DSWD highlights programs in meeting for Government Information Officers

Communication is a powerful tool. If used rightly, it can be used to disseminate information, provide instructions, teach and form opinion. The proper use of communication can determine the success or failure of an agency. This is why the Department of Social Welfare and Development values and recognizes the important role communications play in its day to day activities.

Recently, the Department of Social Welfare and Development hosted this month’s meeting of the Association of Government Information Officers (AGIO), composed of government information officers from various government agencies. Backed up by the Philippine Information Agency (P.I.A.) as secretariat, the association regularly convenes to plan its future activities and provide updates from among the members.

DSWD Assistant Regional Director for Operations, Marcela Lim, warmly welcomed the government media practitioners, whom she said, are formidable agents of change. She appealed to them to help each other build the agency’s reputation by correcting misinformation affecting one’s entity.

As host, DSWD took the opportunity to discuss its programs and services, including a brief history of Kalahi-CIDSS (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services) – a program which aims to reduce poverty and good governance through the use of a Community-Driven Development (CDD) approach. During this part, Senior Board Member Virginia Zacate of Sulat, Eastern Samar gave her testimony on the Kalahi-CIDSS experience that spoke of the wonders of community empowerment.It is in Sulat was where the program was first implemented in Region VIII.

DSWD also gave a brief introduction to the Listahanan program or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), as the third round of assessment comes near.

The importance of Listahanan was emphasized in this forum, as it is an information management system which serves as basis for selecting beneficiaries of social protection programs. In 2010, Executive Order No. 867 entitled, “Providing for the Adoption of the National Targeting System for Poverty Reduction as the Mechanism for Identifying Poor Households Who Shall Be Recipients of Social Protection Programs Nationwide” was issued. This mandates government agencies to use the NHTS-PR data.

DSWD also discussed some of the available frontline services from the Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU), including Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) and Minor’s Travel Clearance, for minors travelling abroad alone or unaccompanied by their parent/parents.

Meanwhile, the AGIO had a resource speaker in the person of Lieutenant Colonel Mario Jose Chico (Ret.) of the Philippine Army who presented an in-depth lecture on the deceptive recruitment scheme of the leftists, especially in the student and youth sectors. He urged everyone to be extremely vigilant since their strategies sometimes come under the guise of youth organizations.

The meeting was capped by honoring AGIO Secretariat and former Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Officer-in-Charge Alicia Nicart on her retirement and for her contribution in furthering developmental communications here in Region VIII.


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DSWD Turns Over 75 Housing Units at Hindang, Leyte

“Dire kuripot it DSWD!”

This is the testimony of Mano Lucio, whose house was totally damaged during supertyphoon Yolanda.  Now, he is one of the 75 beneficiaries of the Core Shelter Assistance Project (CSAP) who recently attended the turnover ceremony in Hindang, Leyte for these housing units.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development, together with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Hindang, led by Mayor Betty Cabal and the members of the Sangguniang Bayan, Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, and Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer (PSWDO) Vivian Claros recently conducted this ceremony to formally turnover these units to the beneficiaries, who were given certificates of completion and acceptance.

The CSAP is a housing project built for disaster survivors by disaster survivors. Each of these shelters are environmentally friendly and structurally strong, able to withstand up to 220 kph of wind velocity, and earthquakes up to intensity 4 on the Richter Scale and are built using locally sourced materials. These units cost P84,000 each – DSWD provided P70,000, the PSWDO provided P10,000 while the LGU provided P4,000, as well as the lots where the units were built. The beneficiaries themselves build the shelters and are tasked with the maintenance and care of these units.

“Daghang salamat sa DSWD na pinangunahan han aton Regional Director, salamat kan Governor Petilla ngan kan Mayor Cabal para sa tabang nga iyo gihatag sa amo. (Thank you DSWD, under the leadership of the Regional Director, thank you Governor Petilla and Mayor Cabal for the help you gave us.)

“Kun waray CSAP dire kami makapuyo sa dig-on nga balay. Salamat sa proteksyon nga iyo gihatag. Karon, safe na ang aong pamilya, kay an design sa Core Shelter dire basta-basta maguba sa bagyo ug linog. Bisan naay siguro Yolanda part two, dili na maruba!” (If it weren’t for the CSAP, we wouldn’t be able to live in a sturdy house. Thank you for the protection you gave us. Now, our families are safe, because the Core Shelter is not easily destroyed by storms or earthquakes. Even if there was a Yolanda part two, our houses wouldn’t be destroyed!)

“Among tumanon ang mga patakaran pinaagi sa pagmaintain sa balay – dili igprenda o ibaligya kay an materyales gikan sa gobyerno. Ipakita namo nga kami angayan sa pagsalig na inyong gihatag sa amo. Sa ngalan sa 75 nga beneficiaries, amo gihatag ang among kinasingkasing nga pasalamat. Mabuhay kitang tanan, God bless!” (We will implement the rules on maintaining our houses – no mortgaging or selling, because the materials came from the government. We will show that we are worthy of the trust that you have given us. So, in behalf of the 75 beneficiaries, we give to you our heartfelt gratitude. Mabuhay and God bless to us all!)


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Testimony of a Human Trafficking Survivor

“Pirme ako naupod han akon barkada. Mga disco, mga party. Danay maagahon na ako nauli. Pagkadto ko ha Manila, nagtrabaho ako nga cashier ha usa nga mall, pero waray ko gihap adto natapos kay napaupod na liwat ako ha mga barkada. Nakadto kami ha mga bar. Maagahon ako nauli, tapos pag-uuli ko ha amon, pirme ako ginbubusaan ni Lolo ngan Lola. Tikang hadto, ginpauli ako ha Biliran. (“I always go out with my gang to discos and parties. There are times I go home at the break of dawn. When I went to Manila, I worked as a cashier in one of the malls, but it didn’t took long as I went back to my old habits. We went to bars. Whenever I went home, my grandpa and grandma would reprimand me. After that, they drove me back home to our province in Biliran.”)

Tumawag ako ha usa ko nga sangkay nga ngadi ha Tacloban nagtatrabaho. Nagpakiana ako kun mayda hiya maaram nga trabaho nga pwede masudlan ngadi ha Tacloban. Ginpakianhan ako niya kun willing ako magtrabaho ha internet. Makikipagchat daw ha mga Tumawag ako ha usa ko nga sangkay nga ngadi ha Tacloban nagtatrabaho. Nagpakiana ako kun mayda hiya maaram nga trabaho nga pwede masudlan ngadi ha Tacloban. Ginpakianhan ako niya kun willing ako magtrabaho ha internet. Makikipagchat daw ha mga foreigners. (“I called one of my friends who is working in Tacloban. I asked her if she knows of any job in the city. Then my friend asked me if I am willing to work on the internet, and that I have to talk to foreigners.”)

Pagkadto ko ha ira balay, kumita ako hin kwarto nga puno hin mga computer, laptop ngan webcam. Illegal na ngay-an an ak nasudlan. Han una, naging malipayon ako ha balay han akon barkada. Naging malipayon ako nga may kwarta ako adlaw-adlaw. Bili dito, bili doon; gala dito, gala doon. Nakakapalit ako han ak mga karuyag. Pero may consequences adto nga tanan. Kapalit hadto nga kalipayan, kapalit hadto nga tanan nga mga bagay, nabababoy ko na an akon kalugaringon. I’m not proud of it. (“ When I went to their house, I saw a room filled with computers, laptops and webcams. I was put in an illegal situation. At first, I was so happy living with my friend. I had money everyday. I bought things here and there; I roamed around wherever I want to go. But it has some consequences. In exchange for that happiness and for all other things, I was already losing respect for myself and ruining my image. I am not proud of it.” )

Hasta usa ka adlaw, umabot an dire ko inaasahan. Usa ka aga, bumati ako hin mga boses hin mga taga NBI, nga may upod nga mga Social Worker ngan mga Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). Bumati ako han akon sapit nga nagtitinuok. Gin abrihan nira an amon kwarto tapos ginrescue nira kami nga tanan. An nagrecruit ha akon ginkadto ha City Jail. Gindara ako ha shelter. Ginhunahuna ko “Unta namati la ako kan mama ngan papa”. Gusto ko hadto magpakamatay, kay ginkaawod ako han akon pamilya. Pero waray ako nagpadayon pagpakamatay kay dire ko kaya. (“Then one day, an unexpected thing happened. One morning, I heard voices from that of the NBI, of social workers, and non-government organizations. Then I heard the cry of somebody next to me. They opened our room and we all were rescued. I thought “I should have listened to my mom and dad”. That time, I wanted to end my life because I brought shame to the family. But I didn’t push through because I didn’t have the nerve to do it.”)

Naisip ko nga mayda pa ako mga tawo nga umaasa ha akon. I must face the reality. I must stand up and be strong. And that’s what I did. Gin pa iskwela ako nira Ma’am Carmela hin senior high school. Nagpapasalamat ako kay ira ako gintapuran, gin tagan nira ako hin chance nga maipakita ko ha ira nga kaya ko mag bag-o ngan nagbabasol na ako han akon mga ginbuhat. Ira ginhatag an akon mga rights – ha education, recreation, food, clothes ngan shelter. Waray hira nagkulang ha akon. (“I thought there are some people who have high hopes on me. Ma’am Carmela sent me to senior high school. I am thankful for their trust. . . for giving me another chance to prove to them that I am capable to change for the better, and that I am regretful for what I have done. They gave me my rights – education, recreation, food, clothing, and shelter. They were not remiss of their responsibilities.” )

I turn to another chapter in my life. Nagpapasalamat ako ha DSWD, ha CSWDO, tanan nga social workers, ngan ha mga NGOs sugad han International Justice Mission (IJM) ngan an Plan International. Tungod ha ira, nakatungtong ako ha college. Gin pa-enroll ako nira kay gusto ko mag IT. Gusto na ako kuhaon hit ak mga parents, pero I choose to stay ha Shelter. Malipayon ako kay nakakabulig ako hit mga bata ha Shelter. (“ I thank the DSWD, CSWD, all social workers, NGOs, like International Justice Mission and Plan International. Because of them, I was able to go to College. They enrolled me for an Information Technology course. My parents wanted to fetch me but I chose to stay at the Center. I am happy that I am able to help children at the center.’)

Malipayon ako nga upod ko hira ngan ginsheshare ko ha ira tanan nga akon nabaruan – ha mga training, pati an akon life story. I saw how inspired they are. Happy na gihap it akon pamilya ha akon, pati ha akon desisyon nga magstay. Nakikita nira how determined I am. Nagpapasalamat gihap ako kan Papa God, waray niya ako pabay-i, bsan ano kakuri ak inagian natalwas la ghap ako tungod ha iya. It akon mensahe para ha mga sugad ha akon nga nabiktima hin Human Trafficking: Stand up and speak out! Don’t give up! We will survive because we are warriors! (“ I am glad I am with them and able to able to share what I have learned – in trainings, including my life story. My family is also happy about me and my decision to stay. They can see how determined I am. I am also thankful to Papa God, He didn’t leave me, no matter how hard the track. I was able to overcome because of Him. My message to fellow victims of Human Trafficking….Stand up and speak out! Don’t give up! We will survive because we are warriors.” )


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DSWD Goes Green

Often we overlook the fact that the way we take care of the environment affects our climate, that sometimes disasters are a direct result of how we treat our surroundings. And as the typhoon season approaches, the need to take action becomes more and more apparent.

At the Department of Social Welfare and Development, we recognize the link between our environment and our climate. That is why we do our best to take care of our environment. Last month, DSWD Field Office VIII launched a clean and green campaign. During this campaign, DSWD staff started to make the office greener by adding plants in the office. Aside from beautifying the office, this would also help in cooling the atmosphere by reducing excess carbon dioxide in the air.

And just recently, DSWD staff from the Disaster Response Management Division (DRMD) participated in a Coastal Clean-up Drive conducted by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) at Brgy. Fisherman’s Village, San Jose, Tacloban City. This clean – up drive is part of the National Disaster Resilience Month celebration, with the theme “Kahandaan sa Sakuna’t Peligro Para sa Tunay na Pagababago.”

During this activity, DSWD staff, together with barangay officials and other participating agencies, picked up trash along the coast of San Jose. These trash items were collected in sacks and were picked up by the General Services of the City Government of Tacloban City.

These activities, indeed, exemplify DSWD’s drive to care for the environment which, in turn, contribute to a greener, cleaner world. Because every small step we make contributes to the bigger picture, and the small things we do may have huge consequences.

photo credits Francis Batula



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DSWD Showcases Services of the Disaster Response Cluster

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VIII, in celebration of the 2019 National Disaster Resilience Month, organized a one-day exhibit showing the various resources of each member agency of the Disaster Response Cluster of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC).

Held late last week at the Tacloban City Hall Grounds, DSWD displayed an array of services under the agency’s response, like family food packs containing six kilos of rice, four cans of corned beef, four cans of meat/beef loaf and six sachets of coffee, the Go Bag, first aid kits and rescue equipment such as helmets and a spine board. Photos of DSWD’s relief operations during the first semester of 2019 were also put on exhibit.
According to OIC Pauline Liza Nadera of DSWD FO VIII’s Disaster Response Management Division, “We cannot prevent the storms. However, this exhibit is a testament that we have learned. We have risen from the storms, and with the cooperation of our partners and the different agencies, we can bring help to those who are in need.”

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the Tacloban Rescue Unit (TacRU), the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army showcased the equipment for rescue operations, that included helmets, spine boards, first aid kits, rescue tools such as axes and sledgehammers, as well as specialist equipment like power tools for the extraction of motor vehicle accident victims, a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), and a chainsaw.

The Department of Education (DepEd), meanwhile, highlighted the safety equipment used in schools that spells readiness of the students during disasters, while The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) displayed firefighting equipment used during grassfires. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), on the other hand, had for their exhibit oil spill control equipment, satellite equipment, patrol boat, and sea rescue equipment including wetsuits, scuba gear and masks.

Access 5 has their High Frequency (HF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) radio equipment and highlighted their advocacy for the use of these radio equipment, especially during disasters when conventional phone reception is unavailable.Aside from showcasing these resources, the exhibit also showed that the Disaster Response Cluster is prepared to augment the Local Government Units when needed during disaster response.

Newly-installed DSWD Regional Director Marie Angela Gopalan, in an interview, pointed, however, that even with all the available resources of member agencies, disaster preparedness should begin at home. “It should start with one’s self,” she said.

Photo credits Jhoanne Cuesta, Marthea Clarisse Espiritu


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DSWD Successfully Conducts Earthquake Drill

Last April, Eastern Visayas was struck by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake. While there were no reported casualties, the incident highlighted the need for earthquake safety, especially since earthquakes occur without warning.

Recently, the Department of Social Welfare and Development participated in the 2nd Quarter National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) by conducting its own in-house drill. During the drill, DSWD’s field office staff were trained on how to drop, cover and hold during an actual earthquake and on how to properly evacuate from the buildings to the designated evacuation area.

DSWD staff were also trained on how to respond to the effects of the earthquake. During the simulation, DSWD staff set up an Incident Command Post, where a designated Incident Commander oversaw the operations needed to respond to the earthquake, including checking the safety of the building, putting out fires caused by the earthquake, search and rescue for wounded personnel and the transportation of wounded personnel to the hospital.

The drill was led by DSWD’s Disaster Response Management Division, which also conducted the agency’s first in-house earthquake drill last February (read about it here: https://fo8.dswd.gov.ph/2019/02/drop-cover-hold-dswd-conducts-earthquake-drill/)

The drill was evaluated by advisors from various agencies – including the Department of Education, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Office of Civil Defense, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Army. These advisors also provided their feedback and valuable insight on the strengths and the areas of improvement in earthquake response.


photo credits to Jamie Evangelista

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DSWD shares Disaster Preparedness insights to Barangay Officials

The rainy season is in! And with this wet season come storms that may affect the Region. On average, 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility. Fortunately, The Department of Social Welfare and Development is prepared and is helping others become prepared as well.

Recently, DSWD staff from the Disaster Response Management Division (DRMD) attended and served as resource persons for the Family and Community Disaster Preparedness, Camp Coordination and Camp Management seminar, which was conducted by the City Government of Tacloban, the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) and the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO). This seminar was held at the Tacloban City Pilot Evacuation Center at Brgy. 91, Abucay, Tacloban City.

During this seminar, DSWD staff under the leadership of DRMD Division Chief Pauline Nadera oriented officials and volunteers from different barangays in Tacloban City on various aspects of disaster response. According to DRMD Division Chief Pauline Nadera, the barangay officials and volunteers are the frontline soldiers in disaster response, and as such, play a very big role during disaster response.

DSWD introduced the DROMIC reporting system (Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center), which is a virtual reporting system used by DSWD to gather, consolidate and organize information on disasters and the people who are affected. DSWD also discussed the importance of Family Preparedness, in training all the members of the family to be ready for storms. Owing to experiences during supertyphoon Yolanda, DSWD staff also shared several practical tips, such as what to do before, during and after a disaster.

“During disasters, Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) lose access to food, water, sanitation, education, health and a safe space to live. The way the evacuation site is set up and managed affects the dignity and the capacity of recovery of the families affected. ” concluded DRMD Division Chief Pauline Nadera, who shared her expertise in Camp Coordination and Camp Management to the volunteers.


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Rebuilding after the Fire: DSWD and the Emergency Shelter Assistance

“We woke up around 2:30 am, and Pier Uno was already on fire. We were unable to save anything – no clothes, no appliances, especially since the pathway was so small. Everything was blurred, and I couldn’t think, we were able to save ourselves.”

Charlita recalls that early morning of last May 2018, when a fire broke out in Barangay 6 (Pier Uno, Catbalogan City, Samar). Unable to save anything, she, her family and her neighbors stayed at the Samar National School, which functioned as evacuation center for the fire survivors. They stayed for two weeks.

“Our stay was difficult. The comfort rooms would sometimes flood. But we are thankful, because we had a place to stay. I’m also thankful because we received help, we had food, and we had cash assistance.”

A few days after the fire, the Disaster Response Management Division (DRMD) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development deployed its staff to Catbalogan to distribute relief items. These include family food packs, blankets, mosquito nets and other non-food items. Each family food pack contains 6 kilos of rice, 4 cans of corned beef, 4 cans of beef loaf and 6 sachets of coffee. (read about it here: https://fo8.dswd.gov.ph/…/rising-from-the-ashes-dswd-aids-…/)

Now, Charlita and the survivors of the Pier Uno fire receive the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) from DSWD.

Just recently, DSWD conducted a payout of the ESA for the survivors of the Pier Uno fire. This assistance was given to the homeowners so that they could rebuild or repair their homes. DSWD distributed P10,000 for totally damaged houses and P5,000 for partially damaged houses. Over-all, DSWD was able to distribute the ESA cash grants to 139 families with totally damaged houses, and nine families with partially damaged houses.

“I will use this money to repair our house and to buy a washing machine. This payout is perfect because it’s the start of the school year. I’ll also be using this money to buy school supplies for the kids.” says Charlita.

“I am thankful to Secretary Bautista and DSWD. They really helped us a lot. They took care of us from the time we evacuated, up until now. Thank you, DSWD and thank you, City Social Welfare and Development Officer (CSWDO),” Charlita concluded.


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