasang balakid sa pag-aaral ay ang kakulangan ng pantustos ng mga magulang sa lahat ng pangangailangan ng kanilang mga anak. Ang mga harang na ito’y tila madaling mahawi para sa mga taong patuloy na tinatahak ang piniling daan kahit na  maraming unos at bagyo ang kanilang madadaanan. Sila ang nagsisilbing representasyon na walang imposible na bagay sa mundo. Lahat ay posible. 

Pangatlo sa pitong magkakapatid si Alejandrino Yator Jr. o Jun kung tawagin sa kanyang pamilya’t kaibigan. Maagang namulat sa kahirapan ng buhay.  Ang kanilang pamilya ay larawan ng isang tipikal na uri ng pamilya sa lipunan na tanging ang bumubuhay ay ang padre de pamilya.

Nagsasaka ang kanyang ama sa lupaing hindi naman sa kanila. Ito ang pinagkukunan nila ng ikabubuhay para lamang makatawid sa pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan.  Salat man sa karangyaan, hindi ito nagpapahina sa kalooban ng kanilang mga magulang na papag-aralin at supurtahan ang kanilang mga anak.

Kahit malayo na narating niya sa buhya, hindi kinalimutan ni Jun kung saan siya nagsimula at ipinagmamalaki niya ito dahil ang pagiging magsasaka ay isang mainam na kabuhayan.

Nasa elementarya pa lamang si Jun nang natutong magtanim ng palay. Lahat silang magkakapatid ay katuwang ng kanilang ama sa pagsasaka. Kailangan nilang magtutulungan upang magapi ang lakas ng kahirapan.  Naging playground niya ang sakahan. Ang mga palay at kuhol, ang kanyang naging mga laruan at kalaro.

Nag-aaral siya sa Labo National High School noon nang sinubok ng kapalaran ang kanilang pamilya. Talagang kulang para sa kanilang pagkain ang kita ng kanilang ama kaya napilitan siyang huminto sa pag-aaral. Gustuhin man niyang tapusin ang haiskul ngunit kailangan muna niyang unahin ang kumakalam nilang sikmura. Dahil sa hirap ng buhay, dalawang beses siyang huminto sa pag-aaral. Umabot sa anim na taon ang kanyang ginugol para lamang makapagtapos ng haiskul.

Pagkatapos niyang makuha ang diploma sa haiskul, isinantabi muna niya ang kanyang mga pangarap. Pamilya ang kanyang inuuna.  “Mas pinili kong magtanim ng palay kaysa mag- aral. Buong araw akong nakabilad sa ilalim ng kapangyarihan ni haring araw, sa pagtulo ng aking pawis  kasabay din ang pagtulo ng aking mga luha. Walang araw na dumaan na hindi ko sinasabi sa sarili ko na hindi ako tatandang ganito”

 Sa oras ng pamamahinga, palaging sumagi sa kanyang isip ang natutulog niyang pangarap. Tinitimbang kung hahayaan na lamang matulog habambuhay o kailangan na niya itong pukawin. Buong lakas siyang nagpasyang gumising mula sa mahabang pagkahimbing. Bitbit ang lakas ng loob at determinasyon, iniwan niya ang buhay pagsasaka.

Batid niyang hindi maging madali ang daan patungo sa kanyang pangarap. Mga daan na katulad ng karamihang kalsada sa Pilipinas, maraming lubak-lubak at liko ngunit may mahaba pa rin at matuwid na pwedeng pagpipilian. 

Nagsisimula siyang mag-ipon upang maipagpatuloy ang kaniyang pag-aaral. Namasukan siya bilang isang taga- hugas ng sasakyan sa Route 88 Auto Spa. Tumagal siya ng isang taon sa pagtatrabaho doon hanggang sa nakilala niya ang isang Pari ng simbahang katoliko- si Fr. Sandy Cometa. Hinikayat siya nito na pumasok sa Seminaryo.

Pinagtiyagaan ni Jun habang nasa loob siya ng seminary para lang makamit ang kanyang pangarap na maiahon niya ang kanyang sarili at kanyang pamilya.

“Pahirapan daw ang buhay bilang isang Seminarista. Kailangan mong sundin lahat ng batas ng Seminaryo para hindi ka matanggal”. Sa Semnaryo siya nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na makapag-aral sa pribadong paaralan ng La Salle University. Minabuti niyang manirahan at mananatili dito kahit nahihirapan dahil nakikita niyang mas okey sa seminary kaysa nasa palayan siya,- maghapong nakayuko at maililibing nalang sa limot ang kanyang pangarap.

Tumagal ng apat na taon ang paninirahan niya sa seminary. Sa hindi niya maipaliwanag na dahilan, pinalabas siya ng mga pari. Walang paliwanag, walang paglilinaw. Basta na lamang siyang pinauwi sa kanila. Nakaramdam siya ng pagkabahala para sa kanyang pangarap. Naitanong niya sa kanyan sarili, Paano nalang ang mga pangarap ko? Babalik na naman ba ako sa pagtatanim ng palay?

Hindi niya sinukuan ang kanyang pangarap. Naging magulo man ito ng mga pangyayari ngunit hindi ito nakapagpatinag sa kanyang hangarin na maabot ang nag-iisang mithi ng buhay bagkus lalong nagpapatibay ito sa kanyang pagkatao.

Miyembro ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program o 4P’S ang pamilya ni Alejandro kaya ni refer namin  siya sa aming partner na Pribadong Ahensiya (Jolly Management Solutions).

Nakapasok siya bilang service crew sa Jollibe Ozamiz. Minamabuti niyang ipagpatuloy ang pag-aaral. Pinagsabay ang pag-aaral at trabaho. Ang kikitain niya dito ay para sa kanyang pag-aaral. Napakahirap! Puyat, pagod, galit mula sa boss, pagmumura mula sa mga customer,Lahat nang iyan ay buong puso niyang tiniis at hinarap. Tanging ang bumubuhay lamang sa kanya ay ang matinding damdamin na makatapos sa kolehiyo. Lahat ng disesyon, pokus ay para lamang sa pangarap. Hanggang sa natapos niya ang kursong Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy sa isang kilalang unibersidad ng Ozamiz.

Ngiting tagumpay matapos sa mga hirap at pagsubok na dinaan ni Jun.

Ngayon, isa na siyang ganap na guro at kasalukuyang nagtuturo sa Northwestern Mindanao State College of Science and Technology sa syudad ng Tangub.                   

Patuloy pa rin sa pagtuturo si Jun sa kanyang skwelahan sa pamamagitan ng online class ng dahil sa pandemya.

Ang mga karanasan niya sa buhay ang humuhubog sa kanyang buhay ngayon. Itinuturing na lamang niya itong sahog na nagpadagdag sa lasa ng niluluto niyang buhay. Isa lang ang nais niyang iparting sa kanyang kwento, ang ibahaging huwag sukuan ang pangarap dahil kung magkaganoon ikaw ang talo.

Kwento at retrato mula ni Mark Mangubat, Project Development Officer II

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An SLP association overcomes broken trust with courage

“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston S. Churchill

Success is often paved with learnings from failures. To be able to stand up again takes huge amount for courage when faced by hopelessness. This is true to many and so is for C-50 Macanhan SLPA in Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City.

28 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program household members were organized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 10 through the Sustainable Livelihood Program in 2018 and received their seed capital fund worth Php 280,000.00 by April 2019 for their community store project. Then-elected President took upon herself to oversee the implementation and management of the store with the help of her family members. The officers and association members conducted an audit on the cash flow and stocks inventory noticing discrepancies even after validating the purchases from the supplier. The former President promised to pay the variance but failed to do so. The installment of a new Cashier only created conflict in the business that the store was eventually closed down. Left with low inventory and cash on-hand worth Php 90,073.29, the remaining members were disheartened on their project despite being motivated by their assigned SLP Project Development Officer in transferring their store.

New location by renewed hope. The store is now stable with rebuilt trust among its remaining members who are enjoying the benefits such as having a credit line and receiving honorarium.

One of the members, Glenda S. Langgamin, did not lose hope. Fuelled with courage in her heart, she felt that they can still make their project work with the money left rather than leaving it idle at their association’s bank account. She encouraged the members to give it one more try and this time doing it right. Another positive sign that came their way was when a commercial space became available. Rebuilding their association and business through broken trust was hard but the members cooperated with renewed belief. New set of officers were elected and capacitated themselves on how to properly record cash flow and inventory. Management of the store was divided among themselves with assigned cashier and assistant with alternating schedule so that there is check and balance. Despite this new system in place, majority of the original association members left with seven (7) members remaining, facing new challenges in agreeing to a manageable store operations schedule as they still have families to take care of. Motivated in not losing their store, the members were able to surpass this by having a more flexible store operation hours with commitment in seeing it become stable and profitable.

After a year, the association is doing well with cash on-hand of Php 96,238.29 and stocks worth Php 70,000.00. Their good performing sales enabled the remaining members to enjoy benefits such as a credit line, honorarium for those who who report on duty in managing the store, and increased their confidence and resiliency after the great challenge they overcame.

The members reflect in the values of cooperation, working together for the common good, discipline, and unity through sacrifices and prayers that helped them grow strong from their challenges. Their unified faith will surely help their association and business see through future challenges.

There must be luck in numbers as the seven members continue on with the project with many learnings from their recent experiences especially amidst the pandemic.

We hope that their story will inspire everyone to have patience in achieving success in every endeavor we may have.

Story and photos courtesy of Leilani W. Mantuhac, Project Development Officer II

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DSWD 8888 hotline responds to public concerns amid COVID-19 crisis

In an effort to bring the government closer to the people and to ensure unhampered public service despite the pandemic, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) emphasized that, together with its Field Offices, it will continue to effectively address the concerns of the public through  its 8888 Citizens’ Complaint Center.

8888 is a 24/7 public service hotline to allow the citizens to report poor frontline service delivery and corrupt practices in all government agencies.

DSWD disclosed that from March to September 2020, the Department processed 12,905 tickets for various requests, inquiries, and complaints from the public.

Of this number, 7,600 tickets were all related to the emergency cash subsidy under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) which ranked as the top concern every month during the period. Among the issues raised were inclusion and exclusion in the SAP, complaints about irregularities in the local government units, and inquiries regarding the release of the subsidy for waitlisted beneficiaries.

Despite the pandemic, the Center maintained a hundred percent referral rate from March up to the succeeding months.

Apart from continuously managing the 8888 hotline, the Citizens’ Complaint Center also responds to phone calls and attends to walk-in clients.

DSWD encouraged the public to continue to use the 8888 hotline, as well as its other grievance platforms, to ensure prompt resolutions to public grievances and to provide feedback on the actions taken on citizens’ concerns. ###

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