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CCT graduates proves poverty not hindrance to achieving dreams

KORONADAL CITY – Senior officials of Department of Social Welfare and Development said senior high school graduates covered by the state’s anti-poverty program proved poverty not a hindrance in finishing their studies.

DSWD 12 assistant regional director for administration Jackia Lao said the agency puts high hopes this year’s graduates will continue their in getting college degree with the assistance from the state.

In Central Mindanao, around thirteen thousand students covered by the state’s Conditional Cash Transfer in graduated this year under K-12 program.

Based on the agency’s data at least 2,298 Senior High School students graduated in the province of Sultan Kudarat; 3,384 in South Cotabato;  1,812 in Sarangani;  4,406 for North Cotabato; 580 in Cotabato City; and 183 in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.

A senior high school student is seen during their graduation in Koronadal City. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem)

“We are very happy for the achievements of our students. They did not waste the people’s money,” ARD Lao said.

DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco said the graduates have proven that poverty is not always a hindrance in the way one’s effort  to secure an education.

“All of us in the department are very happy because of the determination and hard work shown by Pantawid Pamilya children to finish their education,” Sec. Leyco said.

For those who will graduate from the Senior High School program, the OIC reminded that there are available government programs for them to continue their college education through the Commission on Higher Education as well vocational training to improve their skills such as those offered by the Department of Labor and Employment and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

“We would like to remind the graduates to continue to persevere and dream. There are many challenges in life, but these should not stop you from improving yourselves),” the DSWD OIC said.

The K-12 program, fully implemented in 2016 by the previous administration, dictates a year of kindergarten, six years of elementary school, four years of junior high school, and two years of senior high school.

The program aims to make the country’s education system at par with other more developed countries, despite additional cost to families and problems on educational infrastructure. (End)

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Ripples of Hope

Education is seen as one of the effective weapons to combat poverty, but for many of poor Filipinos, education remains elusive because it is out of their economic means to secure.

Ten years ago, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the country’s version of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme was launched with the hope to curb poverty by investing in the health and education of children aged 18 and below who come from poor households.

In 2012, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) opened slots to accommodate children-beneficiaries of the 4Ps who were interested in pursuing a college education.

The Students Grants-in-Aid program for Poverty Alleviation (SGPPA) contributes to the thrusts of the national government to address poverty by providing financial support for the higher education efforts of children from poor households so they can secure better job opportunities.  

From the more than 3,000 children-scholars, this was expanded to cover 40,000 children qualified for the scholarship.

“Education is very important and we will continue investing in the education of poor children. Providing them with CCT, we are confident that they will have more means to combat poverty”, said OIC Emmanuel Leyco of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Education: A key to a better future

From facing uncertainty over the future, Danny Rose Martin is now one step away from fulfilling her dream of a comfortable life for her and her family.

Danny Rose is the second of four children of Danilo and Rose Marie Martin from Brgy. Coloong, Valenzuela City. Even with their combined incomes, Danilo and Rose Marie found it very difficult to provide for the needs of their children.

Danny Rose shared that her father would take on odd jobs just to be able to buy a kilo of rice to feed the family. She also shared that they could not afford to have electricity in their house for years. They used only candles and lamps to light their home.

To help address the family’s financial difficulties, Danny Rose found work as an all-around house helper at a young age. When she turned 18, she went on to work as a cashier at a mall to help augment her family’s income and to be able to further her studies at the Technological University of the Philippines.

In 2014, their family was chosen to be a recipient-household of the 4Ps. Danny Rose became a scholar of the Expanded Student Grant-In-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA).

The stipend she received not only helped her meet everyday expenses for school, but also helped to ease the strain on the finances for her family. Aside from the financial assistance, she was able to take part in trainings and seminars with other ESGPPA students. This helped her develop her confidence, and she found a support system with the other scholars.

Danny Rose finally got her degree of Bachelor of Technology, Major in Welding Engineering and Technology on March 26, 2018.

Dreams do come true

I never thought I would come this far. At seven, my mother passed away two months after giving birth to our youngest. As a single parent, my father works hard in the field to provide for our needs. This chapter of my life began with experiences of despair. I did not let the painful events weaken me. I became more determined to overcome every obstacle I encountered” said Hazel Achuela.

Hazel is one of the graduates of the ESGPPA, and last December she did not only pass the licensure exam for Agriculturists, but is also among the topnotchers (9th place).

Against all odds, Hazel chose to stand up and wave the banner of the Achuelas.

“Whenever I look back, I cannot help but weep. I cannot imagine how we were able to continue knowing that my family was incomplete. I never lost hope, I continued my schooling together with my three sisters,” she said.

 “When I was in elementary school, I was very happy whenever my father gave me PhP2.00 for my daily allowance. I packed my lunch so I would not go home anymore to eat. Barangay Salbang is a flood prone area. I rode my bicycle everyday even during rainy days instead of riding a tricycle,” Hazel recalled.

They also went to the market early in the morning to sell vegetables to augment their funds and to catch up with late payment of school contributions.

“There were times when I even pitied myself because my classmates lived comfortable lives with complete families who were ready to support all their needs,” Hazel admitted.

Though worried about entering college, she still pursued her education.

“God is so good: He sent Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) to help me in my studies,” she testified.

Hazel graduated With Distinction in High School at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) Laboratory High School – Science Curriculum.

To her surprise, she passed the University of the Philippines College Admission Test but was financially incapable to study in UP Los Bańos, so she enrolled as an Agriculture Major in Animal Science at the MMSU – College of Agriculture, Food, and Sustainable Development (CAFSD) in Batac City, Ilocos Norte.

She also represented MMSU to the Asian Association of Agricultural Colleges and Universities Study Tour in Tokyo, Japan.

With the struggles I faced, I stood stronger against the next battles. I am now a Licensed Professional Agriculturist! I was able to prove that poverty is not a hindrance to achieving one’s dreams”, Hazel said.

Opportunities, hard work and persistence

4Ps was launched in 2008 covering 300,000 households. The program scaled up to 4.3 million households to this day.

The ESGPPA, instituted by the CHED together with the DSWD, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the different State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) hopes to produce graduates who can be part of the nation’s workforce.

This end of school year, 34,000 college students are expected to graduate based on the available data of the CHED. Of the total number, 631 students will be finishing their degrees with honors.

This is just the beginning. We hope that we these students finishing a college degree, they will be able to improve their lives. We hope to see more Hazel and Danny Rose in the future”, concluded Secretary Leyco.  (DSWD/SMS) 

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UCT validation of beneficiaries in Central Mindanao and ARMM continue

KORONADAL CITY – Senior officials of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Monday validation continue for possible beneficiaries under Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) program in Central Mindanao and parts of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Sohra Guialel, police and plans division chief, said workers were deployed all over Region 12, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur to conduct the validation of poor residents under the agency’s National Household Targeting System.

A worker conducts validation for possible beneficiaries under UCT in the town of Madamba in Lanao del Sur. (DSWD Photo by Goldie Hahanie Ali)

According to Guialel, about 657 employees in Region 12 were fielded to do the validation process while 764 in ARMM.

“So far we have validated 15. 20 percent or 28, 931 for Region 12 while 33,000 or 14 percent in the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur,” she said.

Guialel said the Central Office directed them to ensure that those who will benefit from the UCT are poor but not beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Social Pensioners.

Arthur John Gabucan, region’s planning officer 3, said at least 223,239 households are possible UCT beneficiaries while around 191, 243 in Region 12.

Earlier, DSWD OIC Emmanuel Leyco, said said that DSWD will continue to uphold efficiency, transparency and compassion in the delivery of its programs and services — now including the UCT — and to be true to its mandate to provide maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo and serbisyong walang puwang sa katiwalian.

“We are committed to serving the Filipino people the best way that we can,” he said.

The UCT program aims to help the country’s poorest families cope from the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law.

This year, each beneficiary will receive P200 per month while in 2019 and 2020, the subsidy will increase to P300 monthly. Nationwide, the 10 million beneficiaries of UCT comprise the following: 4.4 million are beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya, three million are indigent older persons under the Department’s Social Pension Program while 2.6 million are from the Listahanan poverty database. (DSWD/JBM)

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DSWD 12 feeding program bags 3 major national awards

KORONADAL CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Supplementary Feeding Program in Central Mindanao makes it to the list, with three major awards, in effort to fight malnutrition among children.

Juliet Clavel, DSWD 12 head of community based section, reported Monday the region got Rank 1 for Highest Utilization in Financial Utilization nationwide, Rank 5 with 112.05% Served Children Beneficiaries nationwide, and Rank 4 for Nutritional Status Impact nationwide.

In this picture shows (from L) Juliet Clavel, head of community based section; Merilyn Guerra, Nutritionist Diatecian III and Supplementary Feeding Program; Tita Compania, social pension focal; Emerita Dizon, chief administration officer; Ludmilla Rellores, finance divisioN chief; and Nairah Aratuc, protective services division chief.  (DSWD Photo by Hilbert Estacion)

“We are thankful for the support of our co-worker. Our awards would not be possible without them,” she said.

Clavel said the awards was received by Merilyn Guerra, Nutritionist Diatecian III and Supplementary Feeding Program staff during the Program Review and Evaluation Workshop in Tuguegarao City last week.

Dennis Domingo, DSWD 12 regional information officer, said the awards were based on last year performance.

Lenny Lanaodo, 31, said her three-year-old son was considered malnourished when she enrolled in the day care center in this city.

Lanaodo said she was thankful the health condition of her son improved after six months.

DSWD’s Supplementary Feeding Program is the provision of food in addition to the regular meals to children currently enrolled in the day care centers as part of the DSWD’s contribution to the Early Childhood Care and Development program of the government.

Under SFP, children in the morning play and learning session will be provided with an alternative meal consisting of a heavy snack. This will be served before the session, and then a hot meal will be served after the session. For the afternoon session, hot meals will be served upon the arrival of the children followed by an alternative meal. (DSWD/ JBM)

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More than 30k Students to Complete Tertiary Education

Around 34,000 students from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are expected to graduate under the Expanded Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA). The ESGPPA is implemented by the Commission on Higher Education together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

“We commend our graduates for making it this far. We also laud the unwavering support of their families that brought them to where they are right now. Despite the hardships and the difficulties, they did not falter”, shared DSWD Secretary Emmanuel Leyco.

In 2012, SGPPA was launched covering 4,000 students. This was later on expanded to cover additional 36,000 students in 2014.

The program provided opportunities to 4Ps households who have children who are determined to pursue college education and qualified for the scholarship. A college degree for the children-beneficiaries opens an opportunity for them to access better employment and help them improve their lives.

“We recognize that having a degree will not immediately translate to an improved quality of life, but it’s a stepping stone that will lead them to better opportunities. Through the program, we have given these poor children as well as their families a fighting chance to a better quality of life,”added Secretary Leyco.

Beneficiaries of the program are required to take up courses that are among those identified with the national development plans manpower demands. These include Information Technology (IT)-related courses in agriculture, education, science and math, engineering and health sciences-related courses.

The 4P’s or Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) is a program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households primarily of children aged 18 and below. It is implemented by the DSWD together with other government agencies to include the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Health (DoH).

It provides cash grants to compliant household beneficiaries with health grant worth P500 and educational grants worth P300 and P500.00 each to the children studying in elementary and high school, respectively. As of 30 March 2018, there are 4.3 million households enrolled in the program. ###

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DSWD receives rice donation from Vietnam for Marawi crisis IDPs

MARAWI CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through its Field Office (FO) in Region X, recently accepted 200 metric tons (200,000 kilos) of rice from the Government of Vietnam. The rice is intended for distribution to internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Marawi City who are in the process of resuming their lives in the destroyed city that is now being rebuilt.

His Excellency Ly Quoc Tuan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the Philippines handed over the donation to DSWD Undersecretary for Legislative Liaison Affairs and Special Presidential Directives in the Mindanao Region, Luzviminda Ilagan, and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Office of the Asian and the Pacific Affairs Director Marford Angeles, in a ceremonial turnover held last week at the DSWD’s Warehouse in Dalipuga, Iligan City.

DSWD OIC secretary Emmanuel Leyco (L) inspects October 24, 2017 rice supplies inside a warehouse in Iligan City intended for people displaced by the five-month old fighting between military and Pro Islamic State militants in Marawi City, Southern Philippines. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem)

DSWD FO X Regional Director Nestor Briones Ramos, who is the Assistant Program Manager for Special Operations in Marawi and other Affected Localities, recognized the support of Vietnam in the Department’s continuous relief efforts for displaced families because of the war that erupted last year in Marawi City.

“We appreciate the Government of Vietnam’s aid to the people of Marawi. Your generosity and assistance will go a long way in the continuous provision of needed relief to the displaced residents who will be returning to their respective homes in the city,” Director Ramos said.

DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco welcomed the donation, which, he said, will help the Department ensure that adequate food is provided to the survivors of the armed conflict.

“We would like to express our gratitude to the Government of Vietnam for helping us to continuously respond to the basic needs of the displaced residents of Marawi. This rice donation will help us ensure food security for the IDPs, which our field offices in Northern Mindanao and SOCCSKSARGEN Regions continue to serve,” he said.

After the ceremony, Usec. Ilagan, together with Director Ramos and DFA Director Angeles, accompanied Ambassador Tuan for a visit to the resettlement area for Marawi siege survivors in Sangongsongan, Marawi City.

Some 8,000 sacks of rice weighing 25 kilos each are now at the DSWD Warehouse in Iligan City.

The donated rice will be turned over to the LGU of Marawi for distribution to returning IDPs in the city. (SMS Central Office)

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DSWD urges partners to enforce VAWC

KORONADAL CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) called on partner agencies to help enforce the implementation of a law that protects the rights of women and children in Central Mindanao.

DSWD 12 assistant regional director Gemma Rivera said the central office wanted all state offices to take the lead in implementing and enforcing Republic Act No. 9262 or the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004”.

Under this Act, violence against women is classified as a public crime and penalizes all forms of abuse and violence within the family and intimate relationships, hence all women should be aware where to report cases of violence committed against them.”

“We recommit ourselves to achieving a better place where women and children enjoys their rights and freedom,” she said.

In Manila, DSWD Officer-In-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco said based on the preliminary findings of the 2017 National Demographic and Health Survey, “one in four or 26% of ever-married women aged 15-49 has ever experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence by their husband or partner.

One in five or 20% of women has ever experienced emotional violence, 14 percent has ever experienced physical violence, and 5 percent has ever experienced sexual violence by their current or most recent husband or partner.”

“Among the ways to lessen the occurrence of incidents of domestic violence is to focus on the over-all mental, emotional and physical health and well-being of family members. For instance, if the husband does not have any vices, such as drinking and gambling, he will be less prone to abuse his wife and children.  Good health has a positive effect on the family, and the healthier the parents and children are, the better the chances that they will have happier and healthier lives,” OIC Leyco explained.

OIC Leyco added that the Department’s Pantawid Pamilya Program conduct Family Development Sessions which beneficiaries should regularly attend as one of the conditionalities. Among the modules discussed during the FDS are husband-wife relationships and the respective roles and responsibilities of such, as well as responsible parenthood including positive disciplining of children.

“Our beneficiaries relate that the lessons they learn from the modules taught to them during the FDS sessions help them to strengthen their family relationships and they are encouraged to be better parents,” OIC Leyco ended. (DSWD/JBM)

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Street sweeper’s son finishes college degree with highest honor in Sultan Kudarat  

LUTAYAN, SULTAN KUDARAT — The town’s gymnasium swirled with black- and-green graduation gowns. Everything were all set.

But for the son of a street sweeper, 21-year-old Raymart Cabading, the loud music of their graduation march played inside the gym only shows the end of the tunnel for his sufferings.

Despite being poor, Cabading, did not give up his vision to beat the odds. To prove that a poor student from the other side of the country can get a college degree.

At some point in his life, he recalled that he stopped going to school to help his mother make money to support their financial needs by working as a street sweeper in Koronadal City, waking up at 2:00 a.m. to clean four hundred to six hundred meters of highway.

Sultan Kudarat State University graduates in the town of Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem)

On March 29, Cabading brought and offered his parents the gift and fruit of his four year’s sufferings.

Taking up Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Technology at Sultan Kudarat State University satellite campus here, he formally finished his college with a prestigious Latin honor, cum laude.

“I worked along with my mother in the streets for two months in Koronadal City as sweeper. I don’t have any desires of getting a college degree before because of our status in life,” Cabading said.

“I even stopped going to school during my high school days. But I realized that our status in life should not hinder me from pursuing my dreams,” he added.

In his speech during their graduation, Cabading recognized the hardship endured by his parents, Rizalde and Carmelita, saying they never left him in his dark days.

“Ma…Pa… I love you. I’m here right now in front of you. Although we are being criticized because of our status in life, both of you believed that it’s not a hindrance. Thank you for the life that you’ve given me,” he said.

“Above all to Allah/God for giving me wisdom, strength, passion, skills and everything around me. Without Him, we ate nothing,” he added.

Cabading said he will begin searching for a job next month to help his family.

Dr. Junito Marcelino, SKSU Campus director, described Cabading a down to earth and respectful student.

“For me he (Cabading) is the type of employees needed by our government,” Marcelino said.

Like Cabading, his schoolmate, Kristina Caso from nearby town of Tupi in South Cotabato, broke down in tear after their graduation rites as she claimed optimistic of getting a job soon to uplift the life of her family.

Caso, a B’laan native, said her only dreams was to help and get her family out of poverty.

In this picture taken March 29 shows Raymart Cabading with his mother, Carmelita, during his graduation at Sultan Kudarat State University in Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem)

“I struggled with every aspect of my high school and college life,” she said.

“Since my first year high school, I’m a working student. I survived all the hardship and sufferings of high school and college days. I keep on saying to my self every hardship in life will soon bear good fruits,” she added.

Cabading and Caso were among the country’s 30,000 plus college graduates under the government’s Expanded Student’s Grant-in-Aid Program (ESGPPA).

The ESGPPA aims to contribute in the increase of the number of enrolment in higher education in line with the national government’s priority degree programs among poor households, and support college graduates’ entry to labor markets through placement assistance.

Under the said program, it ensures that the grantees are enrolled in selected State Universities and Colleges duly recognized by CHED.

Yearly, a student receives a maximum of Php 60,000.00 scholarship grant. This money is broken down to Php20,000 per year for the tuition fee, and Php5,000 per year for the textbooks and other learning materials.

The remaining Php35,000, which is distributed to Php3,500 per month, is allocated for the stipend for the board and lodging, transportation, clothing, health/medical needs, basic school supplies and other related costs.

CHEd Officer-in-Charge Prospero De Vera III said last week students who avail of free tuition must render services to be determined by their universities.

“They are now being paid for by taxpayers’ money and it is their responsibility to give back to their community or give back to the nation,” De Vera III said.

The return service system was provided under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, or Republic Act 10931, which will be implemented this coming school year. (DSWD/JBM)

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