Barangay volunteers commit to a more inclusive and gender-sensitive Kalahi-CIDSS processes

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte-“Akong iprisintar ang akong nahibaloan sa pagseminar sa BGAD (Barangay Gender and Development); ako’ ning katungdanan komo usa ka lider sa pamilya ug sa barangay. (I believe that I have the responsibility to share what I learned from this BGAD seminar to my family and community.”)

This was how a participant committed himself to utilizing the skills and knowledge he got, after attending the recently concluded Roll-out Training for BGAD Focal Persons, at the Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban City.

The Regional Program Management Office of the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan–Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) Field Office VIII organized the training to build and enhance the competencies of BGAD volunteers in facilitating gender mainstreaming in Kalahi-CIDSS and develop them into becoming GAD Champions.

“Women and gender issues are development issues. To truly empower communities, Kalahi-CIDSS should always push for the inclusion of everyone in all activities and ensure that policies, structures and processes empower both men, women and the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community”, Roger Cabiles, the Kalahi-CIDSS Regional Capability Building Specialist said. He cited the potential of the said program not just to reduce poverty and improve local governance, but more importantly, its capacity to ’empower the people’.

Cabiles also challenged the participants to live up to the expectations of being a Gender and Development Volunteer. “You play a very important role in your community. What you have learned here, you have to share it to more people, you have to share it to your leaders, you have to lead your community in pushing for gender equality and the inclusion of everyone in the development process. You have to level up, it is not enough that you are GAD volunteers or focal persons. In time, you all have to be GAD Champions”, he told the volunteers.

“Our most significant learning and realization were on how men and women differs, the issue on gender-based discrimination, the role of women on leadership, gender division of labor, and the the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Law. These insights can be used to encourage fellow women to be more cooperative, and show up what they got, either at the personal level, family life, or community level”, said Myla Narca, one of the participants from Alang-alang, Leyte.

All participants pledged to talk to their leaders to incorporate gender-sensitive policies in implementing projects as well as conceptualize projects that respond to the needs of different genders. They were also asked to create their own personal and community action plan on Gender and Development at the end of the training. This activity helped them visualize and plan their action once they get back to their own families and communities.

Around 500 Barangay officials and BGAD Focal Persons attended the three-day Roll-out Training for Barangay volunteers and Municipal Local Government Unit Staff on Gender Mainstreaming of Kalahi-CIDSS Random Municipalities in Samar and Leyte which is funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). These areas are Lope de Vega, Lavezares, Catarman, Hindang, Matag-ob, Babatngon, Pastrana, Tanauan, Barugo, Burauen, Abuyog and Alangalang.

A total of 10 training sessions were conducted from April 7 to May 1 in the cities of Tacloban and Calbayog. The training included modules on Gender Sensitivity as well as Law and other Legal Imperatives on Gender and Development.

The Kalahi-CIDSS or Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services is a program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that seeks to help alleviate poverty using the Community-Driven Development (CDD) strategy.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency created in 2004 that is helping lead the fight against global poverty through economic growth.## (Roger Cabiles)(Photo credits: Yen Pascual)

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I’m a 4Ps scholar

I’m a 4Ps scholar

They call us the lower class, the twerps, a burden to the government. They dub us dependents, supposedly merely after government doles. They call us the poorest of the poor, the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Let me tell you people, we are less fortunate but we are not stupid. Yes, we are receiving a certain amount from the government, to alleviate our current situation, which is the program’s primary objective. But, is it really a basis for social discrimination and bullying?

I am a 4Ps scholar, one of the beneficiaries of the Expanded Students’ Grant-In-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA), to be particular about it. So, what do you think? I am giving you the freedom to say something about it. Are you one of those judgmental persons or among the rational ones?

When I first heard about the opportunity to avail myself of the ESGP-PA, I thought of my dreams becoming possible. It was as if chance had found a deserving student who desired to make a difference in her life, in her family, and in her society. Eventually, I became a lucky grantee. I consider that a significant gift that drew me closer to achieving my aspirations.

For me, tuition and other school fees, academic and extracurricular expenses, the purchase of textbooks, the lack of stipend and transportation fare ceased to be constant worries in the pursuit of a college degree. Each grantee is entitled to P30,000 per semester, and that has been making a difference.

But, the difference includes social discrimination and bullying. Some fellow students say something to this effect: “Those 4Ps scholars, they already have the scholarship, and they’re also given special treatment.” Those students who belong to well-off families look down on us when they learn that we are ESGP-PA grantees, as though we were unsightly.

The worst thing was when, in class, a professor presented his opinion on the program’s “dependency” on the government and how our expenses as grantees were being shouldered by taxpayers including himself, all because of irresponsible parenthood. His opinion just seemed so biased. It appeared that he did not realize: What could this mean, how could this affect, an ESGP-PA grantee in his class?

These have happened, not just to me, but also to my fellow 4Ps scholars. It’s like being a 4Ps scholar is a sin, that being less fortunate is a sin.

We are not the proponents of this program; we are merely the chosen recipients. I’ve come to think: What if everyone is a 4Ps beneficiary? Will their views still be the same? Will the treatment be just and fair? Why does social hierarchy matter a lot in building a community? Irrationality will never unite a country.

This is not all about irresponsible parenthood; this is reality. Poverty is present in the country. We are not building a poverty society. In fact, we strongly want to get out of that status. We strive to lift our families out of poverty and eventually give back to the economy.

I feel that I should just shut my mouth whenever they throw gibberish at us and degrade the ESGP-PA. Yet my open mind cannot fathom the fact that those words come from supposedly educated people who should know better than us. It is just a manifestation that someone can be educated but not learned.

Still, I extend my thanks to the government for providing a great opportunity for deserving students to complete tertiary-level education. I will focus on the positive goals. We’ll eradicate poverty; we don’t need irrationality. We are less fortunate, but we are not stupid.

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DSWD continues aid for ‘Seniang’ survivors

As part of its continuing assistance to survivors of Typhoon Seniang, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has already provided a total of 33,443 family food packs and 4,000 non-food items, as of January 8, through the local government units (LGUs) in the Visayas and in CARAGA.

In Central Visayas, DSWD has provided a total of 8,846 food packs and other food items such as water and biscuits.

Non-food items such as blankets, mats, and mosquito nets, among others, were also given to affected families in Cebu City, Tagbilaran City, and the towns of Alcantara, Barili, Dumanjug, Ronda, Bohol, Antequera, Cortes, Loay, Loboc, Loon, Maribojoc, Pres. C.P. Garcia, and Siquijor.

All evacuation centers in the region have been closed with the evacuees already back to their places of origin.

Aid for landslide victims

In Barangay Mercedes, Catbalogan City, Samar, where 21 persons died due to a landslide incident that occurred on December 30 following a heavy downpour, DSWD provided each bereaved family with P10,000 in cash assistance.

DSWD also gave P5,000 each to the eight individuals from the town who were injured due to “Seniang”.

Likewise, cash assistance was given to the injured and to the family of the lone fatality in Calubian town.

DSWD-Field Office VIII Assistant Regional Director Resty Macuto and Catbalogan City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan recently visited the Samar Provincial Hospital to check on the injured.

Emerita Mabag, 46, one of those injured expressed her gratitude to the Department and to the LGU for the help extended to her family. Nine members of her family died as a van rammed into their house as a result of the landslide.

Mayor Tan said that she has discussed with DSWD and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) the evacuation of vulnerable families residing in the landslide prone area of Purok 5-A in Brgy. Mercedes.

Meanwhile, DSWD continues to coordinate with concerned LGUs and other national government agencies for the provision of other appropriate services to survivors of “Seniang” to ensure that they can already return to normalcy. ###

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A light moment with President Benigno S. Aquino III, DSWD Sec. Corazon Juliano-Soliman and the tireless red brigade of DSWD Field Office VIII after the Early Recovery Program Launch in Boronangan, Eastern Samar this morning. PNoy and Sec. Soliman led the distribution of shelter and hygiene kits from DSWD and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to the victims of Typhoon Ruby in Borongan and Dolores. A total of P113.99 million was also turned over to the two local government units for their cash-for-work program.

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DSWD Pantawid Pamilya on Education

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