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DSWD prohibits splitting of SAP financial assistance to cover more households in Region 12

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will not give in to recommendations of some local government officials to split into two the emergency assistance of each households under Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to cover more recipients affected by the central government’s enhanced community quarantine in the region.

This was announced by Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, who said that the P5,000 SAP financial assistance should be received by qualified family beneficiaries in full.

He pointed out that no one is also allowed to put the financial assistance in an envelope with their names on it based on the Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of Emergency Subsidy Program of DSWD, an intervention based on the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469) signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 25.

Across the region, at least 953, 853 households, including 246,000 in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), were targeted as recipients for the program. The 4Ps beneficiaries, who have cash cards, have already received their grants earlier this week – P750 for health subsidy, P600 rice allowance as part of the 4Ps grants and additional P3,650 to complete the P5,000 assistance under the SAP of government.

“There are sanctions if we deviate from the guidelines. The agency strictly adheres to what’s in the law concerning SAP implementation procedures,” Dir. Espejo said.

Meanwhile, Dir. Espejo reported the agency has started processing the documents and other necessary requirements submitted by the LGUs.

With tight monitoring from the DSWD regional office, the LGUs will distribute and collect social amelioration cards (SACs) that identify head of households as qualified recipients.

“We are looking forward in the next few days for some LGUs who will start the distribution of SAP to their constituents,” he added.

Citing the guidelines, Bonifacio Selma, DSWD-12 assistant regional director, stated that the SAP covers those belonging to the informal economy sector such as directly hired or occasional workers, subcontracted workers, homeworkers, househelpers, drivers of PUJs, UVs, PUBs, Taxi, Pedicabs, tricycles, micro-entrepreneurs, family enterprise owners, stranded workers, employees affected by “no work, no pay policy”, farmers, fisherfolks, farm workers, and Sub Minimum wage earners.

At the same time, other qualified recipients are the most affected and poorest of the poor. These are the senior citizens, PWDs, pregnant women, solo parents, overseas Filipino in distress, indigenous peoples, hAomeless citizen, farmers, fishermen, and self-employed. (JBM / DSWD)

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Top DSWD official urges 4Ps beneficiaries to strictly observe social distancing while withdrawing their grants in any ATM

A DSWD staff speaks to partner beneficiaries during a village assembly in Pikit, North Cotabato. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development appealed Thursday to thousands of residents covered by the state’s conditional cash transfer to strictly observe social distancing once they withdraw their grants in bank’s automated teller machines next week amid the current crisis brought about by Covid-19.

Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), made the appeal as more than 200,000 households with cash cards under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will start withdrawing their grants in any Land Bank of the Philippines ATM on March 24, 26, 28, and April 4.

“We are calling our partner beneficiaries  to follow instructions authorities and bank officers instructions. By putting in place social distancing measures, the growth of virus can be slowed down dramatically, and thousands of lives can be spared,” Dir. Espejo said. 

Earlier this week, the agency temporarily halted all on-site payouts of thirteen major programs, including the 4Ps across the region hours after President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire  country under State of Public Health and Emergency due to increasing number of people infected by Covid-19 virus. 

However, clients in need of medical and burial assistance can still avail assistance under the 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.  (JBM / DSWD) 

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Region 12 4Ps beneficiaries will still receive grants amid coronavirus crisis

In this file photo shows beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program attend family development session in the town of T’boli, South Cotabato. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clarified Wednesday despite the month-long suspension of Its program activities that require mass gathering of people, residents covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the region will continue to receive their grants and rice subsidy allowance amid the current crisis brought about by Covid-19.

The clarification, made by DSWD regional director Cezario Joel Espejo, comes after the agency temporarily halted all on-site payouts of thirteen major programs, including the 4Ps that has 226, 433 beneficiaries across the region. 

Dir. Espejo explained while Metro Manila- where the DSWD Central Office is located, is on total lockdown, beneficiaries  grants will be downloaded anytime and they can withdraw it from their cash cards in any Land Bank of the Philippines Automated Teller Machines  between March 24, 26, 28, and April 4.

“For those who have no cash cards, rest assured we are looking for other ways on how to distribute your money,” Dir. Espejo said.

The agency also waived the program conditions for the month of February and March as the country still trying to contain the effects of deadly  virus that originated in China, meaning there will be no deductions and beneficiaries will get full grants.

Aside from 4Ps, the DSWD said clients in need of medical and burial assistance can still avail under the 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.  (JBM / DSWD) 

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DSWD-12 to implement work from home, skeletal workforce, staggered working hours modes amid coronavirus crisis

In this picture shows DSWD field workers distribute assistance for decommissioned former Moro rebels in Maguindanao. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced Monday to implement flexible working modes for its workforce, suspending its activities for a month as the nation tries to contain the spread of Covid-19 that has claimed the lives of 13 people and infected more than a hundred across the country. 

The latest directive, embodied in eight-page guidelines for the  prevention, control and mitigation of coronavirus virus spread signed and released by Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista effective March 15 until April 14, 2020, comes days after President Rodrigo Duterte imposed an emergency lockdown in the National Capital Region and A State of Public Health Emergency declaration throughout t the Philippines. 

“Cluster heads and Regional Directors will issue Special Order authorizing staff to work from home for all its employees but they have to submit their accomplishment reports to support the payment of their salaries,” a part of the guidelines read.

“All trainings, workshops, seminars, conferences, meetings, fora, ravels and any similar conduct that will involve mass gatherings shall be suspended. The Field Offices shall reschedule those actives upon the cessation of Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19-19,” the DSWD guidelines further  read.

Worldwide, more than 140,000 cases have been confirmed, including 140 in the Philippines and around 5,000 people have died of the disease in nearly 90 countries, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO).

In statement, Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, however, defended despite its work from home, skeletal workforce and staggered working hours, provision of assistance to individuals in crisis situation (AICS) will continue. 

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. 

“Senior citizen who will avail the program may be given assistance and may opt to send his/her healthy relative to claim assistance on his/her behalf at DSWD offices,” Dir. Espejo said.

“Cash assistance for fire victims and guarantee letters will continue but it should be held in evacuation centers,” he added.

At the same time, Dir. Espejo revealed the agency’s food and no-food items distribution will continue while the centers and residential care facilities will still accept visitors and family members provided its within the agency’s guidelines.  

“In our centers, social distancing must be observed. Our partners from the military and police  will deliver the food and non-food items to our local officials who will be in-charge of the distribution to clients,” he explained.

“On deployment of staff, our field social workers involved in payouts shall be provided with  personal protective equipment and they shall observe the proper camp management protocol,” Dir. Espejo stressed. (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD-12 impose protective measures over Covid-19 crisis

An employee walks Friday, March 13, 2020, inside DSWD-12 office in Koronadal City, South Cotabato. (DSWD)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has imposed Friday strict measures among its employees across the region in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly new coronavirus.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, made the announcement following a directive on Thursday from Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, who banned personal and official foreign travels among field workers until further notice.

“One who feels sick with COVID-19 like symptoms or has been exposed to persons infected with Covid-19 must immediately inform his/her superior, voluntarily seek immediate medical attention or go on self-quarantine,” said Dir. Espejo, citing a part of directive from the  Secretary. 

“It is important that we have to take necessary steps to prevent further transmission and reduce the impact of the outbreak,” he added.

At the same time, the agency will monitor the temperature of employees and its clients using digital infrared thermometer upon their entry at the office compound.

The developments from the agency came as the country recorded three more death from the virus, bringing to five the total fatalities  while the number of confirmed cases has shot to 52. 

”We are coordinating with our partner agencies, including the health department, to help together in our drive to prevent the virus from spreading in our respective areas,” Dir. Espejo said. (JBM / DSWD)   

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On 69th founding anniversary, DSWD-12 reiterates commitment serving the people

Colorful costumed workers of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 12 march on the streets of Koronadal city’s commercial district as the agency celebrates its 69th Founding Anniversary Monday, March 9, 2020. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) celebrated Monday 69th years in the frontline of humanitarian assistance and social protection, reiterating its commitment to serve the welfare of vulnerable groups of people in the region.

Colorful costumed workers marched on the streets of the city’s commercial district as they commenced the three-day activity featuring “Palarong Pinoy” held at the agency’s covered court. 

Speaking during the weekly flag raising ceremony, regional director Cezario Joel Espejo emphasized with co-workers to strengthen unity in diversity, strong camaraderie, and resiliency in this year’ celebration with the theme “Social Integration: Major Trust in Line with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022”. 

“We stand united after 69 years. One in spirit, one in our commitment to serve the welfare of those who have less access, less opportunities, less in life,” Dir. Espejo said.

“Our strength relies not just on numbers but on the depth our brotherhood to achieve what we envision of our department 69 years from now. No wonder the journey brought us to where we are now, never fearing change and improvement until we achieve the respect that this agency deserves being the heart of the national government,” he explained.

Despite some challenges the agency facing in implementing its social protection programs on the ground, Dir. Espejo, who assumed the directorship in August last year, assured the public it will not abandon its commitment to look after the needs of people.

“To be resilient is to be persistent. We remain strong and faithful to our causes,” the agency chief stressed.

Being the lead agency in social protection, the Department has developed and implemented various initiatives that are innovative and responsive to the emerging needs of the various sectors of society to achieve its goal for all Filipinos to have greater socioeconomic resiliency as envisioned by the Philippine Development Plan.


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DSWD assures relief assistance for residents displaced anew by conflict in Maguindanao

In this file photo take January 2017 shows residents displaced by conflict in Maguindanao. (Photo by DSWD)

KORONADAL CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured Tuesday emergency relief assistance for families affected anew by the military operation against armed groups in Maguindanao. 

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said social workers are currently on the ground conducting validation to locate the whereabouts of reported 250 families or 1,990 persons displaced by the firefight that also left four armed men dead in the towns of Datu Hoffer and Ampatuan in Maguindanao.

“We are closely working with local officials to provide relief assistance for these people,” Dir. Espejo said. 

Home to more than 20 million people, Mindanao is the heart of the country’s long-running Muslim insurgency that left thousands of people dead and displaced. (JBM/ DSWD)

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DSWD releases P137.6 million for grants of 2nd phase of MILF combatants decommissioning

DSWD workers releases the financial assistance of decommissioned former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released P137.6 million in financial assistance to cover the grants of  more than a thousand decommissioned former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Maguindanao, the head of the agency reported Friday.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said the money was used for the payout of Bangsamoro Transitory Family Support Package BTFSP 100k each  for the 1,376 MILF Decommissioned Combatants.

According to Dir. Espejo,  the figures of combatants provided with government assistance since February 21 were part of the 12,000 combatants to be decommissioned this year. The rest will be done between 2021-2022.

“This is just one of the promises of our government for the people of Mindanao. It only shows government will never forsake them,” Dir. Espejo said, citing the participation of partners from the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the Independent Decommissioning Body created by the by the Philippine government and MILF to oversee the process of decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons.

The aid packages form part of the Socio-Economic Program component provided for under Executive Order (EO) No. 79  signed on March 2019 which focuses on the Normalization Track of Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, the final peace agreement signed  between the government and MILF.   

The EO 79 aims to reintegrate decommissioned MILF combatants to mainstream society through provision of livelihood and other appropriate programs and services. 

Norhata Benito, Normalization Program head, said each of the decommissioned fighters received P80,000 under BTFS and P20,000 cash for the LSG.

The BTFSP is composed of food subsidy and family, hygiene, kitchen, sleeping, and shelter kits while LSG may be used as seed capital to start micro-enterprises or to purchase starter kits for the re-establishment of damaged livelihood.

In September last year, President Rodrigo Duterte and his cabinet secretaries, including DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, witnessed the first phase of decommissioning involving 1,190 ex-combatants in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao. (JBM / DSWD)

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