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DSWD exec orders employees to refrain from posting nCov fake news

A DSWD worker wears mask while inside their office in Koronadal City. (DDSWD Photo)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — As the coronavirus outbreak in China continues to spread, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Mindanao stepped in, directing its workforce across the region to help mitigate the spread of the virus by refraining from sharing fake news related to the deadly disease that already claimed the lives of more than 600 people. 

In a statement Friday, Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, cited a recent memorandum from Secretary  Rolando Joselito Bautista who asked regional officials and employees to cease from sharing in their personal social media accounts unverified news and information related to coronavirus that may confuse the public.

“To date, there are no specific anti-viral  treatment nor vaccine to prevent the 2019-nCov infarction. Therefore, it is through awareness and cooperation of the public that the spread of the virus can be mitigated,” Dir. Espejo said, quoting the Secretary’s directive released on February 5. 

“As public servants, the practice and promotion of basic preventive measure is a must. Everyone is reminded to seek medical attention when flu-like symptoms are observed,” he added. 

currently, there are least 636 deaths recorded due to corona virus infection that originated in China’s Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak, with one confirmed death in the country.

According to Dir. Espejo, field personnel were directed to use as a platform their family development sessions with beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to disseminate information about nCov.

“Frontline personnel are required ti take precaution by wearing protective equipment such as masks, frequent washing off hands and use of alcohol-based sanitizers,” Dir. Espejo said.  (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD 12 reiterates implementation of No Gift Policy

An employee shows a sticker with No Gift Policy marking at the entrance of DSWD Regional Director Office in Koronadal City. (JBM / DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reiterates its  implementation of “No Gift Policy” among its employees in the region as part of promoting high standard of ethics and integrity as public servants.

This was announced by DSWD 12 Regional Director Cezario Joel Espejo, as he vowed for transparency in all transactions covered by the agency. 

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said stickers with markings “No Gift Policy” were posted in all doors and strategic areas within the regional office, citing accepting gifts as rewards could lead to more abuse of power and corruption.

Dir. Espejo said the policy will remind workers under Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, which prohibits civil servants from soliciting or accepting gifts, favors, loans or anything of monetary value in the course of official duties.

Moreover, the agency chief cited the Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, that prohibits public officers from “directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between the government and any other party.”

“I issued a directive to all employees to strictly observe the policy,” Dir. Espejo said, as he urged the public to report any employee violating the directive. (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD sets activities for Adoption Consciousness Week

Mrs. Cynthia Mae F. Pingoy (L) and her husband Francis are seen wit their adopted daughter inside their house in General Santos City. (Photo by Inas Codarangan / DSWD)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in collaboration with other agencies, is celebrating this year’s “Adoption Consciousness Week” from February 24 to Feb. 27.

This year’s theme, “Pagmamahal Palaganapin, Legal na Pag-aampon Ating Gawin! (Spread Unconditional Love through Legal Adoption),” seeks to promote legal adoption as an expression of unconditional love and support to abandoned, neglected, and surrendered children.

According to Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, in Central Mindanao this year’s celebration will kick off with a  walk for legal adoption on February 24, at 7:00 a.m., from Koronadal city’s commercial district going to the regional office, where selected college students will interpret “I Love you Anak”, a song that was recorded by international singer Lea Salonga in support for DSWD’s Inter-Country Adoption Board Adoption Advocacy Campaign.

A help desk will be also set up at SM  shopping here and at Pinggoy Medical Center in Koronadal City to cater the queries of couples inclined to adopt and foster care. 

Other activities include adoption forum, spoken poetry among regional employees and media forum to discuss issues related on the implementation of Republic Act No. 11222 or the “Simulated Birth Rectification Act,” warnings on the birth simulation and social media pages facilitating illegal adoption, and information on pending laws related to legal adoption.

”This year, we  encourage families to undergo legal adoption in order to protect the welfare of adopted children.  The legal adoption process will also ensure the safety, security, and best interest of the adoptive children,” Dir. Espejo said.

To date, around 17 children at the agency’s facility are up for adoption with half of them matched to prospective adoptive applicants. ( JBM / DSWD)

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Government gaining ground on localize peace talks in North Cotabato town

A soldier speaks with members of Bahani, a local armed group, during a meeting in Arakan town in North Cotabato. (Photo by DSWD)

ARAKAN, North Cotabato —  The government is gaining headway in its localized campaign against insurgencies in Central Mindanao Region, a senior government official said Monday, as sectors involved in the crackdown continuously working to end the cycle of armed rebellion. 

Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), said the 429 guerrillas under Bahani forces, a group of traditional warriors in this town formed to protect their ancestral domain, have surrendered to authorities under the state’s local peace talks. 

In partnership with the military and local officials, the intervention, according to Dir. Espejo, was part of Executive Order 70, which President R. Duterte signed in December 2018, creating the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict that institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in obtaining exclusive and sustainable peace.

On February 1, Espejo said the rebel-returnees, 80 of them from the village of Ladayon, have started community work under  Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation– Disaster Risk Reduction, a program implemented by the DSWD through Cash-for-Work that aims to to strengthen efforts to combat possible disaster risks within their communities. 

During their short term work, the returnees will work on community service — including gardening, rehabilitation of roads, day care centers, and schools to mitigate the economic effects of climate change crisis.

“Our government sees the needs of these people and to prevent them from being exploited, we are providing them jobs and  capacitating them,” Dir. Espejo said.

At the end of their ten-day community service, the returnees will be given P2,900 each by the DSWD. (JBM /  DSWD)

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Starting from scratch, couple now runs a one-million worth motor parts shop in South Cotabato

Salvacion Pingoy, 43, stands outside their shop in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. (Photo by JBM / DSWD)

LAKE SEBU — On the day Richard Pingoy was driving his motorbike taxi he rented from their neighbor in this town more than a decade ago, his wife recalled how they were struggling to cope with their daily needs to survive.

But Pingoy, 43, who only finished grade school and was earning enough only to cover their daily food allowance, did not give up his dream to have their own motor parts shop at the heart of the town, where motorcycles in their town are considered king of the road.

His wife, Salvacion, 43, said they were living in small typical wooden-made house but she had no doubt before their life will change. And starting from scratch, Salvacion revealed they focused on selling fish for years in their community using a small capital they save from her husband’s part time job income.

The family sacrificed a lot – specially luxury in life at the height their small time business was growing – as they sensed something great is coming along their way.

“We did that for eleven years. The money we put in on our fish business accumulated. We also used the excess of grants from the government assistance,” said Salvacion in a local dialect while looking after their store at the town proper. 

Now, the couple, after more than 12 years, found themselves at the town proper, running their own business – just the way they a motor parts shop.

 “I put into practice what I learned from our family development sessions…like how you will give importance to your family…handling small business…and ensuring our children in school,” she added.

“My source of inspiration was our status in life. We don’t want to die being poor. We did not stop believing that we can make it,” she explained.   

The family’s children, Resyl Feby Zhyn, 15, and Rcyl  Yrich Shyn, 11, have been included in the government conditional cash transfer since 2009. 

“It helps a lot to us since education fees in public schools before are not free,” she said, referring to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program  where the family was among the thousands of households covered by scheme.

“We have tested our government is working. Although it’s just a small money from the monthly grants, it helps a lot,” she said.    

Last month, the Department of Social Welfare and Development(DSWD), along with partners, signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the 4Ps law or Republic Act (RA) 11310  where from P500 worth of health grant per month, the program will now provide P750 assistance per month.

The Pingoy was among the thousands of households covered by the anti-poverty drive where on education grant, clients will get P300 per month for each elementary student and daycare, P500 per month for each junior high school student and P700 for those in senior high school.

In April last year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the 4Ps  law that will ensure qualified poor households like  the farmers, fishermen, homeless families, indigenous peoples, those from the informal sector, and those living in isolated and disadvantaged area. 

However, with their life dramatically change, Salvacion said they are willing to waive or give up their slot in the government program so others, who are still under survival wellbeing, can avail of the government’s intervention. (JBM / DSWD)

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T’boli farmers receive farm cattles

T’boli farmer-b eneficiaries received their cattles as part of Department of Social Welfare and Development animal-dispersal program in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. (Photo by JBM)

LAKE SEBU — As dawn breaks in a small uphill village in this town mainly dominated by native people, Rudy Sulan was excited – preparing early from his house to get at the venue where the state will release livelihood assistance as part of the  government’s punch to curve poverty. 

“I need to be early at the area. This is my first time to avail of the government’s program. I will take care and work to breed our cattle,” Sulan, 53, who owns a small land where he grows Banana, Bamboo and Abaca trees, said in local dialect. 

A former village councilor in Klubi, Sulan thanked the government for looking into their needs, an intervention he described important for people like them in far-flung community.

Another recipient, Dindo Kayugan, 49, shared the same view with Sulan, describing the government support answered prayer since he has been praying for a farm animal that he will use for their farm.

The two elders were among the 27 qualified farmer-beneficiaries who received their cattles Thursday as part of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) animal-dispersal program under Kalahi-CIDSS, a program for Indigenous Peoples funded by Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. 

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, explained the program specifically aims to improve the socio- economic condition of residents in isolated, hard-to-reach and conflict-affected communities in the region.

“The good thing with the program is we do not dictate the villagers on the kind of project they should propose for government to fund. We let them decide and think what project they urgently need in their community,” Dir. Espejo said.  

At the same time, the agency chief noted the intervention was designed to support  strengthen the implementation of Executive Order No. 70 signed by President Duterte on December 2018. 

Under EO 70, President Duterte directed all local officials and government line agencies to adopt the national peace framework and institutionalizing the whole-of-nation approach in attaining “inclusive and sustainable peace” in the country as part of approach in “addressing the root causes” of the armed conflict.

Earlier this week, DSWD assistant regional director for operations Bonifacio Selma, Kalahi-CIDSS Pamana deputy program manager John Kevin Camarinas, and Kalahi-CIDSS regional infrastructure specialist Engr. Rolly Teofilo facilitated the distribution of 8 carabaos and 10 cattles to beneficiaries of Barangay Palao and Kiloyao in Libungan, North Cotabato.  

Across the region, the PAMANA project covers 11 areas with certificate of ancestral domain title including Kitaotao in Bukidnon; Carmen, Arakan, Libungan, Aleosan, Alamada, Midsayap, Pikit in North Cotabato; Malungon and Malapatan in Sarangani, and T’boli, Lake Sebu, Norala and Tantangan in South Cotabato. (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD, other government line agencies, form team to handle needs of arriving OFs from Middle East

DSWD meets representatives from partner agencies and formed a team that will look into the needs of Overseas Filipinos who are expected to arrive in the country from Middle East. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY —Government line agencies in the region formed a repatriation team that will look into the needs of Overseas Filipinos (OFs) who are expected to arrive in the country anytime following the mandatory repatriation directive of President Rodrigo Duterte amid the tension in the Middle East between United States and Iranian forces.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said they met Wednesday in this city their counterparts from the Department of Trade and Industry, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration  and  Technical Education and Skills Development Authority including local government representatives. The team agreed to complement the delivery of services for affected OFs. 

According to Dir. Espejo, the composite team will specifically extend assistance and other services to affected workers, including free calls from telecommunication firms when OFs arrives at the airport.

“As government workers, this is what we signed for. And we need them to feel the government is working, assisting and providing them services,” he said.

Nairah Aratuc, chief of social protective program, said initial information from OWWA around 14 OFs are expected to return home soon amid the tension in the Middle East after Iranian forces recently fired missiles at U.S. troops in Iraqi territory to retaliate for an airstrike that killed a top general.

Aratuc said the agency will provide educational and financial assistance under 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.

An estimated 2.17 million documented Filipinos are working across the Middle East, many of them employed as laborers or domestic helpers. (JBM/ DSWD)

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Boxes of food packs sent by DSWD-12 to Taal evacuees

Volunteers load into a truck boxes of family food packs intended for evacuees affected by Taal Volcano’s eruption. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Mindanao pitched in to help lessen the effects of Taal Volcano’s eruption by sending relief supplies Tuesday for families in Batangas province.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said the agency will be sending within the day around 3,400 boxes of family food packs for thousands of affected families that fled from ash-blanketed villages and crammed into hundreds of emergency centers in Batangas.

According to Dir. Espejo, once the loading of the food items into two trucks is done at the warehouse in nearby Tantangan town, it will go straight to San Fernando Airbase located in Lipa City in Batangas for the delivery to the counterparts.  

“Despite the fact that we are experiencing tough times, we are in a time where we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share,” Dir. Espejo said. 

“With the unimaginable traces of  destruction, we are standing with the people of Batangas and those who were affected by the eruption,” he added.

Since the eruption last week, the 311-meter Taal Volcano, one of the world’s smallest but the second-most restive of about two dozen active Philippine volcanoes, has remained at alert level 4, meaning a hazardous explosive eruption may happen within hours or days. (JBM / DSWD)

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