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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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DSWD-10 introduces drug-related prevention programs to Local Government Units for replication

Local Social Welfare and Development Officers and representatives from different local government units in Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Oriental recently commenced their orientation and equipping with the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 10 (DSWD-10) on the Family Drug Abuse Prevention Program and the management of Special Drug Education Center last July 11-12, 2019 in Cagayan de Oro City.

To equip service providers on how to prevent drug abuse cases in family settings and in managing drug abuse centers, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 10 (DSWD-10) trains 27 social welfare and development officers coming from the Local Government Units of Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental last July 11-12, 2019 in Cagayan de Oro City.

Ms. Delia Maravillosa of DSWD-10 says that the FDAPP and SDEC are two of the social technology projects that the Department is advocating for the adoption and replication of the local government units.

Ms. Delia Maravillosa, Head of the Social Technology Unit of the DSWD-10, introduced to the participants the Family Drug Abuse Prevention Program (FDAPP) and the Special Drug Education Center (SDEC), both social technology projects the Department is advocating for LGU adoption.

The FDAPP creates awareness and educate families on the underlying causes of drug abuse problems and its ill effects, and develop their capacities on parenting and life skills towards the promotion of a drug-free home and community. The FDAPP aims to promote and strengthen the Filipino values which uphold the importance of family ties, and unity and growth.

The SDEC, on the other hand, is in support to Republic Act 9165 also known as the Act instituting the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. It involves the youth in community affairs, and decreases number of youth drug dependents and drug-related crimes in the community. The programs and services in the said drug education center includes self-enrichment, prevention, capability building and skills trainings, literacy program, family counselling, community participation, recreational or socio-cultural activities, spiritual growth, and referral services.

These social technology projects are just two of the many innovative models of Social Welfare and Development interventions the DSWD is advocating to LGUs.

The Department emphasizes its steering role, being responsible in the development and enhancement of customer-driven social protection programs that address the current and emerging issues of the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged individuals, groups or families; the Local Government Units, on the other hand, is responsible in directly implementing social services and programs, including technologies being introduced to them by the DSWD.

The other social technology projects advocated by the Department are the Comprehensive Intervention Against Gender Violence (CIAGV), Psychosocial Care and Support Services for Persons Living with HIV and their Affected Families (PLHIV), Modified Social Stress Model (MSSM), Aruga at Kalinga sa mga Bata sa Barangay, Youth Productivity Services (YPS), Home Care Support Services for Senior Citizens (HCSSSC), Intergenerational Program for Senior Citizens and Children, Sheltered Workshop for Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities, Counseling Services for Rehabilitation of Perpetrators of Domestic Violence (CSRPDV), Sharing Computer Access Locally and Abroad (SCALA), and Job Network Services for Perennial Clients of Crisis Intervention Unit of DSWD.

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Vegetable vendor signs up to volunteer and help community prepare for any disaster

Anna Fe V. Bugtong, a vegetable vendor, shares that with her bitter experience with Tropical Storm Vinta in 2016, she was able to learn a lesson: to always be prepared.

Anna Fe V. Bugtong can still remember how Tropical Storm Vinta washed out her house and that of her neighbors in the afternoon of December 22, 2018 in a small mountainous village of Langaon in Baungon, Bukidnon.

Strong rain and winds forced Anna, her husband and her five children to move out from their house, and had to walk through flooded roads, and cross through surging rivers to find safety. As a mother of five children and a vegetable vendor, she remembers how difficult it was for the family to stay on course with their home and farm destroyed.

Kusog kaayo ang baha. Ninglapas gyud siya sa dalan dapit didto sa tulay. Naguba gyud ang tulay (The flood was overwhelmingly getting worse. It went up as high as that road near the bridge. The bridge was also washed out by the flood),” remembers Anna.

Nakuyawan gyud ko. Nahadlok ko para sa akong mga anak nga basin naay dili maayo mahitabo sa ila. Naglisod gyud mi ug tabok paingon sa highway. (I was scared. I was afraid for my children’s safety. I didn’t know what I would do if something bad would happen to them because of the flood. It was so difficult walking to the highway area),” she added.

She also recalls that many of her neighbors in the village had to go through the same difficulty during the storm. “Naay uban sa ila walay pagkaon nabitbit. Walay bugas. Ang uban nakadala ug bugas, pero taman ra sa usa ka-adlaw. Wala pud mi nakahibalo nga pag-abot sa gabii, naguba na diay among tulay. Wala gyud mi makatabok sa suba. Na-stranded gyud mi (some of the families were not able to bring food with them. No rice. Although some of them were able to bring rice, but it wasn’t enough for one day. We also didn’t know that by night time, the bridge had already washed out. We were not able to cross the river).”

Anna shares that with that bitter experience, she was able to learn a lesson: to always be prepared.

With that lesson in mind, she joined the Risk Resiliency Program – Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (RRP-CCAM) introduced by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 10 through the Barangay Council in Baungon.

The RRP-CCAM is a program that encourages community participation in implementing a community-defined project related to climate change adaptation, climate risk reduction that is sustainable in nature. The program generates temporary employment and provide income augmentation to families and/or individuals through Cash-for-Work (CFW).

In exchange for the works rendered by a participating family for ten (10) days, the beneficiary is provided with cash assistance equivalent to seventy-five percent (75%) of the prevailing daily regional wage approved by the Department of Labor and Employment.

Anna Fe shows the footbridge she and her neighbors built in preparation for any flood or storm that may hit their barangay in Baungon, Bukidnon.

Anna is one of the beneficiaries of the RRP-CCAM Cash for Work in Baungon where she and the rest of her community helped in constructing a footbridge where they can pass through safely from their village down to the municipal proper should a disaster occur in their village.

Nakatabang gyud ang programa sa ako, dili lang tungod kay nakadugang siya ug income sa akong pamilya, pero tungod kay nakatabang pud ang programa sa ako nga mahimong instrumento sa among komunidad nga makapangandam mi kung adunay kalamidad nga mahitabo (The program has helped me, not just because it was able to provide my family an additional income, but it has also helped me become an instrument to my community to become prepared in times of any disaster.)”

With Anna’s participation in RRP-CCAM, she was inspired to become a community volunteer and get involved in the construction of a Barangay Access Road funded by the DSWD’s Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services. She is part of the community’s Project Preparation Team in constructing the said project in her barangay. xxx

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DSWD turns over 50 core shelter units to residents in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon

Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, Jr., Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, ceremoniously turned over fifty (50) DSWD core shelter units to internally displaced families affected by the 2011 Tropical Storm Chedeng that hit Cabanglasan, Bukidnon last June 28, 2019.

DSWD-10 Regional Director Mari-Flor A. Dollaga-Libang stated during her project briefing that the Field Office identified 60 families to become recipients of the DSWD Core Shelter Assistance Program which is one of the interventions of the DSWD under the Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness. The 60 families, as per assessment by the Local Government Unit of Cabanglasan, were reported to be “badly hit” by the said storm.

With an allocation of P4,200,000.00, DSWD constructed 50 shelter units under the said program in Barangay Eba, Cabanglasan, while the Local Government Unit of Cabanglasan shouldered the ten (10) core shelter units as their counterpart to the project. Each unit costs P70,000.00.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, together with PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar, graces the turn-over of 50 DSWD core shelter units by handing over a symbolized key to Mr. Generoso Mendoza, President of the Senior Citizens Federation of Cabanglasan, Bukidnon, representing the 60 displaced families who were affected by Tropical Storm Chedeng in 2011.

Director Dollaga-Libang also explained that the Core Shelter Assistance Program (CSAP) aims to provide environment friendly, structurally strong shelter units that can withstand up to 220 kph wind velocity and earthquakes up to intensity 4 of the Richter Scale. She added that the family who were displaced by Tropical Storm Chedeng can now call their newly built houses their homes.

The ceremonial turn-over of the 50 core shelter units was done during the launching of the Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev), the banner program of Northern Mindanao that addresses the root causes of internal armed conflict and insurgency in the region.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista Regional Director Mari-Flor A. Dollaga-Libang shake hands with residents of Cabanglasan, Bukidnon as their gesture of commitment to provide quality and fast social protection programs beneficial for their families and their communities, such as livelihood, financial assistance, job opportunities, and social services.

In keeping with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, also known as “Institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach in Attaining Inclusive and Sustainable Peace, Creating a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and Directing the Adoption of a National Peace Framework,” the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) launched CAPDev which promotes a focused, coordinated, and sustained delivery of the government’s basic services and social development packages in poor, conflict-affected, geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in the region.

The launching of CAPDev was led by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Martin Andanar who is designated as the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Region 10.

Region 10 is the first region in Mindanao to launch a program and craft a peace framework in response to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70. xxx

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PWD earns agribusiness management degree

Maramag, Bukidnon — After four years of studying in Central Mindanao University (CMU) here; 21-year-old Edy Rose Tayab completes the bachelor degree in agribusiness management recently.

Life has not been easy for Edy Rose of Purok 17, Barangay Butong, Quezon, Bukidnon. She was born with a congenital deformity. She has no feet and no left hand.

Edy Rose Tayab, a 4Ps scholar, receives her diploma during the recently concluded graduation ceremony of Central Mindanao University, Maramag, Bukidnon. Photo supplied by CMU.

But Edy Rose did not let her disability get in the way of achieving her dreams. She excelled in her class while in high school and pursued her dreams to finish a degree in college.

“I want to prove myself that I can do what normal people can do,” claimed Edy Rose who admitted that she couldn’t avoid comparing herself to her classmates.

Having no feet, Edy Rose uses her underdeveloped lower limbs without crutches daily.

To reach CMU, she has to take a 45-minute ride, a challenge she had to face just to finish her college education.

“Usahay makamahay (I feel resentful at times),” she said, especially when people, some of whom are her classmates would taunt her, saying, “Nganong ing-ana man imong nilaktan? Mohilom nalang ko. Pero sa akong galamhan gisakitan nako, (Why do you walk like that? I just keep silent. But deep inside I felt hurt).”

Edy Rose, who placed top nine at Apyao National High School, Quezon, Bukidnon in 2015, was a consistent honor pupil in her elementary years.

“I enjoy studying,” Edy Rose said, adding that it was during in her elementary years that she noticed she loved Mathematics.

“It feels like I’m just playing a game when it comes to Mathematics,” said Edy Rose. She added she loves to answer Mathematical challenges.

Edy Rose Tayab with her father, Eduardo.

Edy Rose, whose mother died while she was on her third year in college, is a former recipient of the Extended Student Grant-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA) of DSWD and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) while studying at CMU. Only last year, when free tertiary education was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte, that she was placed under the scholarship of the UNIFAST of CHED.

“Magpasalamat jud ko sa DSWD kay natabangan ko nila sa pag-eskwela pinaagi sa Pantawid Pamilya aron makab-ot nako ang akong mga pangandoy,” she said. (I thank DSWD because they have helped me in my studies and in reaching my dreams through Pantawid Pamilya).

Before her enrolment in the program, Edy Rose recalled that her family could hardly send her to school. “May adlaw ko nga walay balon sauna. Karon kompleto nako og balon ug mga gamit sa eskwelahan,” she said. (Before, there were days that I don’t have food to take for my school. Now, I have food to eat and I have school supplies.)

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).

Edy Rose is among the more than 20,381 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries who graduated in 2015, the first batch of 4Ps high school graduates. Currently, Northern Mindanao has 260,663 active household beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya. 

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Photo: DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista signs resolution condemning CPP-NPA atrocities in Northern Mindanao

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista (in blue) and IP leaders commit to Regional Peace and Order Council X’s (RPOC-X) resolution condemning CPP-NPA Atrocities in the Region. The commitment was made during the Launching of Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) at Barangay Iba, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon on January 28,2019.

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Photo: DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista speaks to Bukidnon Residents re CAPDev

“Labanan po natin ang kahirapan sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaisa. Hikayatin po natin ang ating mga kapatid na nasa kabilang bakod na magbalik loob sa pamahalaan. Sa gayon makapiling nila ang kanilang pamilya at mabuhay ng matiwasay.
“Sa parte po ng gobyerno, gagawin po namin lahat ng paraan upang matugonan ang kanilang pangangailangan.”

-Secretary Bautista to the residents of Cabanglasan, Bukidnon during the launching of Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) on June 28,2019.

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