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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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Majority of DSWD employees receptive of Covid-19 vaccines

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has seen an increase in the receptiveness of its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Based on the two Pulse Surveys conducted, the number of employees willing to be inoculated with the vaccine grew from 35 percent in February to 74 percent in May 2021.

When the employees who are now willing to be inoculated were asked what factors led to their change of mind, most referred to the information they received on the vaccine as the factor that influenced their current willingness to be inoculated.

The rise in vaccine confidence and receptiveness was due to the consistent information dissemination activities done by the Department, in partnership with the Department of Health, to promote the importance of getting inoculated to protect them and their families against the virus.

Likewise, among the common materials or activities on the COVID-19 vaccine deployment program used by the Department included e-mail blasts and memoranda on updates related to the vaccine. Half of the employees or 50 percent of those who answered the survey also reported satisfaction on the dissemination of information related to COVID-19 vaccine, while 21 percent were very satisfied.

The facilitators of the survey emphasized that the research design was devised as a rapid assessment survey and that more sophisticated research methods may be used to more accurately describe the changes in the vaccine confidence of the employees.

Meanwhile, the DSWD has started the registration of essential workers for vaccination. As of the latest count, more than 9,000 personnel from the Central Office and in various DSWD Field Offices have already registered their intent to get vaccinated.

The Department pledges to continue to help in the government’s dissemination and promotion of the COVID-19 vaccination and vaccine deployment program to achieve population protection. ###

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DSWD thanks CHR for recognizing pandemic response efforts

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) extends its gratitude to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for recognizing the agency’s efforts to assist vulnerable sectors, particularly women, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released by the CHR through their spokesperson, Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia, the Commission lauded DSWD for the continuous provision of livelihood support to women through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

SLP is one of the capacity building programs of the Department that provides opportunities that increase the productivity of the livelihood assets of the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized communities, helping them improve their socio-economic well-being.

Amid the pandemic, the Department commits to continue to ensure unhampered provision of social protection programs to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and community quarantine measures. ###

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DSWD Chief leads signing of Anti-Corruption Manifesto

Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista holds the Anti-Corruption Manifesto which he signed, together with the other officials of the Agency.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista led the rest of the DSWD management in the signing  of the Anti-Corruption Manifesto of the Philippine Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) under the Project Kasangga: Tokhang Laban sa Korapsiyon on May 27.

Launched by the PACC, Project Kasangga is in line with President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s goal of weeding out corruption in government.

Secretary Bautista expressed the Department’s support for the President’s anti-corruption goal, and the anti-corruption initiatives of the PACC. He affirmed that “DSWD is one with the President and PACC in realizing the common objective of achieving a corrupt-free government”.

He lauded the PACC for initiating Project Kasangga which allows various government agencies and offices to unite all good governance and anti-corruption measures through the signing of the Anti-Corruption Manifesto.

He added that the entire leadership of the DSWD, as well as all employees, vow to exert all efforts to uphold the highest work ethics and good governance in all aspect of the Department’s work. 

“We will achieve this by instituting more stringent anti-corruption measures within the DSWD and by providing the public accessible platform to report their grievances,” Secretary Bautista further said.

For his part, PACC Chairperson Greco Belgica thanked the DSWD for partnering with the Commission in the fight against corruption led by the President.  He reminded everyone that public office is a public trust, thus, every public servant must work together in eliminating all forms of graft and corruption and abuse of power in all government agencies, especially as the society is vulnerable due to the ongoing health crisis.

The PACC chair said that in signing the Anti-Corruption Manifesto and in taking the Oath of Honesty, officials and employees of government agencies affirm their commitment to take active role in the prevention, detection, and resolution of graft and corruption cases within their respective work stations.

The DSWD remains committed to counter corruption at any level in the Department’s different offices to continue to gain public trust and confidence. ###

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DSWD focuses on financial literacy in first FDS TV

Save for the rainy days and for a better future for your family.

This was the main message of the first Family Development Session TV (FDS TV) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Piipino Program (4Ps) which was launched in May and aired over the Department’s Facebook account and cross posted on the RTVM Facebook page.

The conduct of the FDS is an important aspect of 4Ps and the attendance of beneficiaries to this activity is one of the conditionalities for them to receive their cash grants.

In 2020, following the declaration of public health emergency because of the pandemic, the DSWD suspended compliance monitoring of all program conditionalities, including the attendance to the monthly conduct of the FDS.

The DSWD, however, cited that the conduct of FDS is not just a conditionality but a significant aspect of development of the beneficiaries as they are taught various life skills through this activity.

For the pilot airing of the FDS TV, the DSWD focused on financial literacy, particularly on financial planning and the importance of saving, especially in times of emergency such as this ongoing health crisis.

To give the 4Ps beneficiaries and the Facebook viewers practical tips in managing finances to include budgeting and saving, the DSWD invited two speakers who discussed the topics, “Pagpapaplanong Pinansiyal para sa Maginhawang Pamumuhay (Financial Planning for a Better Future)” and “Responsableng Pagbabadyet at Pag-iimpok para sa Kinabuksan (Responsible budgeting and saving for the future).”

Planning family finances

Financial Advisor, Vicent Catudio, who has worked with the DSWD in the development of the 4Ps Financial Literacy Module for beneficiaries discussed the importance of financial planning.  He underscored the importance of planning for one’s future and in striving hard to improve one’s finances.

He said that individuals and families must be responsible and determined.  Mr. Catudio said that Filipino families must think carefully and plan their finances.

The speaker said that a self-assessment can be done in order to come up with a sound financial plan.  Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries must have the self-awareness on the following: source of income or livelihood; list of expenditures; current status or situation; list of debts and bills to pay; and the presence of savings.

He added that the health of the family must always be taken into consideration, as sickness in the family greatly affects their financial status.

Furthermore, Mr. Catudio said that it is important that the financial plan or the budgetary plan must be specific, measurable, agreed by all members of the family, realistic, and time bound.

Responsible budgeting and the importance of saving

Meanwhile, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Bank Officer, Sarah Padilla, shared that responsible budgeting is a process of crafting a realistic plan on how to use one’s money, and this includes the cash grants received by the 4Ps families.

She added that it might sound very technical but responsible budgeting is just the process of listing down all income, expenses, need of the families, and the financial goal.  This way, the list of expenses versus income will be clearly identified.

According to her, beneficiaries must list all the family’s expenses and identify which among them are the priority. She, however, stressed the importance of being realistic in budgeting.

Ms. Padilla said that having a realistic budget plan has its positive effects as the family can avoid financial stress with all expenses and bills laid out versus the income.

She stressed the importance of doing the following tips in budgeting: expenses must not be more than the income; prioritize the needs of the family; and set aside some savings even how small it is.

Ms. Padilla emphasized the need for the budgeting process to be done by and with the family members.  She added that cooperation of all the members of the family is important to achieve the goal of keeping within the budget and of savings.

Lastly, she encouraged the 4Ps beneficiaries to consider putting their savings in a bank.

Saving money is important to 4Ps families

Ruby Ann dela Cruz, a 4Ps parent leader from Bulacan, shared her journey on budgeting and savings. Ruby Ann said that growing up in a very poor family helped her to become responsible with the money that she earns. Thus, she knows that setting aside a portion of ones’ earnings no matter how small will really go a long way.

She stressed, “importante ang pag-iipon para sa ating 4Ps beneficiaries upang matulungan tayo maputol ang cycle ng kahirapan sa ating pamilya. Ayokong maranasan din ng aking anak ang kahirapang naranasan naming nuon” (Saving money is important to us 4Ps beneficiaries in order to stop the cycle of poverty within our family. I do not want my children to experience the same situation we went through before).

She added that she wants her children to finish schooling, and as such, she is already preparing for their college education.

“Bilang ina, wala akong hiniling kundi mapabuti ang kinabukasan ng aking mga anak.  Kaya sinimulan ko ang pag-iipon para may magamit kami pag nagkaroon ng biglaang pagkakagastusan” (As a mother, I want nothing but the best future for my children.  That is why, I started saving so that we will have money in case there are emergency expenses), Ruby Ann shared.

Ruby Ann added that she started saving in empty containers of big baby powders, and with the help of her husband, their savings grew. Ruby Ann was also able to access a savings cooperative in her municipality which was also being mainstreamed in the banking system as a savings account depositor.

The DSWD urged the beneficiaries to emulate Ruby Ann and apply the lessons that they learned on financial literacy and consider opening a savings account as their fall back in times of needs.

4Ps is the national poverty reduction strategy of the national government. It invests in the health, nutrition, and education of poor households for an improved well-being. ###

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DSWD provides update on the UCT top-up crediting

In continuation of the implementation of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Program, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released its latest data regarding the payout via top-up crediting of UCT beneficiaries with cash cards.

The UCT is a one-time cash subsidy provided to qualified poor households and individuals to help them cope with the adverse economic impact of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

The DSWD explained that with the ongoing pandemic, distribution of the UCT grants shifted from over the counter payment to cash card mode of payment.

Based on the report from the UCT-National Program Management Office (NPMO), more than P1.65 billion have been distributed to 458,567 UCT-Listahanan beneficiaries from Regions II, VIII, IX, X, and CARAGA through their cash cards.

Likewise, 596,819 UCT-Social Pension beneficiaries from Regions CAR, CARAGA, II, III, IX, and NCR have also received their UCT grants last month via top-up cash card crediting amounting to more than P2.14 billion.

Beneficiaries in the said regions already have their cash cards.

Meanwhile, an additional 300,912 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries with cash cards were able to receive their UCT grants amounting to P1.08 billion. These are on top of 3,923,602 4Ps beneficiaries who earlier claimed their UCT grants last December 2020.  

The Department will continue to ensure the provision of social welfare programs to assist vulnerable sectors during this time of the pandemic. ###

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DSWD encourages beneficiaries to get COVID-19 vaccines

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista encouraged beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the Social Pension, and other services of the Department to take advantage of the government’s vaccination efforts against the COVID-19.

The DSWD chief said that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe as these have been approved by experts globally and locally.

Given free, the Secretary also stated that getting vaccinated is the best protection to safeguard themselves and their families from contracting the coronavirus.

Secretary Bautista added that the DSWD continues to coordinate with and assist the Department of Health in cascading the necessary and relevant information regarding the vaccination program of the government. Through this effort, the program beneficiaries are provided with the right information to guide them in arriving at their informed decisions about the vaccination. The DSWD program beneficiaries are categorized under A5 priority  in the government’s vaccination list.

The Secretary further encouraged the program beneficiaries to coordinate with their local health providers for their questions about the vaccination program.

He also reminded them to always observe minimum health protocols such as wearing their face masks and face shields; sanitizing their hands; and, practicing social distancing from other people.

The DSWD is one with the rest of the bureaucracy in the goal of mass vaccination for population protection. ###

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DSWD readies augmentation support for TS Dante

As lead agency of the government’s disaster response pillar, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is ready to provide augmentation support to localities along the track of Tropical Storm Dante.

To date, DSWD currently has a total standby resources amounting to ₱1.105 billion, of which, ₱225 million is allocated as standby funds, ₱113 million worth of 222,382 family food packs , and ₱766 million for other food and non-food items. The DSWD Central Office (CO) has a total amount of ₱181.2 million available standby funds readily available for its response and early recovery operations during disasters and calamities. These resources are strategically prepositioned in 17 regional warehouses and 34 DSWD warehouses across the country, especially in the regions forecast to be affected by ‘Dante’, for immediate augmentation to local government units (LGUs) which will need assistance.

Furthermore, the Department operates by Twinning and Reinforcement systems. Twinning is where the identified twin Field Office (FO) shall immediately provide augmentation as needed while Reinforcement is where the DSWD CO and other regions with appropriate capacity are on standby  to provide assistance upon depletion of resources of affected Field Offices (FO).

Meanwhile, in terms of its mandate on Camp Coordination and Camp Management and the Protection of the Internally Displaced, DSWD has eight established evacuation centers in Regions I, II, III, IV-A, V, VI, VIII, and CARAGA. It also has an available 2,602 Quick Response Team members in its 17 FOs and the CO ready for deployment as the need arises. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, however, deployment of DSWD staff for the provision of support services is in accordance with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Guidelines and Health and Safety Protocols.

The Department is closely coordinating with concerned agencies and LGUs to ensure an efficient and well-coordinated response operation for those who will be affected by the weather disturbance.

DSWD also urges the public to remain vigilant and to follow the warning advisories of their local chief executives to avoid any untoward incidents due to the effects of the tropical storm. ###

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November 2021