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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by: Faith Sabulana and Rosanel Pague – DSWD

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How coffee, corn help won peace in Bukidnon

Bukidnon has a long history of internal armed conflict. From tribal wars to insurgents, this lush land of forests and agriculture is scarred with violence. Consequently, one factor contributing to such armed violence is poverty. Government services are not accessible due to factors like road conditions and distance, available resources, such as financial and physical assets, and most importantly, education.

Manobo-Pulangihon people as beneficiaries of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) project with DSWD staff and partner stakeholders.

Depriving poor communities from access to their basic rights make the Indigenous People vulnerable to joining militants. Yet not everything stays the same forever. One barangay in the Municipality of Quezon, Province of Bukidnon is about to experience change and, soon, peace.

Sitio Gamut of Barangay Sta. Filomena is considered the farthest community in Quezon. 24 kilometers from downtown with approximately 400 households, the area is mostly inhabited by the Manobo-Pulangihon tribe people. They are traditional farmers who lack new technology for post-farming activities such as shellers and haulers to augment the market value of their produce like corn and coffee.

Achieving peace through capacity-building of vulnerable communities with income-productive citizenry.

They lack the capital to buy the necessary machinery. Saving money is a luxury they cannot afford to do as they need every cent earned for their daily needs.

With the introduction of a Sustainable Livelihood Program’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (SLP Pamana) project to their community, the locals have reckoned the idea that things are about to change for them. The group of farmers with 30 members has been organized into an SLP Association which adapted the name Barangay Farmers Tribe Group Pamana SLPA.

To aid the association in their farming activities and increase their production rate, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process have provided the association with corn sheller and coffee dehauler.

People working together as a community: coffee dehuller being transported to the association’s center of business operation.

The said project is one of the government’s programs to strengthen peace-building, reconstruction, and development in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas. Notably, it is not only the association who will benefit from the said project but the whole community as well.  

Looking forward to the improvement of their income through the provision of the much-needed service, the members of Barangay Farmers Tribe Group Pamana SLPA likewise hope to achieve peace through productivity and socio-economic growth as they soon harvest their valuable grains of corn and coffee.

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DSWD ug Philippine Air Force magtinabangay paghatod og serbisyo sa Northern Mindanao

Nakighimamat ang mga opisyales sa Tactical Operations Group-10 sa Philippine Air Force kang Regional Director Mari-Flor Dollaga-Libang aron mapalig-on ang pagtinabangay sa DSWD ug PAF sa paghatod ug serbisyo sa mga komunidad sa Northern Mindanao.

Gipahugtan na sa Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 10 ug sa Philippine Air Force sa Armed Forces of the Philippines ang pagtambayayongay aron mahatod ang mga serbisyo ug programa ngadto sa mga labw’ng nanginahanglan.

Kini human nagtagbo si DSWD Field Office 10 Regional Director Mari-Flor Dollaga-Libang  ug si Lt. Col. Derrick Ablog, commander saTactical Operations Group (TOG 10) sa Philippine Air Force nga nahimutang sa Lumbia Airport ning dakbayan sa Cagayan de Oro.

Gihisgotan sa duha ang pagtinabangay panahon sa paghatod og mga serbisyo ug programa sa DSWD, sama sa paggamit sa mga eropplano ug helicopter sa Philippine Air Force. Gikalipay ni Director Dollaga ang pagbisita ni Lt Col Ablog tungod kay dako kini og ikatabang sa pagpaayo ug pagpahapsay sa pagtubang sa DSWD sa mga panginahanglanon sa kliyente niini.

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Renewed Hope to Dream

One gets easily discouraged when life offers you limited choices. The future does not seem any better for Rolly P. Oracion as he only completed elementary education finding it difficult to find a stable job for himself. His family makes ends meet by loaning in micro-finance institutions and neighbors which gets paid from the corn harvests. During harder times, they are forced to sell their livestock just so that they can buy food to put on their table. 

An opportunity came knocking on their door literally on June 2017. It was the last call for enrollees to the Backhoe HEO NCII Skills Training at Brgy. Minsuro, Manolo Fortich, a Sustainable Livelihood Program Employment Facilitation through Skills Training track project. A worker from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) visited Rolly and his wife Gina at their house and offered them a slot to the aforementioned training. Rolly was hesitant at first because he felt too old to be hired and he has not finished his formal schooling. His wife prodded him to grab this opportunity. He shared that there were times he felt quitting from the training but his wife motivated him to finish it. And finished he did with NCII certification.

Mr. Rolly P. Oracion during the Commencement Exercises held last June 24, 2017 at Manolo Fortich Gymnasium, Municipality of Manolo Fortcih, Bukidnon.
(Photo credits to Mr. Earl Ryan Janubas)

With complete requirements, including a valid driver’s license, he was easily hired by private companies and contractors. His job experiences harnessed his skill in operating a backhoe equipment. After finishing project-based jobs, he finally landed in GAMMA Food Inc. on May 2019 as mainstay operator for regularization within the year. There he earned a daily salary of Php457, complete with health and social pension benefits. 

Mr. Rolly P. Oracion showing off his skills in operating a backhoe equipment at his work area.

Rolly is more than optimistic than ever in facing the challenges ahead of him. He is grateful that they were able to pay off their debts that they can finally start saving for their house renovation and buy a motorcycle which he needs to use to and from his work station. There are times he ends up getting soaked in the rain when going home. For now, he is simply beyond grateful to be employed so as not to worry when they would get money to buy for their meals and daily needs as he has a regular salary every 15 days. 

The Oracion Family. Rolly, standing left most, with his children and wife Gina, standing 3rd from left.

The rest of the family are also doing good on their own. Gina is a Pantawid Parent Leader and President of an SLPA in Brgy. Sto. Niño, which was funded recently this November 4, 2019. The group project is cassava production. His eldest son is also a Backhoe NCII holder and is working at Dahilayan Forest Park as Park Attendant. His eldest daughter is enrolled at National Bukidnon Community College taking up B.S. Business Administration, while their youngest child is an enrolled Grade 10 student at Manolo Fortich National High School. They ascertain that the grants they receive from the Pantawid Program as they comply with the conditions. 
The future is better now for Rolly and he can only say these words “Daghan salamat sa DSWD kay natagaan mi ani nga opportunidad.” (Thank you, DSWD, for giving us this kind of opportunity.)

Walay sapayan, Rolly.

Story and photos contributed by Richie Dangazo, Project Development Officer II

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April 2021