DSWD-10 to provide social services to former rebels

To support, facilitate, and pursue the country’s peace agenda, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 10 (DSWD-10) shall provide social services and implement social protection programs for former rebels (FR) who were members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA), and the Militia ng Bayan (MB) and their families, as well as in individuals and families in conflict-affected and vulnerable communities.

With the release of the new guidelines of Executive Order No. 70, which seeks to institutionalize the Whole-Of-Nation Approach to pave the way for collective participation and action in harmonizing government development efforts and services, the DSWD-10 shall implement programs and projects in close coordination with the Local Government Units (LGUs), who, in turn, shall also take the lead in the delivery of interventions to the former rebels. The DSWD-10 shall also provide technical assistance and resource augmentation to the LGUs as deemed necessary.

DSWD-10 programs and projects that are to be implemented for the former rebels include the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT), Sustainable Livelihood Program, Cash for Work (CFW), Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) and Protective Service for Individuals and Families.

In the EO No. 7 guidelines, the DSWD-10 shall provide assistance to the former rebels only upon endorsement by the E-CLIP Committee, for further provision of social welfare and development interventions over and above those being initially provided by the LGUs.

DSWD-10 shall also handle and manage the social cases of the FR women and children who are under the care of the DSWD-managed residential care facilities.

Other DSWD programs and services that shall be implemented in conflict-affected and vulnerable communities include the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayananan (PAMANA) Program, Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services – National Community Driven Development Program (Kalahi-CIDSS NCDDP), Disaster Risk Response and Rehabilitation, Assistance to Communities in Need, Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons, Supplementary Feeding Program, Social Pension, and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). xxx

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DSWD-10 opens doors of the Regional Haven for Women in Bukidnon

The DSWD opens the doors of the newly built Regional Haven for Women in Alae, Manolo Fortich Bukidnon. The Haven, a 1,750 square meter building, is constructed with the aim to help women living in Bukidnon and neighboring provinces, and whose rights are violated. In the Haven, women will be given government assistance and interventions such as counseling, livelihood, technical education, and other psychosocial interventions.

“Ang Regional Haven for Women ay isang simbolong nagpapaalala sa atin na dapat ipaglaban ang karapatan ng kababaihan kapag ito ay natatapakan, (the Regional Haven for Women is a symbol that reminds us that we need to protect the rights of our women when they are violated.” This is Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista’s message, delivered by Undersecretary Luzviminda Ilagan during the Inauguration of DSWD-10’s Regional Haven for Women today, August 28, in Barangay Alae, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

Sa mga amenities na ito, inaasahan po nating mapabuti ang ating serbisyo at maipadama sa ating mga kliyente ang pagkalinga at higit sa lahat, pagmamahal ng DSWD, (through these amenities, we hope that we will able to improve our services and let our clients experience the care and love of the DSWD).” – Mari-Flor Dollaga Libang in her reference to the new Regional Haven for Women in Alae, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, inaugurated today, August 28, 2019.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development officially opened the doors of the Regional Haven for Women in Bukidnon, a 23-million Peso project that provides temporary shelter and refuge to women who are undergoing difficult circumstances such as abuse and trafficking.

The Haven was built with the aim to provide access to social services to women whose rights were violated and are living in Bukidnon and other neighboring provinces, and to support them through government interventions and assistance, such as counseling, medical assistance, livelihood, technical education, and psycho-social interventions.

“Para mas marami pa tayong mga kakababaihang matutulongan (so that we can help more women),” Mari-Flor A. Dollaga-Libang, Regional Director of DSWD-10, says during her welcome speech among witnesses to the inauguration of the building. She added that many women will now be able to seek refuge in the Haven in times of difficulties and when their rights are violated.

DSWD Undersecretary Luzviminda Ilagan (third from left) shows pride and joy as she ceremoniously unveiled the building marker installed in the newly inaugurated Regional Haven for Women in Alae, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon today, August 28, 2019. With her are Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin , DSWD Regional Director Mari-Flor Dollaga Libang, former director of DSWD-10, Director Nestor Ramos, and Bukidnon Vice Governor Rogelio Quino.

“The completion of the construction of the Regional Haven for Women is a manifestation of converged efforts,” she continues as she relays that the Regional Haven for Women was realized through planning and implementation by a number of individuals and leaders, both from the local and national government, who took part in the completion of the construction of the 1,750 square meter building.

The facility has four women’s quarters, a conference room, a prayer room, a counseling area, a training room, a clinic, and a library, among others.

The construction of the building started in December 2018 and was completed in August 2019, with the budget coming from the DSWD’s Centers and Residential Care Facilities (CRCF) project fund. Support were also given by other national and local government offices “that shared the same vision the DSWD has.”

DSWD Undersecretaries Luzviminda Ilagan and Camilo Gudmalin ceremoniously cut the ribbon during the inauguration of the Regional Haven for Women in Alae, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, officially opening the facility to women who need DSWD assistance and interventions.

Gracing the inauguration were DSWD Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin, Undersecretary Luzviminda Ilagan, the Provincial Government of Bukidnon, and the local government unit of Manolo Fortich.

Representatives from other DSWD field offices and partner agencies were also among the witnesses in the said event.

A virtual inauguration of 124 DSWD centers and residential care facilities completed across the nation was also held in Cagayan de Oro City in the afternoon of the same day, which was also graced by top executives of the Department.

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DSWD-10 helps children affected by child labor

A mother registers her child to become a beneficiary of the educational grant from DSWD.

Child Labor is a social problem affecting many children in the Philippines. It is a form of exploitation that deprives children of their childhood by forcing them through any form of work, consequently interfering their ability to attend school.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 10 (DSWD-10) condemns child labor as it affects the well-being of children, including their mental, physical, social, and moral growth.

DSWD gathers children in celebration to the World Day Against Child Labor.

In partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment-10, ChildFund Philippines, the Local Government of Maramag, Bukidnon, including the local officials of Barangays Camp 1 and Base Camp, and Kaanib Foundation, Inc., DSWD-10 gathered 54 children victimized by child labor through implementation of the Strategic Helpdesks for Information, Education, Livelihood and other Developmental Interventions (SHIELD) – a project that aims to strengthen the capacity of local government units (LGUs) in the prevention and elimination of the worst forms of child labor.

Children were given educational grants from DSWD during the World Day Against Child Labor.

The children were gathered by the local and national government institutions in celebration to the World Day Against Child Labor held last July 3, 2019 in Maramag, Bukidnon – a pilot area for the implementation of SHIELD in Region 10.

In the celebration, the children were given educational grants as a way to encourage families to send their children to school, instead of them being victimized by child labor.

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4Ps mothers feed children with locally grown vegetables

Mother beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program take part in the LGU-led feeding program for children in schools.

More and more mothers who are beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Northern Mindanao have now started harvesting vegetables from their garden this season to prepare a menu for their children in schools.

In Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental, 4Ps mothers are now busy preparing for a feeding practice implemented in all day care centers and elementary schools of the 28 barangays weekly, which will run in the whole month of July. Every feeding day, all 4Ps beneficiaries are required by the DSWD to harvest vegetables from their backyard garden and prepare them according to the agreed menu of the week. To sustain the production of their garden, they are to plant anew after harvesting.

A child is seen surrounded by vegetables harvested by his mother and her neighbors who are 4Ps beneficiaries taking part in the feeding program.

The feeding practice of the town aims to provide nutritious food to school children which is implemented in close coordination between the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 10, Department of Education, and the Local Government Unit of Bonifacio.

4Ps beneficiaries in Lanao del Norte unite in providing nutritious food for their children.

Dave Torrefranca, Municipal Action Team leader of DSWD assigned in Bonifacio, disclosed that the practice has been going in Bonifacio town for three years now. He said all elementary schools have communal garden for the 4Ps beneficiaries after DepEd officials in Bonifacio town suggested to the Municipal Inter-Agency Committee of 4Ps to strengthen the planting of vegetables among (number of 4Ps beneficiaries) beneficiaries of the Program.

Meanwhile, all 4Ps parents in Delabayan, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte collectively prepare and cook their produce during their respective Family Development Sessions. The grantees share them among themselves after the session.

4Ps beneficiaries maintain their own backyard garden as part of the 4Ps advocacy.

A day before a session, 4Ps mothers are seen harvesting their vegetables and agree with their cluster members on what meal to prepare. Each cluster is composed of 28 to 30 household members.

Pantawid Pamilya is a government’s poverty-reduction strategy that provides cash grants to extremely poor households aimed at helping them raise educated and healthy children aged 18 years and below.

It utilizes the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme where beneficiaries receive cash grant provided that they send their children to school, get preventive health check-up, and the parents attend the monthly Family Development Session (FDS).

Currently, Northern Mindanao has 259,675 active household beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya. 

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DSWD-10 distributes family food packs to Lanao families affected by storm Falcon

DSWD Staff gives a family food pack to a mother whose family was affected by Tropical Storm Falcon that hit the province of Lanao del Norte on July 16, 2019.

Lanao del Norte — More than 3,600 families affected by Tropical Storm Falcon that hit the province on July 16, 2019 received family food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 10 (DSWD-10) as a response to the request of four municipalities to augment resources in the disaster operation.

DSWD report showed that as of July 20, 2019, the municipalities of Lala, Salvador, Sapad, and Kapatagan, Lanao de Norte had 71 totally damaged houses, and six partially damaged houses that as result of the storm.

In the report, Kapatagan showed the most number of affected families, with 1,691 families or 6,176 individuals; Sapad with 803 families or 3,484 individuals; Lala with 733 families or 3,139 individuals; and Salvador with 410 families or 2,050 individuals.

A resident in Lanao del Norte receives three family food packs from the DSWD for his family who was affected by Tropical Storm Falcon on July 16, 2019.

Costing DSWD with more than P2.8 Million to augment resources to the local government units, 5,298 family food packs were distributed. Each family food pack has six kilos of rice, 4 cans of sardines, 4 cans of tuna, and six sachets of coffee.

Each family is given three (3) family food packs from DSWD.

As of this writing, DSWD-10 continues to distribute family food packs to families affected by Tropical Storm Falcon.

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Children in conflict with the law oriented with Gender Sensitivity in RRCY

Sonia Ipang, Center Head of the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth, orients children residents of the facility on Gender Sensitivity.

Residents of the Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY) undergo orientation with their parents on Gender Sensitivity to allow them to appreciate individualism among their peers, and to also respect others of their gender and their culture.

The RRCY is a rehabilitation center managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 10 (DSWD-10) for children in conflict with the law.

Children of RRCY are given educational opportunities like tours and youth camps as a way to restore them to normal social functioning.

In the center, the children undergo values formation to help them improve themselves emotionally, socially, mentally, and spiritually, while their cases are being handled by the courts.

The children in RRCY are also given educational opportunities like tours and youth camps as a way to restore them to normal social functioning, and to prepare them as well as they go back to their communities.

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Female Gardener’s Determination makes her Leader to Group of Farmers

Estrella, 64 years old, became a leader in a farmers’ group association because of her concern for her community.

Iligan City — Never did it cross Estrella’s mind that she would be leading a group of farmers in Barangay Ditucalan, Iligan City, considering her humble beginnings.

Estrella N. Tao, a 64-year-old gardener in a small village called Makugihon in Barangay Ditucalan, Iligan City, worked along with her husband as farmers in a large hectare of farmland owned by the Omblero family in the city.

Years working under the heat of the sun in the farm kept their family with eight children afloat – earning just about enough to make ends meet. The farmers working in the land also created the Ditucalan Upper Taytay Farmers Association having twenty-seven (27) members to strengthen their group and help each other financially and socially.

However, those years came into a halt when the Ombleros sold their farm in 2017, leaving Estrella and the rest of the farmers with no land to till, and no income to earn. The depression forced Estrella and her husband to look for any available small jobs that they could find, but because of their age, it was impossible.

Moreover, the problem also discouraged the other farmers, and became inactive members of the farmers’ association. Estrella saw that she needed to do something to save what is left in their association. She encouraged the members to stay active, and they decided to lobby with their local officials regarding their state, and their need for a farm to till where they could earn income.

Having heard the predicament of the farmers, the barangay officials were able to provide them with a 500 square meter-land in coordination with the Department of Agriculture for a communal gardening project.

The communal garden of the Ditucalan Upper Taytay Farmers’ Association became a source of families’ food consumption and income for the community, letting them earn as much as P9,000.00 annually.

In the communal garden, farmers were able to plant varieties of vegetables like eggplant, okra (lady’s fingers), string beans, pechay (cabbage), ampalaya (bitter melon), kalamunggay (horse radish), kalabasa (squash), kangkong (water spinach), alugbati (Malabar nightshade), and luy-a (ginger).

A member of the Ditucalan Upper Taytay Farmers Association picks up a branch of horse radish for her family’s consumption.

It went better for the farmers and their families from that moment. They earned as much P9,170 annually, while they could also use the produce for their own families’ consumption.

In 2019, another problem arose when the El Nino phenomenon hit the city, drying up their garden soil, and making it impossible for them to grow plants and vegetables, and affecting their produce and income.

Like a silver lining in a cloud, local barangay officials of Ditucalan announced months later that the Department of Social Welfare and Development is implementing the Risk Resiliency Program – Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (RRP-CCAM) which provides Cash-for-Work (CFW) opportunities for families.

RRP-CCAM is implemented by DSWD to help families in hazard and risk areas vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This is done by giving them temporary employment for ten (10) days and income augmentation through the CFW.

Nakatabang gyud ang CFW. Nakatabang gyud siya sa among income (CFW helped a lot. It was able to help us financially),” says Estrella. “Nakapalit gyud mi ug tambal para sa akong high-blood pressure. Nakapalit pud mi ug bugas, sud-an (I was able to buy medicine for my blood pressure. I was able to buy rice and food).”

Estrella and her family took the opportunity and worked for 10 days under the program, letting them earn as much as P274.00 per day for their work rendered.

Nakatabang gyud ang CFW. Nakatabang gyud siya sa among income (CFW helped a lot. It was able to help us financially),” says Estrella. “Nakapalit gyud mi ug tambal para sa akong high-blood pressure. Nakapalit pud mi ug bugas, sud-an (I was able to buy medicine for my blood pressure. I was able to buy rice and food).”

Estrella is aware that this support is only temporary, but she says that it is enough for her to cover up family expenses while they wait for rain to pour again. “Kung mag-ulan na pag-usab, mutubo ra man pud balik among mga tanum ug gulay, mao anang dili na ko mabalaka kay naa na pud mi income puhon (If it rains again, I know the our plants and vegetables will grow, that’s why I am no longer worried),” Estrella says. “Ang amo nalang kay i-maintain nalang namo ang yuta ug ang mga tanum ug gulay (I am more concerned now of how to maintain our garden, our plants and vegetables).”

Seeing her concern for the families of the farmers and her ability to lead in managing and maintaining the communal garden, the farmers in the association, which is now active again, elected her as the president.

Under her term of leadership, it was decided by the body that the income of their produce shall be used to invest on a fish-pond business. Today, the association is raising its income for the said investment.

Estrella says that the RRP-CCAM has not only helped her and the farmers and their families through temporary employment, but it has also strengthened their association become active in community works, and their community to become resilient during disasters.

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A Woman of Faith

Maricar shares that maybe its God’s way of employing her in a social welfare agency because she has been provided with right intervention to address her pressing situation and she herself underwent psychosocial therapy where she finds total relief. 

Each person may have a story to tell about life, but it is not usual for a woman to share her own personal story in public especially when it talks about family relationships. 

Maricar (not her real name), 45 years old, was married for seventeen years and was blessed with a beautiful daughter who is now nineteen years old.  She once wished of a happy marriage but her dream was a despair.

Just like any ordinary couple, Maricar and her husband started dating each other before they finally decided to tie the knot and enter a married life.  Maricar could still remember how well she was treated by her husband.  A year after they got marriage, she noticed that her husband have become irritable and often gets home drunk.  He would throw things at her and worse, she would sustain physical injuries out of her husband’s violent behavior.  He would punch her face and pull her hair without reason.  Maricar shared that their daughter who was still at high school that time often witnessed her father inflicting physical harm on her.  With the incident, their daughter was greatly affected, especially her studies. 

She further shared that out of fear, she and her daughter would seek refuge from their neighbor.   There was a time when Maricar sustained contusion out of physical maltreatment by her husband, it was their neighbor who offered her shelter for the night and provided her first aid intervention. 

Maricar expressed that what was more painful and humiliating than the pain she sustained from her husband’s abusive behavior was the verbal abuse she received from him; he often called her “Burikat” which made her feel degraded as a wife and as a woman. 

Her husband started into gambling such as playing cards and derby and oftentimes he went home late and drunk.  Maricar kept to herself the abuses done to her by her husband until it was discovered by her family due to the contusions she sustained from battering.   

With her life story, Maricar hopes that she will serve as an inspiration to those who might read her story especially those who are experiencing the same situation as her.

Maricar got the confidence to blotter the incidence of physical maltreatment last 2005 after three (3) years of sustaining the abuse. 

Her neighbor also encouraged her to have it reported to the authorities for record purposes, but even so, she still endured the continuous cruelty of her husband. 

Maricar has learned from her negative experiences.  She has gained people from work who understands her situation whom she shares her difficulties and became her confidant. 

She was assisted by a Social Worker from DSWD to file a blotter on the recent incident of maltreatment and she underwent a medico-legal examination.  The decision of Maricar of not to pursue the filing of case against her husband has been respected, instead her husband was summoned by the Barangay Council for the Protection of Women and Children where both parties signed an agreement.  Since then, Maricar shared that her husband have changed.  She no longer heard degrading words from his mouth and neither inflicted physical violence against her.           

With her battle in life, her faith in God became stronger.  She shared that maybe its God’s way of employing her in a social welfare agency because she has been provided with right interventions to address her pressing situation and she herself underwent a psychosocial therapy where she finds total relief.  Maricar realized that it is really not an exception for anybody to become a victim of domestic violence, and on her part it is far apart from her dream to become one of those women victim of violence.  She was thankful to her family, workmates and friends who untiringly listened to her story and empowered her to stand for her right.       

With her life story, she hopes that she will serve as an inspiration to those who might read her story especially those who are experiencing the same situation as her.  Maricar would like to encourage the women who are victims of domestic violence to come out and not be ashamed of their situation.  Maricar wanted to share this message “Be brave and think of the future of your children.  Act firmly, and seek help from the proper authorities.  Always seek refuge and guidance from God.”

Written by: Faith Sabulana and Rosanel Pague 

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November 2021