4Ps graduation: Building self-sustaining families, communities

As the flagship program of the government in human capital investment, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) continues to achieve its goal of uplifting the lives of Filipino families and helping in the country’s poverty reduction efforts.

On June 10, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as the lead implementing agency of 4Ps, has once again gained a modest feat towards this goal as it held a virtual graduation ceremony for 197 household-beneficiaries of the program that have already attained self-sufficient status.

“Higit sa anupamang datos o numero, ang pinakamahalaga sa departamento ay ang malaman na may mga magtatapos sa 4Ps dahil kaya na nilang tumayo sa sarili nilang mga paa,”  DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said.

Dubbed “Pugay Tagumpay,” the ceremony was part of the weeklong celebration, from June 7 to 11, of the Department for the second year anniversary of the signing into law of the 4Ps Act.

Based on the 4Ps National Program Management Office, some 24,043 households from the different regions have graduated from the program, since year 2020 up to June 8, 2021.

Lea Rebuta from CARAGA Region, was among the graduating beneficiaries and is now into a freelance cake business.  As one of the leaders in their community, her advocacy is to continue helping other beneficiaries achieve their desired well-being.

 “Ang major plan ko ay ipagpatuloy ang advocacy para sa kabutihan ng benepisyaryo ng 4Ps, kahit wala na sa programang ito” (My major plan is to continue my advocacy for the betterment of other 4Ps beneficiaries, even I am not part of the program anymore), Lea said during the round table discussion.

Moreover, she shared that one of the lessons she learned during her tenure in the program was the importance of saving money for the future. This was after Financial Literacy was discussed to them during one of their Family Development Sessions (FDS).

Now, their community has ‘Alkansiya Program’ wherein member-beneficiaries save money regularly until December. She believed that this may teach others to become self-sustaining individuals, thereby contributing to community development.

“Kung kaya ko makatawid sa kahirapan, kaya rin nila” (If I can, they can overcome poverty also), she reminded the beneficiaries.

To be considered as a self-sufficient household, the family-beneficiary should have enough income at the time of graduation; is able to cope with their daily needs; and has achieved the first two levels of Social Worker Development Indicators (SWDI), which are Survival and Subsistence Levels, respectively.

The graduates will now be monitored by their respective local government units (LGUs) and for possible provision of other appropriate assistance to enable them to sustain or further improve their economic status.

During the ceremony, the LGUs pledged to have an after-care monitoring program to check the status of the families as part of the sustainability plan of the households upon their exit transition from the program.

Other partner agencies, on the other hand, also vowed to continuously assist the graduating beneficiaries in their journey to become self-sustaining individuals through the provision of livelihood assistance, skills training, and scholarship for their children.

The DSWD commits to assist more families achieve self-sufficiency through the 4Ps and its other programs and services to be able to contribute in building poverty-free communities. ###

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DSWD’s Yakap Bayan turns deviant to public servant

Motivational writer, William Arthur Ward, left this beautiful quote “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”

For Jack Angco, however, curiosity did not lead him to learning, but took him down the path of drug dependency. This wrong path that he took brought him and his family pain, before he learned his lesson.

“May nakilala ako na isang pusher na nagbebenta  ng shabu. Bumili ako sa kanya dahil sa curiosity kung ano ba magiging epekto sa akin ng paggamit ng shabu” (I met a pusher who peddles shabu. I bought from him out of curiosity about the drug’s effects), Jack shared.

For Jack, everything went downhill after that simple try at taking illegal drugs.

Jack’s sister recounted the worse times of their family life with him becoming a drug dependent.  Accordingly, Jack started stealing from their parents.  He even went as far as pretending to be studying but his tuition fee just went to  illegal drugs.

She shared that, at first, community members who knew Jack was into drugs were hesitant to tell their father, who was then the barangay captain in their village of Pangyan, Davao City.

Worst time

Jack affirmed her sister’s story.  He went on to say that being under the influence of drugs brought out the worst in him. He also lost several of his material possessions.

“Nalugi ang negosyo ko at iyong mga naipundar kong gamit at mga alahas ay isa-isang nawala.  Nawala din ang relasyon ko sa pamilya ko. Nasira noong gumagamit ako ng droga” (I lost my business, jewelry, and other material things which I bought.  I also lost my good relationship with my family as a result of my drug dependency), he recalled.

He narrated that he noticed his behavior changed, especially at times when he wanted to use illegal drugs, but had no money to buy some. 

“Kapag wala na ako makunan ng pera, humihingi na ako sa kapatid ko at sa mama ko. Tapos, pag hindi magbigay ay magagalit ako agad”  (When I have no more money, I will ask from my sister and mother, and I get mad if they do not give me anything), he continued.

He was in this deplorable situation for a long time until he started hearing about the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the government.  Jack started thinking about taking the first step towards change.

Yakap Bayan paves the way for change

Jack finally decided to stop using illegal drugs.

“Na-realize ko hanggang ganito na lang ba ang kaya kong gawin sa buhay? Paano na lang kaya ang kinabukasan ko?” (I realized my situation and asked myself if this is what I want for my life?  What will be my future?), he stated.

When he learned about the Yakap Bayan Program for Recovering Persons Who Used Drugs (RPWUDs) like him, he took the opportunity to help him reintegrate with his family and community.

“Pinakamahalaga kong natutunan sa Yakap Bayan ay kung paano pahahalagahan ang buhay ng isang tao at hindi natin dapat aksayahin” (The most important lesson I got from Yakap Bayan was to give importance to life and not to waste any moment),  Jack said

YBP is a holistic intervention to assist RPWUDs in their recovery journey from surrendering to aftercare, and social reintegration to their families and communities. It entails the provision of aftercare services, such as relapse prevention sessions, counselling sessions, health and fitness therapy, spiritual interventions, and skills training, among others, to improve the well-being and social functioning of RPWUDs.

Pangyan Barangay Captain, Bartolome Carillo, shared that the former drug dependents were at first scared of undergoing government’s intervention program, but they now see the positive effects of the program on their lives and their family.

From an illegal drug user to a public servant

Pangyan Barangay Kagawad Rogelio Gumban, on the other hand,  pointed out that the Yakap Bayan Program was a big help in regaining the trust and confidence of community members for RPWUDs. With the transformative help of the program, RPWUDs, like Jack, were given the chance to become respected members of the community.

Jack was elected as one of the Barangay Councilors in their village, and his advice to stay away from all forms of illegal drugs is heeded by the youth as his advocacy is focused on the prevention of substance use.

DSWD Undersecretary Jose Antonio Hernandez, champion of the Yakap Bayan Program, said, “the program envisions a better nation where we take back our communities, and break the intergenerational curse that has besiege the country for a couple of decades of drug menace.”

He emphasized that the Yakap Bayan Program provides a transformative chance to the former drug dependents, and also ensures a system of interventions to keep the future generation away from illegal drugs, in line with the vision of President Rodrigo Duterte of a drug-free nation. ###

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2nd Philippine Social Workers’ Day: DSWD to promote solidarity among practitioners

To further promote the solidarity among social work practitioners in various settings, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in cooperation with ASEAN Social Work Consortium-Philippines, will spearhead the celebration of the Second Philippine Social Workers’ Day with a virtual conference on June 19, 2021.

This significant milestone commemorates the enactment of Republic Act No. 4373 or An Act to Regulate the Practice of Social Work and the Operation of Social Work Agencies in the Philippines and for Other Purposes on June 19, 1965.

The celebration which carries the theme, “Strengthening Solidarity and Inter-connectedness among Filipino Social Workers”, will highlight the contributions of our social workers to social development and people empowerment.  

As the lead agency that provides social protection services, the DSWD believes that social workers play a vital role in responding to the needs of Filipinos during crisis and in ensuring to remain one in their mission to uplift the human well-being of the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged individuals and families, most especially during this pandemic.

Meanwhile, there are a total of 500 social work practitioners from different social work associations such as Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc.; National Association of Social Work Educations, Inc.; Association of Local Social Welfare and Development Officers of the Philippines, Inc.; Philippine Association of Court Social Workers, Inc.; Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines, Inc.;  DOH League of Medical Social Workers, Association of Medical Social Workers of the Philippines; Association of DSWD Social Workers, Inc.; National Council of Social Development; and the Area Based Standards Network. These groups are expected to participate in the virtual conference via Zoom. Other interested parties are encouraged to join through the live simulcast in DSWD’s Official Facebook page.

The said event will serve as a venue to acknowledge social workers’ accomplishments as each association will have to endorse three awardees to be recognized for this year’s ‘Gawad Parangal Sa Natatanging Kontribusyon Ng Manggagawang Panlipunan.’

Moreover, to strengthen solidarity and for the improvement of practice of social workers, there will be a lecture on the enhanced version of the Philippine Social Work Code of Ethics and Ethical Standards to be conducted by Ms. Lorna C. Gabad, Chairperson of the Professional Regulatory Board for Social Work.

The DSWD extends, in advance, its gratitude to all Filipino social workers for their commitment to the country’s sustainable development. ###

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DSWD, DTI to conduct public consultation for online discounts policy

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are set to hold a stakeholders’ consultation meeting on the first week of July prior to the finalization of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) that will provide discounts for the online transactions of senior citizens and persons with disability (PWDs).

To prepare for the consultation meeting, DSWD is consolidating the comments of agencies and partners regarding the guidelines. In addition, the Department is also seeking assistance from the DTI to identify the different groups of business establishments and consumer protection groups which may be invited in the consultation meeting.

Under the JAO or the “Guidelines On The Provision Of The Statutory Benefits And Privileges Of The Senior Citizens And Persons With Disabilities On Their Purchases Through Online (E-Commerce) And Phone Call/SMS,” it is hoped the statutory privileges granted to senior citizens and PWDs will be recognized by all establishments, business owners, and individual sellers, including those not registered with the DTI and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Likewise, the guidelines would  help correct the misconception that the observance of the statutory privileges is limited to those which are only registered businesses.

The crafting of the JAO started in March based on the consultative effort of the DSWD, DTI, BIR, National Commission of Senior Citizens, National Council on Disability Affairs, Department of Health , and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

The DSWD vows to continue to protect and promote the rights and interests of the vulnerable sector. Its collaboration with DTI and other agencies to finalize the JAO is a testament to this commitment. ###

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DSWD, World Bank hold 12th Implementation Support Mission for KALAHI-CIDSS

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the World Bank recently held the 12th Implementation Support Mission (ISM) for the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) National Community-Driven Development Program (NCDDP) on May 28, 2021.

Chaired by DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, the 12th ISM showcased the World Bank’s observations, findings, and recommendations on the implementation of the Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach by the KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP since 2014.

KALAHI-CIDSS uses the CDD approach to ensure people-centered development by providing assistance, capacity-building, and implementation support to poverty-disadvantaged and disaster-affected municipalities. Through the program, community members actively participate to identify and prioritize their community’s problems and allow them to design, implement, and manage solutions to their priority problems.

During the 12th ISM, the World Bank noted the exceptional performance of KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP in its provision of effective and efficient social services to some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the Philippines, especially in light of the limitations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, through the full use of its Disaster Response Operations Modality (DROM).

DROM enabled Kalahi-CIDSS covered areas to shift its operations from regular developmental activities into a disaster response modality to hasten the approval of community projects that will enable communities to manage and adapt to the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Specifically, the Word Bank found that 44% of the 2,425 community sub-projects completed were related to COVID-19 response in the form of quarantine and isolation facilities. The cash-for-work scheme also provided much-needed income for community members to augment their livelihood.

Achim Fock, World Bank Operations Manager for the Philippines, emphasized how CDD  became an integral part of COVID-19 response in the country by providing much needed facilities and resources to poor and marginalized communities.

Results from an assessment of the DROM also showed that some local government units expressed that KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP, through its participatory process, was instrumental in disseminating COVID-related information in their communities. Furthermore, the program allowed communities to build stronger partnerships with local health officials, thus, enabling them to better implement health and safety protocols not only in implementing the sub-projects, but also in making the quarantine and isolation facilities operational.

Secretary Bautista also shared how the pandemic highlighted the needs of communities — especially those who are  most vulnerable and marginalized — for basic social services to ensure their safety and security. He emphasized that through the DROM of KALAHI-CIDSS, the DSWD was able to continuously provide for and improve the delivery of social services to the marginalized communities.

Likewise the Secretary noted how CDD, in encouraging citizens to take an active role in the identification, implementation, and management of community sub-projects, greatly improved the pandemic response within their respective communities.

DSWD is committed to sustain the achievements of the program and hope that these would be integrated into the local development process in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government to ensure the attainment of people-centered development around the country. ###

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DSWD cares: promoting safe and healthy working environment

To continuously promote the welfare of its personnel and employees by ensuring a safe and healthy working environment amid the pandemic, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) institutionalized the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSH) among its workforce regardless of their status.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista signed Administrative Order No. 3, Series of 2021, which aims to protect the department’s personnel from hazards of injury, sickness or death through the adoption and maintenance of safe and healthy working conditions. This is pursuant to the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 Series of 2021 on OSH Standards for Public Sector by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Department of Health (DoH), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The policy covers all DSWD workplaces including the central office, field offices, centers, residential care facilities and provincial satellite offices.

Based on the administrative order, the workplace should have safety instructions and visible signs in building premises; well-maintained and good housekeeping in offices, machine, and equipment; sanitary facilities such as comfort rooms and lavatories; maintained indoor air quality; managed safety and security; and provisions of personal protective equipment and health clinic or treatment room with complete first aid kits and medical supplies.

In addition, emergency preparedness program, occupational safety and health program, support facilities, and reasonable working hours, breaks and leave privileges must be given to the personnel in compliance to the said policy.

It also highlights the implementation of policies and programs relative to achieving heathy working environment such as Drug-Free Workplace Program; Tuberculosis prevention campaign; Hepatitis B, HIV and AIDS education programs; and medical assistance and other benefits for employees. 

Moreover, DSWD personnel are tasked to participate in comprehensive dissemination of OSH information and education program. Meanwhile, the heads of Offices, Bureaus, Services at the Central Office and Field Offices are mandated to provide employees reasonable working conditions and workplace that are free from hazards, accident, and emergency.

The DSWD commits to continue promoting the welfare not only of its clients and stakeholders but also of its personnel who are the frontliners in providing the needed social protection services to the public.  ###

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DSWD welcomes new executive order on devolution

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) welcomes the signing of the Executive Order (EO) No. 138 or the “Full Devolution of Certain Functions of the Executive Branch to Local Governments, Creation of a Committee on Devolution, and for other purposes.”

Under EO 138, some of the functions, services, and facilities of national government agencies related to local infrastructures, health care, livelihood, agriculture, and social welfare, among others, will be transferred to local government units (LGUs), with accompanying budget allotment.

The DSWD believes that the devolution of social welfare and development (SWD) services to LGUs will translate to their closer, more efficient, and accountable delivery, especially to those in need of immediate assistance.

The Department is hopeful that the Committee on Devolution will be able to issue the rules and regulations within the 30-day timeframe stipulated in the EO.

The DSWD will focus more on its steering role and assures the public that it will continue to work closely with LGUs. This includes capacitating them, and providing technical assistance and resource augmentation to ensure that the devolved SWD services will be effectively and sustainably implemented. ###

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DSWD, POPCOM team up to address teenage pregnancy in the country

In an effort to address teenage pregnancies in the country, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) will undertake the Social Protection Program for Teenage Mothers and their Children (SPPTMC) as mandated under the special provision of the 2021 General Appropriations Act of 2021.

This partnership will be reinforced through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to be signed by DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista and POPCOM Undersecretary for Population and Development and Executive Director, Juan Antonio A. Perez III, on June 10, 2021 to be broadcasted live via DSWD and POPCOM’s official Facebook pages.

The partnership aims to establish a social protection program specifically for teenage mothers who are minors and their children.

Both agencies commit to undertake the activities specified in the MOA to achieve the program’s objectives, including data gathering and  research, mobilization, sharing and exchange of databases and advocacy campaigns.

Under the MOA, the DSWD, through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and POPCOM have an approved and existing data sharing agreement (DSA) to facilitate the data exchange towards convergence of programs and services for the existing 4Ps beneficiaries. Both agencies agree to utilize said DSA to develop possible interventions or programs specific for teenage mothers, who are minors, and their children covered under the 4Ps.

Another DSA may be developed to address the needs of teenage mothers, who are minors, and their children not covered by the 4Ps. The DSWD and POPCOM shall ensure compliance to Republic Act No. 10173, or the Data Privacy Act of 2012, for the protection of personal information gathered towards and during the implementation.

The development of the SPPTMC is in its preparatory stage with both agencies collaborating on the conduct of consultation workshops with stakeholders and rapid appraisal on the situation of teenage pregnancy in the Philippines.

SPPTMC seeks to prevent teenage pregnancies and establish sufficient and accessible measures to protect the well-being of teenaged mothers and their children, as envisioned in the Philippine Development Plan and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

DSWD and POPCOM mutually recognize the importance of preventing pregnancies among teenagers who are minors because of the life-long implications on the wellbeing of young people, a population group that is vital in national development

DSWD initiative vs teenage pregnancy

Meanwhile, in 2020, the DSWD through the Social Technology Bureau, in its response to address teenage pregnancy, has initially developed a concept paper on “TEEN SUPPORT: Psychological Support and other Interventions for Teenage Parents and their Families”, with teenage parents below 18 years old as beneficiaries. It aims to protect and promote the psychological well-being of, and improve the capacity of teenage parents in performing their expected roles as young adults and responsibilities as parenting youth.

The project components include, Online Psychological Support; Family Life Enrichment Sessions, and Direct Assistance and Referral Services, either online or face-to-face.  It will be implemented for a period of six months in 2022 after the finalization of the program design based on the results of the rapid appraisal research.

Through Teen Support, it is envisioned that young parents are able to prevent future unplanned and repeated pregnancies; cope with the demands of parenting, and perform their social roles both as teenagers and parents. -30-

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November 2021