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DSWD unites with other agencies in campaign vs malnutrition, stunting in Region 12

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, speaks during the holding of Task Force Gatas meeting Tuesday, January 20, 2020 in Koronadal City. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The head of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) urged Monday its partner agencies to unite and step up the state’s campaign against malnutrition in the region, saying the country remains with the highest prevalence and number of stunted children globally. 

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, made the appeal during first quarter meeting of Task Force Gatas (TFG),  a convergence initiative of government line agencies  in support to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to have a national feeding program to help malnourished children.

A survey from the National Nutrition Council showed in Mindanao has the highest prevalence of malnutrition and stunting with 45.2 %, meaning with around 230,000 children or at least 1 in every 2 children under five years old, are stunted. 

Stunting results in poor nutrition and repeated episodes of infection during the child’s first 1,000 days, or from the beginning of the mother’s pregnancy, when the baby is still in the womb, until two years of age. Poor health-seeking behaviors and sanitation practices also lead to malnutrition and stunting.

The care and nutrition in the first 1,000 days from pregnancy to two years of age in a child’s life is the critical foundation for life-long health and well-being of children. Missing this window of opportunity can have irreversible adverse impact to children’s physical and cognitive development.

Dir. Espejo said as part of TFG initiative include the community-based dairy production  in which would be tapped to help in the school-based feeding program. 

“We are happy with this partnership for our less fortunate and under-privilege children in the region,” Dir. Espejo said. 

Giving proof, Dir. Espejo said the agency, through its Sustainable Livelihood Program, will organize an association that will focus on Goat and Cattle production to serve as service providers of raw requirements for dairy milk production. 

“I am confident that with our strong partnership, we can make a positive difference in the lives of the children,” he said. 

Last year, the agency served 102,427 children across Central Mindanao under Supplementary Feeding Program, the provision of food to children in addition to regular meals.  Aside from the regular feeding, beneficiaries were also taught proper hand washing while their parents were trained preparing healthy meals from their backyard vegetable gardens. (JBM / DSWD)

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DSWD completes P105 million worth of school buildings for IPs in Region 12

KORONADAL CITY—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has completed at least P105 million worth of school buildings intended for Indigenous Peoples (IP) across Central Mindanao region last year, the agency head reported Friday.

The project, under DSWD’s Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), benefited around 5,500 IP children,  mostly from tribes of Blaan, T’boli, T’duray, Tagakaulo, Manobo Dulangan, Tagabanwa Manobo, Erumanen Ne Menuvu and Uvu Manobo, according to DSWD regional director Cezario Joel Espejo. 

Dir. Espejo said the funding, utilized for the construction of 32 out of 50 school building targets in the region, was made possible in partnership with the Department of Education.

“The IP sector is one of the most marginalized and disadvantaged sectors in our society. This convergence initiative has paved the way for the better quality education and service delivery to school children in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in the region,” Espejo said.

Dir. Espejo explained unlike the usual state-funded school building, villagers were given the liberty to choose the name, type and other aspects of classroom construction.

“This is a unique project because it values the tribes’ cultures, traditions and practices,” Espejo said.

Kalahi-CIDSS, originally implemented in 2002, is one of the government’s poverty-alleviation programs that uses the community-driven development approach to empower communities in targeted poor and disaster-affected municipalities. The World Bank, one of the funders, claimed the project led to improvements in basic service delivery.

In Mindanao, the government has allotted P500 million for the construction of 315 school buildings for IP areas implemented by DSWD in five regions. (Hilbert Estacion / DSWD)

NEW CLASSROOM T’boli school children of Maan village in T’boli, South Cotabato now enjoy their new school building, a far cry from their old and dilapidated makeshift room being utilized for many years.

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Nearly 12K families delisted from DSWD’s 4Ps list in Central Mindanao

CCT beneficiaries are seen during family development session in General Santos City, November 2013.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Nearly 12,000 families have been removed by the
state’s humanitarian agency from its cash transfer scheme as their well-being dramatically improved,  the agency’s senior official reported Thursday.

Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of Department of Social Welfare
and Development (DSWD), said that in the last five years at least 11,501 families were purged from the office database, citing they
waived their inclusion after their life condition changed from survival to self sufficient, meaning they need no outside help in satisfying their basic needs.

Of the total figure, 3,787 were recorded in North Cotabato; 543 in Cotabato City; 819 recorded in General Santos City; 937 in Marawi City; 1,960 in Sarangani; 2,281  in Sultan Kudarat and 1,224 in South

Other reasons, according to Dir. Espejo, they no longer have family members who are qualified, fraud issues and non-poor cases.

Last year alone, Dir. Espejo said about least 2,395 families were delisted from the roaster of registered beneficiaries.

“We are cleansing our list so that only those qualified and rightful beneficiaries can avail of the program. With the help of our field workers that those removed from the program have either steady incomes, included erroneously, or have no qualified children,” Dir. Espejo explained.

Across the region, the agency has 217,000 total households covered under 4Ps, the government’s national poverty reduction strategy also known as conditional cash transfer.

Dir. Espejo’s revelation on delisting of non-qualified beneficiaries came a month after  the agency, along with partners, signed the IRR of the 4Ps law or Republic Act (RA) 11310  where from PHP500 worth of health grant per month, the program will now provide PHP750 assistance
per month.

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. A health and nutrition grant of not lower than P750 per month for a maximum of 12 months will also be given to the beneficiaries.

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 areas, including places without electricity,  for a maximum period of seven years in the
program. (JBM / DSWD)

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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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