Grants of 4Ps beneficiaries increase, says DSWD

KORONADAL CITY – The monthly grants of beneficiaries covered by the government’s conditional cash transfer program has increased, a senior official of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office XII (DSWD FO XII) announced Wednesday.

The increase, according to regional director Cezario Joel Espejo, already reflected in the grants of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries last month as part of full scale implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11310 that assures financial aid to qualified and registered poor households.

Last year, President Duterte signed the law in a bid to beef up government’s social services.

Dir. Espejo said that subsidies for enrolled in daycare and elementary shall remain at P300 per child for a maximum of 10 months a year. In the meantime, children enrolled in junior high are going to receive P500 per child, while those in senior high school will receive P700 per child, both in categories receiving an increase of P200 from its previous rates.

A health and nutrition grant of not lower than P750 per month for a maximum of 12 months a year will also be given to the beneficiaries.

At the same time, the director reported the agency has resumed monitoring the health compliance of more than 250 thousand households covered by the program across the region, more than seven months after the program conditionality was waived due to the health crisis brought about by COVID-19.

The conditions  include sending 4Ps beneficiaries’ school-aged children to school, pre and post-natal care for mothers, regular and preventive check-ups for children aged five and below, deworming for children aged 14 and below, and attendance to the monthly conduct of the Family Development Session.

“Our beneficiaries can now visit their respective health centers provided they must strictly follow the minimum health standard,” Dir. Espejo said, noting field workers have started monitoring beneficiaries’ compliance. (JBM / DSWD) 

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DSWD starts releasing P793M for six-month pension of indigent senior citizens’ pension in Region 12

MAASIM, SARANGANI — The government has started releasing the P793 million financial assistance of indigent senior citizens across the region, a senior official of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office No. XII (DSWD FO XII) announced Tuesday, saying the agency will fast-tract the distribution of grants of elders affected by the global health crisis.

Juliet Clavel, who oversees the releasing of assistance in this town, said they commenced the distribution of P3,000 to each 4,082 seniors for their July to December pension.

“We thank our village marshals for ensuring health protocols observed during the distribution,” Clavel said. 

Juanita Lopez, 65, among the 315 recipients in the village of Lumasal, thanked the central government for the timely release of their pension as they ran out of funds to cover her maintenance.  

Lopez, who was on a wheelchair assisted by her son in claiming her money, said she will use the financial assistance vitamins, Diabetes medications, and other needs.

“Once I arrive home, my son Henry will go to the drugstore to buy my medicines,” Lopez said while showing a drug prescription after a DSWD staff handed over the money to her.

Region-wide, the agency will distribute P3,000 each to 264,358 qualified senior citizens, according to Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD 12 regional director. 

“Our elders need the money. We are working with local officials to fast tract the distribution of these grants without compromising the health protocols,” Dir. Espejo said.

The DSWD handles the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 where indigent senior citizens could receive a monthly stipend worth P500 from the state.

Under RA 9994, it defines indigent senior citizens as “any elderly who is frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs, as determined by the DSWD.” (JBM/DSWD)

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DSWD pours over P25 million livelihood projects in Central Mindanao to ease pandemic effects

Cattle raising and dairy milk production in Matalam, North Cotabato. (Photo by IS / DSWD)

KORONADAL CITY —  The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office XII (DSWD FO XII) has poured more than P25 million to finance livelihood projects of families affected by the global health crisis in the region.

The funding, under the DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), benefited 1,572 qualified individuals, DSWD-12 regional director Cezario Joel Espejo said, citing latest data.

Described the funding as a “seed capital fund”, Dir. Espejo said the money were used by the beneficiaries as start-up business to improve their socio and economic well-being.

“The agency will continue to support economic activities that will help change the lives of our beneficiaries going through tough times,” Espejo said, adding the majority of the recipients are members of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Ramla Balah, 39, president of Chico group, one of the associations covered by the project in the village of Natutungan, Matalam, North Cotabato, said their community dream before was to start modest dairy production ventures with one or two milking cows.

“It’s a big help to us. Majority in the town have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. We thank the government for helping us,” Balah said whose association has 30 members.

Edgar Guerra, SLP regional program coordinator, said the project in Natutungan was initiative of residents for health and local food security.

“We hope our intervention will contribute to local dairy industry development as well boost the nutritional status of children,” he said.

A flagship program that aims to lessen poverty and inequality by generating employment among poor households, the SLP is implemented through micro-enterprise development that provides participants with access to funds and training to set up their own micro-enterprise and employment facilitation, another scheme that provides employable individuals access to locally available jobs through public-private partnerships.

Last year, the agency, recognized by World Bank for leading the provision of opportunities for income-generating activities and livelihood development, has utilized P74.2 million for several livelihood measures covering 4,837 family-beneficiaries. (JBM / DSWD)

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Parent leaders in Region 12 sign up to become contact tracers

In this file photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic shows parent leaders attending family development session in Sarangani. (Photo by JBM / DSWD)

KORONADAL CITY — Parent leaders covered by the government’s conditional cash transfer program have signed up to become contact tracers in a bid to curb the growing cases of people infected by coronavirus in Central Mindanao.

Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development, said Wednesday that four parent leaders in the town of Alabel, Sarangani Province; four others in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat Province; and three in Polomolok, Sout Cotabato, have proactively responded to the call of government for community contact tracers as part of the country’s response to cut the transmission of deadly virus brought about by COVID-19.

A parent leader oversees the attendance, monthly discussions and overall participation and compliance of the beneficiaries under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

“Our staffs on the ground are continuously encouraging our partner-beneficiaries to help since they know the people within their respective communities,” Dir. Espejo said.

Across the region, the total number of cases as of Tuesday had reached 944 – 498 of these active cases – including 54 new infections recorded within 24 hours, according to daily tally of the Department of Health. A patient also died yesterday, bringing to 19 the death toll in Region 12.

Naifah Balindong, regional project coordinator of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, said parent leaders helping in the fight against COVID-19 have been serving as volunteers in their respective health centers.

Among their responsibilities include conducting interviews and profiling, and perform an initial public health risk assessment of COVID-19 cases and their identified close contacts; refer the close contacts to isolation facilities; conduct enhanced contact tracing in collaboration with other agencies and private sectors; conduct daily monitoring of close and general contacts for at least 14 days; and perform such other tasks in relation to the COVID response.

The measure to tap contact tracers was in accordance with the provisions of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

Under the law, contact tracers to be tapped may include, but are not limited to, displaced workers both in the formal and informal sectors, from existing networks of barangay health workers, parent-leaders from the 4Ps and members of duly accredited civil society organizations. (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD resumes supplementary feeding program in Region XII

KORONADAL CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office XII (DSWD FO XII) has resumed its supplementary feeding program across the region, targeting nearly a hundred thousand children.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said Monday the agency allotted around P 176,337,000 million to cover this year’s program that aims to improve the weight of children.

“This is a positive development. We appreciate the support of our partners from the local government units (LGUs),” Dir. Espejo said, citing strict observance of the health protocols – social distancing, wearing of face mask and face shield, will be observed in the entire conduct of the feeding program.

The SFP, implemented under DSWD, is the provision of food to children in addition to regular meals. The food supplementation in a form of hot meals were provided to children during snack times or mealtimes five days a week for 120 days.

Parents or guardians prepared the meals of the toddlers using indigenous food or local produce available in the communities.

Merilyn Guerra, SFP focal person, said children covered by the feeding program include those 2-3 years old enrolled in Supervised Neighbourhood Play; 3-4 years old Child Development Centers; and 5 years enrolled in CDC.

“We have staff assigned to monitor and provide technical assistance to ensure proper implementation of the program,” Guerra said, noting that the implementation was supposed to commence first quarter of the year but was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from the regular feeding, children will be taught about proper hand washing while their parents were trained preparing healthy meals from their backyard vegetable gardens. ( JBM / DSWD)

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Boxers in General Santos City get assistance from DSWD

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The  Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office XII (DSWD FO XII) reached out to a group of boxers and its trainers in this city affected by the COVID-19 crisis, providing them financial and relief assistance over the weekend.   

Sunday’s event held at the General Santos City’s oval court was an initiative of Sen. Bong Go, Senate’s Sports Committee chairman, who also provided ten bicycles and additional food packs.

“As chairman of Senate Committee on Sports, we will respond and provide support to our athletes not to suffer the effects of the current crisis,” Senator Go said via zoom.

“National athletes and coaches have also been greatly affected by the adverse impact of the pandemic. I am extremely grateful that this measure includes the welfare of our modern-day heroes who bring pride, honor and glory to our nation in the field of sports,” Sen. Go added.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Jade C. Jamolod, regional Director Cezario Joel Espejo, assistant regional director Bonifacio Selma, and Games and Amusement Board chairman Abraham Kahlil B. Mitra, led the distribution of P5,000 cash and box of relief assistance to each of the 166 boxers in the region who were struggling to recover from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

In his message, Asec. Jamolod has assured the public of the government’s continuing support to vulnerable groups of people in the society.

“Our department is closely working with local officials in aiding the recovery efforts. More help is on the way,” Jamolod said.

“We are grateful for the DSWD for answering the call of GAB leadership to extend help to our active licensed boxers in General Santos City,” Mitra said.

One of the recipients, Teodoro Denonong, 45, thanked the government for looking into their immediate needs.

“I will keep the money for future emergency needs,” Denonong said after he received the financial assistance.   

The intervention provided was through the agency’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), a program that serves as a social safety net or a stop-gap measure to support the recovery of individuals and families suffering from unexpected life events or crisis.

Under AICS, the agency provides medical, educational, burial, transportation and food assistance to persons in crisis situations, specifically those belonging to the informal sector and other poor, marginalized, vulnerable, and disadvantaged individuals.

“We in the department will not stop in providing assistance to people in need…not only the boxers but all those needing assistance. Our social workers are working 24/7 to attend to the needs of the people,” Dir. Espejo said.   (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD-12 clarifies no workers infected by COVID-19

A DSWD worker gives cash aid to a beneficiary in Matalam, North Cotabato. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office XII (DSWD FO XII) clarified  Saturday reports citing 150 personnel have contracted the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD XII regional director, said while the data came from its central office in Manila, the agency’s workers across the region are coronavirus free.

Dir. Espejo said the agency has acquired personal protective equipment distributed to field workers. In addition, DSWD XII has allowed employees who are at high risk from catching the disease were allowed to work from home.

DSWD XII also has the policy to have staff that visited areas with local transmission to quarantine and report in their respective barangay for monitoring. Only when the staffs are cleared with medical certificate will they be allowed to return to work.

“We are clarifying reports circulating in social media that DSWD 12 has no staff with COVID-19 positive,” Dir. Espejo explained.

“We are thankful that until now, we don’t have any staff that is confirmed to be infected with the virus. Unlike in other regions where some of the employees have been diagnosed positive,” he added.

The agency also appeals to the media to be responsible in their reporting, noting unvalidated information can cause panic to residents of the region and possible bullying of DSWD XII workers.

Earlier, the DSWD Central Office reported of the 150 infected employees, 57 had already recovered from the respiratory ailment.

Among those who turned positive for the virus worked during the distribution of cash aid.

The caption of the local media’s report failed to specify that it was not specifically DSWD XII that has employees that are positive but it was from other regions. (JBM / DSWD)

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Children and Women Friendly spaces kits for Makilala evacuees

LOOK:  Workers from DSWD FO XII turned over on Thursday, August 6, 2020 Children and Women Friendly Space Kits for hundreds of families affected by last year’s series of earthquakes still staying at evacuation centers in Makilala, North Cotabato. 

Despite the pandemic brought about by the coronavirus, aid continues to pour to North Cotabato residents severely affected and displaced by the natural disaster. 

The province was among the worst affected by the 6.6-magnitude quake that ripped through Mindanao, displacing more than 41 thousand families living in 68 evacuation centers.  (Photos by Kim Koli Jagonod / DSWD) 

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