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DSWD readies to host, provides aid to OFs that will be repatriated from Middle East

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is ready to provide support to 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 after Iranian forces fired missiles at U.S. troops in Iraqi territory to retaliate for an airstrike that killed a top general.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said the agency prepared its Home for Girls and Women facility located in Tantangan town in South Cotabato where arriving OFs from Iraq and Iran will be profiled, given necessary assistance, including psychosocial interventions.

Nairah Aratuc, chief of social protective program, will have a coordination meeting with local officials and partner agencies from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and Department of Trade and Industry, to discuss other interventions for OFs on Monday.

Dir. Espejo the office will provide 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.

“We have set aside funds OFs financial assistance. We will make them feel that their taxes being used in the right purpose,” Dir. Espejo said

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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DSWD tightens application for minors traveling abroad

DSWD workers assist a client seeking clearance for a minor traveling abroad. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) vowed to tighten its travel clearance process for minors traveling abroad (MTA) to prevent cases of trafficking and exploitation.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD regional director,  made the pronouncement as the state’s humanitarian agency reached around 992 approved clearance last year as part of effort in ensuring children are protected from abuse and trafficking.

According to Espejo, the agency’s travel clearances for children is specified under the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and the Philippine Passport Act of 1996. The campaign will also ease doing business in releasing the MTA.

“There are a lot of short study grants as well out-of-the-country competitions from schools so we need to safeguard the rights of our children,” Dir. Espejo said.

Nairah Aratuc, chief of social protective program, cited the requirements for securing clearance include  application form that can be secured from any DSWD regional office. The requirements include: Photocopy of the child’s Birth Certificate or Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA)-issued Birth Certificate; notarized affidavit of consent of both parents or the solo parent or any legal guardian indicating the authorized traveling companion of the minor and his/her relationship to the minor, country of destination, length of stay, purpose of travel, and tentative dates of departure and arrival.

Moreover, Aratuc said the agency will ask for a PSA-issued marriage certificate of the minor’s parents or a photocopy of the certificate of legal guardianship of the minor or in the case of solo parents, a PSA-issued Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) and a photocopy of the solo parent identification card from the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office or a photocopy of a certification from the Local Social Welfare and Development Office of being a solo parent or Tallaq or Faskh certification from the Shariah court or any Muslim religious leader. 

In case of an illegitimate minor, however, the applicants will provide a CENOMAR from the PSA or in the case of a deceased parent, a photocopy of the death certificate, according to Aratuc. ( JBM / DSWD)

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More IP farmers in South Cotabato benefit from DSWD’s animal-dispersal program

NEW YEAR’S GIFT Farmer-beneficiaries of DSWD animal dispersal project in T’konel village, Lake Sebu

LAKE SEBU, South Cotabato – The state’s humanitarian agency recently provided livelihood assistance to dozens of marginalized farmers in this town as part of the government’s punch to curve poverty.

Cezario Joel Espejo, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional director, said Thursday 27 cattle and 47 carabaos worth P3 million were distributed to qualified 74 farmer-beneficiaries in the villages of Klubi, Lamdalag, and T’konel to boost their economic capability.

“Our intervention is vital for these indigenous cultural communities since the carabaos and cows are considered as backbone of their livelihood,” Espejo said.

The program, implemented under Kalahi-CIDSS Program for Indigenous Peoples funded through Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, aims to improve the socio- economic condition of residents in isolated, hard-to-reach and conflict-affected communities in the region.

“They can raise these farm animals to expand  their own consumption, or to sell in the market,” Dir. Espejo said as he urged the beneficiaries to take good care of the animals as well comply with the program necessary requirements.

Aside from the animal dispersal drive, about 18 community projects worth P19.8 million were poured in the town last year. These include tribal houses, day care centers and agriculture service support projects to strengthen the delivery of basic services in the countryside.

Across the region, the Pamana for IP-CDD 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. (Hilbert T. Estacion / DSWD) 

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DSWD voices concern over plight of residents in earthquake-hit areas of Mindanao

Photo shows the grocery store that collapsed in Padada town following the 6.9 magnitude earthquake on Sunday.

The quake’s epicenter was traced near Matanao in the populated province of Davao del Sur, an adjacent town of Padada, which bore the brunt of the quake.

Citing the agency is concerned about the condition of women and children, Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said they mobilized social workers in North Cotabato and Sarangani provinces to monitor the damages as people affected by the destructive earthquake.

“We have enough available non-food and food items ready to be delivered to affected areas at any given time,” Dir. Espejo said, adding they are closely monitoring the situation ion the ground.

Jackie Lao, chief of Disaster Response Management Division, said the agency is coordinating closely with local officials in quake-hit areas for possible augmentation of resources.

She said has a total 10,004 Family Food Packs and Non-Food Items amounting to P18, 294,045.41 in its warehouse in Amas, Kidapawan City.

Since October, Sunday’s earthquake was the third to hit Mindanao. Two quakes measuring 6.6 and 6.5 struck the town of Tulunan within days of each other, leaving thousands of families displaced,

The Philippines sits on the so-called Pacific Rim of Fire, where earthquakes are frequent, some of which are devastating. In July 1990, a 7.7-magnitude temblor stuck the main Luzon island, killing more than 1,600 people, many of them trapped inside a hotel that crumbled in the northern town of Baguio. (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD inaugurates P3.35-M tribal hall in North Cotabato

LANDMARK PROJECT The newly-completed tribal hall in Barangay Sadaan, Midsayap North Cotabato that will serve as a center for cultural promotion and preservation for Indigenous Peoples.

DSWD inaugurates P3.35-M tribal hall in North Cotabato

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) inaugurated here a two-storey tribal hall as part of government’s efforts to promote and preserve Indigenous Peoples rich culture and traditions  in the region.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD regional director, said the P3.35 million worth project was implemented through the agency’s Kalahi-CIDSS Program for Indigenous Peoples funded by Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA), another government program under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process that extends development interventions to isolated, hard-to-reach and conflict-affected communities.

Dir. Espejo described the newly-completed tribal hall as one of the biggest projects  that will benefit the Erumanen Ne Menuvu tribe.

“This is will serve as center for education, policies and activities to advance the welfare and services for Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Cultural Communities,” Espejo added.

Earlier, the government has allotted some P43 million for 30 community projects for Indigenous Peoples communities in the region.

In Region 12, the DSWD has widened its coverage for the program, now working on nine areas with Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title. These include 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. (Hilbert T. Estacion/DSWD)

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DSWD honors community heroes in Central Mindanao

DSWD honors community heroes in Central Mindanao KORONADAL CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) honored over the weekend at least 70 individuals as this year’s BayanI Ka! Awards, known as the agency’s local version of Nobel prize for volunteers in the development sector. The Barangay Sub-project Management Committee of Kaltuad in Glan Sarangani Province was also recognized for their Best Improved Local Governance Category while the Keytodac Water System Association from Lebak, Sultan Kudarat was proclaimed as winner for Best Sustained Community Group. At the same time, the others who received the recognition for the group category include Blanga Water System Association of Barangay Nalilidan, Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat for Best Community Volunteer for Indigenous People’s Welfare Category, the Dawing-Kandang Claimants Organization from Barangay Bai Saripinang, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat for Promotion of Just Peace Category and Masisipag na Kababaihan ng Purok Rang-ay Association of Barangay Palumbe, Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat for Gender and Development Category. The awards, held at Paraiso Verde Resort and Hotel in this city, aimed to recognize the exemplary efforts of community volunteers along with their local government unit (LGU) partners in anti-poverty drive in their respective communities. Cezario Joel C. Espejo, DSWD regional director, said the event was part of the initiative of one of the agency’s flagship programs, the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-A Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS). “This is our concrete expression of conveying our gratitude to our local partners, especially to our community volunteers whom we considered as the lifeblood of the program,” Dir. Espejo said. The awards, according to Dir. Espejo, not only the completion of volunteers identified sub-projects, but in actively supporting citizen participation in local governance and poverty alleviation initiatives. Dir. Espejo said all the winners received P10, 000.00 each and a trophy. “As awardees, these community volunteers are addition to our pool of community-driven development advocates in their respective communities as we advocate Kalahi-CIDSS to be a regular program of DSWD,” Espejo said. In the same event, the agency also recognized the winners of Kalahi-CIDSS Video Contest for LGUs in which the Municipality of Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat took home the grand prize amounting to P50, 000.00. On the other hand, the Municipality of Bagumbayan and Lebak, Sultan Kudarat got the second and third place, respectively, receiving P35, 000.00 and 20, 000.00 each. Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the programs of the government implemented by the DSWD where targeted poor municipalities and selected urban areas identify their own needs, collectively implement and manage their solutions. (Hilbert Estacion / DSWD)

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Health centers constructed under DSWD program completed in Region 12

NEWLY TURNED OVER The community health center of Malisbong, Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, one of the 82 completed projects in Region 12 constructed under DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS Program

PALIMBANG, SULTAN KUDARAT – Nearly a hundred health center projects were completed under a World Bank-funded project in the region as the central government stepped up social protection programs across the countryside, a government official disclosed Thursday.   

Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), said that five of the total 82 health centers worth P108.67 million built by community volunteers, were finished in the last eight months through Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-A Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Service (Kalahi-CIDSS), a scheme implemented by the agency that helps build capacity of communities to implemented their own selected projects.

Assisted by the global financing institution World Bank, the program used community-driven development approach, which enables the recipients in targeted poor and disaster-affected municipalities to identify their own needs, collectively implement and manage solutions to these needs. 

“These projects will help address the gap of health services, especially in the hardest to reach communities,” Espejo said in the recent turnover of health center in the village of Malisbong, adding around 42 thousand households have already benefited the program since 2014.

“We urge the residents to utilize and avail health services in response to the call of government to have their children vaccinated with the recent re-emergence of polio,” he added.

Kalahi-CIDSS, before it was scaled up as country’s national strategy for poverty-reduction in 2014, was chosen as one of the awardees of United States Treasury’s second annual Development Impact Honors Awards, beating over 40 other global development programs.

In Region 12, the program covers the towns of Alamada, Aleosan Bagumbayan, Banisilan, Pikit, and Carmen, in North Cotabato; Isulan, Kalamansig, Lambayong, Lebak, Lutayan, Palimbang, and Sen. Ninoy Aquino in Sultan Kudarat; and Maasim, Maitum, Glan, and Kiamba, in Sarangani. (DSWD-12 / Hilbert T. Estacion) 

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DSWD cites local officials all-out support for social protection programs in Central Mindanao

Koronadal City—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Mindanao emphasized Thursday local government officials significant role as the state strengthened social protection programs to address the needs of the people in the region.

Speaking at the orientation of local government units (LGUs) and signing of memorandum of agreement for SIA at the Farm in this city, Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said the agency continues to pursue stronger ties with partners, citing they are the foremost organization of the beneficiaries.

Specifically, Dir. Espejo sought the support of LGUs not only for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program but for other programs like Kalahi-CIDSS, Sustainable Livelihood Program, Supplementary Feeding, Social Pension, and Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation.

“We recognize the important role of LGUs as we continue to work in a variety of settings and work towards multidimensional collaborative change to bring our services closer to the people,” Espejo said.

The DSWD convened here local chief executives and other officials across the region, renewing partnership by signing a memorandum of agreement under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

“The support of the mayors plays a vital role in our effort to continue working together using our resources and initiatives to uplift the quality of lives of our people,” Espejo explained.

Under the agreement, the LGUs shall ensure that health and education services are readily available for beneficiaries of the program, also known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. (DSWD-12)

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