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DSWD assures people in need of assistance under community quarantine

In this file photo shows a survivor of vehicular accident receives financial assistance from DSWD in Surallah, South Cotabato. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured the public Friday it will not cease providing assistance to in need residents affected by the country’s most drastic containment moves to confront the new coronavirus.

In statement, Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of DSWD-12, said the agency will continue to receive and assess applications of vulnerable groups of people for the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), especially clients affected by the impact of strict community quarantine and curfew across the region as part of efforts to prevent the fast-spreading virus. 

Under community quarantine, residents have been asked to stay at home except for work and urgent errands under month-long restrictions.

Large gatherings like concerts, movies and cockfighting are already prohibited and most work in government line agencies on skeletal workforce, while school closures at all levels were extended by a month.

“We are closely working with local government units to look for better scheme in terms of providing assistance to AICS patients with clear adherence to social distancing and enhance community quarantine protocols,” Dir. Espejo said.

AICS is a DSWD-led 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.  (JBM / DSWD) 

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DSWD-12 announces suspension of programs requiring mass gathering of clients

In this picture taken January 2020 shows senior citizen wait to get their social pension in Koronadal City. (JBM / DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced Tuesday a month-long suspension of program activities that require mass gathering of people,  a move to help in containing the growing spread of coronavirus in the country.

Citing the directive of Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said the agency 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. 

Dir. Espejo explained the suspension effective immediately until April 14 following the declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte placing the entire country under state of public health emergency, will minimize the exposure of beneficiaries from the threats of COVID-19.

Currently, the country has 142 confirmed cases of virus and 12 confirmed deaths. Globally, more than 160,000 cases have been confirmed and around 6,000 people have died of the disease in nearly 90 countries, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.

“But we are not suspending other programs for the people. Those in need of medical and burial assistance can still avail under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program,” the director said, adding the agency will have its skeletal personnel in all AICS satellite offices tasked to assist the needs of our clients.

AICS is 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. 

The agency’s food and non-food items distribution will continue on condition the local government units, as frontliner in service delivery, will be provided with the necessary augmentation from the DSWD upon their request.

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

Meanwhile, the agency assured to provide tents to hospitals operating in the region for Covid-19 patients isolation area. (JBM / DSWD) 

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Some earthquakes survivors in Central Mindanao return home, says DSWD official

In this picture shows children affected by the earthquakes walk at the tent city in Kidapawan City. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem)

KORONADAL CITY — Evacuees in some areas of Central Mindanao displaced by last year’s earthquakes have returned to their respective homes, a senior government humanitarian agency official said Monday while assuring state assistance will still continue.

Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development, reported around  153 families in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat; 175 families in Malungon, Sarangani; and 37 families of M’lang, North Cotabato were allowed to go home since their condition had improved since December 15 last year where a 6.9 earthquake struck hit Mindanao, leaving scores of fatalities. 

“Those residents whose houses declared to be severely or totally damaged will be provided with

shelters assistance.The agency will assess them if they qualify the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) as part of the office program for Early Recovery,” Dir. Espejo said.

Under ESA, the DSWD is supposed to give out P30,000 each to families whose homes were destroyed by a disaster and P10,000 to those whose homes were damage

Dir. Espejo’s deputy, Bonifacio Selma, assistant regional director for operations, said the affected families were provided with family food packs and emergency financial assistance through 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. 

Central Mindanao that covers the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Sarangani was among the worst affected by the series of earthquakes that ripped the Island since October last year. (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD readies assistance to OFs that will be repatriated from Middle East

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) vowed to extend assistance to Overseas Filipino Workers that will be repatriated from the oil-rich Iraq and Iran amid the escalating tensions in the Middle East.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, made the assurance as the government ordered the mandatory repatriation of Filipinos woking in the gulf hours before the ballistic missiles attacks targeting two US airbase in Baghdad following the assassination of a top Iranian general in a U.S. drone strike.

Dir. Espejo said he directed Naira Aratuc, head of agency’s protective services division, to ensure that assistance will be extended once OFs affected by the conflict from the gulf arrive in the region.

Aside from educational and financial assistance under 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, social workers will assess returning OFs to determine what other needs would be provided when they are in their hometowns.

“Our staff will coordinate with our partner agency – the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration – to determine the location of the workers that will be arriving soon,” Dir. Espejo said. 

“We will help them in getting alternative employment opportunities,” he added.

Residents in Central Mindanao who have love ones working in Iraq and Iran can contact the Philippine Consulate via +966 555 219 613 and +966 555 219 614. (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD 12 releases over one billion for indigent senior citizens’ pension

Filipino elders wait for their turn to receive their pensions on Tuesday in Koronadal City. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY —  The government has released over one billion for the needs of indigent senior citizens in Central Mindanao, a senior official of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported Wednesday, as he vowed to  complete the remaining unpaid pension of clients to finish in the next two months.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD 12 regional director, revelation comes as the agency released P6,000 each for the pensions of 7,450 elders  at Zone 3 village here. 

According to Dir.Espejo, the payout, amounting to P24 million, covered 12-months of financial assistance of senior citizens whose pensions were delayed last year due to cleansing of nationwide lists of beneficiaries.

“We are asking their patience and understanding. Those who have not yet received their grants, our staff will coordinate with your respective senior citizen presidents for the schedule of release,” Dir. Espejo said. 

Filipino elders wait for their turn to receive their pensions on Tuesday in Koronadal City. (DSWD Photo)

Labinia Banes, social pension program focal, said since last year, the agency already spent P 1, 062, 429, 000 billion for the pensions of 163,740 out of 222,000 registered indigent senior citizens in the region.  

Teresita Maglunob, 73, a resident of Sto. Nino village, said that the released of their assistance was timely since she needs to buy medicines for her maintenance against hypertension. 

“The money is a big help for me. I thank the government for looking after our basic needs,” she 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-12 celebrates 69 years, vows to work more to satisfy public in delivery of social services

DSWD 12 employees participate in historic two-kilometer walk as part of the agency’s 69th anniversary Monday, January 6, 2020. (Photo by Hilbert Estacion)  

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) joined other regions across the country in celebrating the 69th years of humanitarian assistance and social protection on January 6, vowing to work more to satisfy the public in the delivery of social services across the region.

The celebration, with the theme “Social Integration: Major Trust in Line with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022”, 

DSWD-12 regional director Cezario Joel Espejo delivers his speech during the kick off ceremony of DSWD’s 69th Anniversary Monday, January 6, 2020 in Koronadal City. (Photo by Hilbert Estacion) 

kicked off Monday morning with historic two-kilometer Anniversary Walk from the city’s commercial district to the agency’s regional office.

Speaking during the flag raising ceremony, DSWD-12 regional director Cezario Joel Espejo recognized exceptional employees for their service and commitment.

“We have encountered many challenges in attaining our vision of an organization of integrity armed with competent and dignified employees,” Dir. Espejo said. 

“The ultimate goal of this vision is actually customer satisfaction,” Dir. Espejo added.

In his five-month of being the agency’s top official, Dir. Espejo introduced reforms within the office, resulting in positive outcomes that were embraced by the employees. 

“Our communications and documents have improved in terms of uniformity of design, construction and formatting,” he explained. 

“We will not lose our guards in ensuring that the resources of the government go to the rightful beneficiaries,” he added.

On Jan. 30, 1951, the Social Welfare Commission and the President’s Action Committee on Social Amelioration were merged into the Social Welfare Administration (SWA) which marked the beginning of an integrated public welfare program in the country.

The SWA was later elevated into a department by virtue of Republic Act No. 5416, or the Social Welfare Act of 1968. Currently, the region’s main office is located in Purok Bumanaag, barangay Zone 3, Koronadal City in South Cotabato Province. (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD provides assistance to family of OF who was killed by employer in Kuwait

Nelly Padernal, 42, Jenealyn stepmother, holds her picture while inside their house Friday, January 3, 2020 in Tinago, Noralla, South Cotabato. (JBM / DSWD)

NORALA, SOUTH COTABATO — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided assistance to the family of an Oversea Filipino (OF) who was killed by her employer’s wife in Kuwait, the head of regional relief agency said Friday.

Jeanelyn Villavende, who hailed from Noralla, South Cotabato, was reportedly “maltreated” by her employer’s wife who is now detained by authorities. 

Villavende left her home in the village of Tinago in June last year and was already declared dead when she was brought to the hospital last month, labor officials said. The suspect is now detained in Kuwait.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said  Shalleynie Usman, the agency’s social welfare action team leader for South Cotabato, met  the victim’s stepmother, Nelly Padernal, 42, and father Avelardo, 57, at their house for assessment to find out what kind of assistance they need from the state.

Dir. Espejo said the agency initially handed over financial assistance worth P10,000 and five boxes of family food packs to Villavende’s parents. 

Shalleynie Usman, DSWD-12 social welfare action team leader for South Cotabato, hands over with the parents of Jeanelyn Villavende, the Overseas Filipino (OF) who was killed by her employer in Kuwait, financial assistance Friday in the village of Tinago, Noralla, South Cotabato. (JBM / DSWD)

“We offer our prayers and assurance of help to the bereaved families. They are facing a long road ahead but they will not travel it alone,” Dir. Espejo said. 

Villavende’s stepmother, for her part, thanked the government for the concern and financial assistance.  (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD condoles with family of OF who dies in hands of employer in Kuwait

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) condoled with the family of an Oversea Filipino (OF) who was killed by her employer’s wife in Kuwait, a senior regional government official said, as he vowed to provide assistance to the victim’s family. 

Jeanelyn Villavende, who hailed from Noralla, South Cotabato, was reportedly “maltreated” by her employer’s wife who is now detained by authorities. She left the country to work as domestic helper in June last year.

In a statement Thursday, Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, assured the family of Villavende of government assistance.

“We offer condolences to Villavende family and our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones. Her family must know that they the government exerts all efforts to assist them in times of crisis,”said Dir. Espejo. 

“We are ready to assist and provide assistance to the family. Our field worker will be going  to her hometown to assess and provide psychosocial intervention to the bereaved family,” Dir. Espejo added. ( JBM / DSWD)

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