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Capiz child exemplar reminds Filipinos to be resilient

GBhe2It was her first time to set foot in Manila. It was one of her unforgettable moments. Getting into a trip from Roxas City to Iloilo by bus, taking a van from Iloilo City to the Airport, and boarding a plane from there to the country’s capital. These happened to her like a dream.
She then found herself at Sequoia Hotel, Timog Avenue, Quezon City attending the National Children’s Congress hosted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Along with nearly 50 children who were the top three winners of the DSWD Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya children in their respective regions, G. Bhe Lasala of Roxas City, Capiz was all the time active and participative.
The 12-year-old child left no indication that she felt the trauma of someone who was left homeless when typhoon Yolanda, internationally name Haiyan, lashed in Western Visayas and left her family in a problematic situation.
It was only when she spoke when the crowd knew of what happened. But there was no pain in her voice. Instead, hers was a strength that sent a lesson to the crowd.
“Tulad namin, kahit nawasak ng bagyo ang aming bahay, hindi kami nawalan ng pag-asa. Ang importante, nagmamahalan kami at kompleto kami at masaya. Dahil kami ang bumubuo ng tahanan at hindi ang bahay ang bumubuo niyan (Although the typhoon destroyed our house, we never lost hope. It is still the love, it is still our being complete and it is our happiness that matters. Because we are the ones who form our home, not our house forming our home),” she said.
G. Bhe’s family, headed by Wilfredo and Bernardita, gradually fought the difficulties of being homeless. They made use of whatever housing materials were available out of the rubbles and are currently staying in the makeshift house.
Wilfredo is a vendor while Bernardita dabbles at almost any work that comes her way from selling fish, ready-to-eat food and doing laundry job for friends and neighbors.

Inspite of poverty, G. Bhe shone as a brilliant child. She is a consistent honor student since kindergarten. Aside from graduating as a salutatorian in the elementary level, she also got awards as “Junion Einstein” and won in competitions ranging from academic related activities to dancing.
With her benefiting from Pantawid Pamilya, the government’s conditional cash transfer program that provides for her education and health needs, she dreams to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) someday.
“Malaki po ang naitulong sa amin ng programa, natutustusan po nito ang ibang pangangalian ko na hindi naibibgay ng aking pamilya (The program has helped me a lot. It has provided my needs, which my family cannot give),” she said.

G Bhe’s optimism is radiated by the way she looks at life and the future that awaits her. She has long dismissed poverty as a hindrance to her success.

“Ang kahirapan ay hindi hadlang upang magtagumpay sa buhay, dahil ang tagupay ay nakasalalay sa pagiging matiyaga, masipag, at aktibo sa pag-aaral. Sa tulong ng aking pamilya, komunidad, eskwelahan, at simbahan, masasabi kong kaya ko ang pag-babago (Poverty is not a hindrance for us to succeed because it depends on hard work that you put in your studies. With the help of my family, community, school and church, change can happen),” she said.


G. Bhe was standing as she narrated how the typhoon has devastated their house. But she stood with strength and her voice was steady.
The typhoon might have damaged their house but it did not destroy her dreams./dswd6/May Rago-Castillo

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Dev’t partners satisfied with Listahanan implementation

Development partners are satisfied with the way the DSWD is implementing the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) in the country.

Director Vincent Andrew Leyson, national project manager of NHTS-PR or Listahanan, revealed that both World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) expressed satisfaction and said the project is “doing well and constantly improving.”

Speaking before at least 100 participants to the Review and Evaluation Workshop on Special Validation on Social Pension and MCCT beneficiaries, Leyson commended the staff from the different regions for their accomplishment. The activity was held at Punta Villa Resort, Iloilo City recently.

“Relative to the comments of World Bank, we are doing well. The ADB also said our system is improving and they are looking at experiences and they say overall, we are on track,” Leyson announced.

Among these accomplishments are the successful conduct of the special validation of Social Pension and MCCT Beneficiaries last June, the increase in number of national government agencies, local government units and other stakeholders that are using the Listahanan database and the preparations being done for the 2nd Round of Assessment of Poor Households./dswd6/Wenna B. Bendol

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Secretary Soliman gives tribute to exemplary Pantawid Pamilya

ncc4DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman gave tribute this morning (October 25) to exemplary children of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program at Sequoia Hotel, Quezon City who participated in the National Children’s Congress (NCC).
Addressing her statement to the media and other guests, she pointed to the kids and said, “Sila po ay bahagi lamang ng nagbebenipisyo at resulta ng puhunan sa kanilang mga kabataan. Sila ay bahagi ng resulta ng pagtutulungan ng mga ahensya ng pamahalaan.”
Three of the children who participated in this year’s congress came from Region VI namely Mark Lovel Bedona of Bugasong, Antique; G. Bhe Lasala of Roxas City, Capiz; and Shane Padonio of Victorias City, Negros Occidental.
Soliman presented the kids to them to emphasize that the government has never been wrong in investing for the children’s future by ensuring that they are sent to school and are healthy through the Pantawid Pamilya, Philippine’s version of Conditional Cash Transfer.

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‘Senior citizens are our partners’

The Department of Social Welfare and Development 6 (DSWD-6) recognized senior citizens as partners in implementation of social development programs especially in promoting Filipino values and strong family ties.

DSWD-6 director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre said the social importance of elderly in the family life could not be underestimated because the family is the basic structure in which the individual traditionally learns his or her social role.

“I want to remove the bad impressions labeled to elderly for being helpless, dependent, ailing and less competent but instead I want it to be reversed. That is why your participation should therefore be encouraged and developed,” Macapobre said in her speech during the Awarding of Centenarians 2014 and Elderly Filipino Week Culminating Activity at the Iloilo Grand Hotel on Monday.

Macapobre also urged Local Government Units (LGUs) to make their own initiatives by creating different services and programs that could benefit and encourage the active participation of all the senior citizens in the region.

She said LGUs could encourage and sustain the participation of elderly by providing access to education and training in new technologies, disseminate information about facilities and services available for them, made them aware of the existence of a growing voluntary sector and should help this sector connect with opportunities by facilitating exchanges of information between those who wish to offer their services to potential beneficiaries.

Macapobre added that LGUs should also encourage the involvement of more senior citizens in the decision-making process, raising awareness among those involved in the media and advertising worlds as well as other opinion of the need for an image of senior citizens that is close to reality and more positive.

More importantly, Macapobre stressed that LGUs need to ensure the protection of senior citizens against physical abuse, abuse of trust and psychological ill treatment.

“We have so many things to fix in the implementation of Expanded Senior Citizens Act because it is mandatory that five percent of the total budget of the LGU will go to the senior citizens”, she said.

On her part, Lucila Sobremisana, 100-year-old, of Brgy. Cabilawan, New Lucena, Iloilo said she is very thankful to DSWD for prioritizing and giving them the chance to participate in many activities.

Sobremisana said she is now enjoying the different privileges offered to them especially the 20 percent discount on her medicines, medical, dental, transport fares and restaurants.

In the region, the program covers 21, 164 indigent senior citizens under Social Pension program. This includes 242 indigent senior citizens whoa are survivors of typhoon Yolanda.( DSWD-6/Montesa Griño-Caoyonan)

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104-year-old social pensioner awarded as oldest living centenarian

Social pensioner 104-year-old Albarito Villarba of Brgy. Crespo, Sara, Iloilo was awarded and recognized as one of the oldest living centenarians by the Iloilo Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) during the 2014 Awarding of Centenarians and Elderly Filipino Week Culminating Activity at the Grand Hotel on Monday (October 20).

Villarba, is one of the 40 centenarians who were awarded with a plaque of

104-year-old Albarito Villarba of Brgy. Crespo, Sara, Iloilo was awarded and recognized as one of the oldest living centenarians by the Iloilo Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) during the Recognition and Awarding of Centenarians 2014 and Elderly Filipino Week Culminating Activity./dswd6

104-year-old Albarito Villarba of Brgy. Crespo, Sara, Iloilo was awarded and recognized as one of the oldest living centenarians by the Iloilo Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) during the Recognition and Awarding of Centenarians 2014 and Elderly Filipino Week Culminating Activity./dswd6

recognition and P1, 000 cash, as spearheaded by Ma. Evelyn Macapobre, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development 6 (DSWD-6).

However, Villarba was not able to get personally the award due of his old age but he was represented by his niece Rose.

According to Rose, her widow grandfather is very much thankful that he was included on the Social Pension Program being implemented by the DSWD.

Rose added she accompanies her grandfather to get his pension at the Landbank every pay out and after that his Lolo will buy food and medicines for his maintenance.

During ordinary days, his Lolo is busy gardening at his backyard where he spends most of his time planting vegetables.

“The social pension brought inspiration to my Lolo to do better despite of his age. He really appreciated the government assistance given to the indigent senior citizens”, Rose said.

Social pension is an additional government assistance in the amount of P500 monthly stipend to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of the indigent senior citizens aged 77 years old and above.

Presently, the program covers 21,164 indigent senior citizens in the region including those 242 indigent senior citizens who are survivors by Typhoon Yolanda last year.

As of third quarter of this year, 8,704 indigent senior citizens have already received their stipend amounting to P44,428,500.

The provision of Social Pension for indigent senior citizens is mandated by law stated in Section 5 of the Republic Act 9994, otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. (DSWD-6/Montesa Grino-Caoyonan)

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KALAHI’s artificial reefs attract new fish species

Over a span of one year, significant changes were seen along the spot where the concrete artificial reefs were drop in the fishing grounds of Barangay San Isidro, Ibajay, Aklan.

Aquaculturist Christian says “there were recruitment of new fish species” in the array of concrete artificial reefs drop in the fishing grounds. Fish species increased from 16 to 21 around the periphery.

The artificial reef project was funded under the Kalahi-CIDSS-Millennium Challenge Corporation. Barangay San Isidro’s artificial reef project was among the five prioritized projects in the first year of implementation.


Brgy. Kagawad Vicente Espiritu recalls that sometime in 1988, aloy (bullet-tuna), and hasa-hasa (short-bodied mackerel) disappeared. “Naglaas ang mga isda kay nagkalaguba ang mga coral reefs wala na sila istaran. (The fish fled because the corals were destroyed, they have no more habitat.

Espiritu, who had been fishing since 16 years old, says they used to catch more fish. The destruction of coral reefs was attributed in the disappearance of school of fish.

The use of dynamite, cyanide and other forms of destructive fishing methods was blamed for the degradation of the once-rich fishing ground. Fishing habitats were destroyed.

He says the coral reefs destroyed because of the use of dynamite and other destructive methods of fishing. They suffered for a long time.

Espiritu, who had fishing since 16 years old, says they used to catch more fish. “Daw ginapangayo lang namon ang isda sa lawod” (as if we are only asking fish in the waters).

Agrifino Costan , Kalahi-CIDSS Operation and Maintenance chairperson says there were fishermen who used compressors, cyanide, and dynamite. “Dahil ditto halos wala na kaming mahuli na isda. (Because of this we were havng a hard time catching fish).”

Fishermen have to travel a distance to fish. It also affects the income of 86 households which depend on fishing as main source of income.

Costan says fishermen have to spend money to buy gasoline for their motorized banca to navigate in other barangays. They have also to spend more time in the waters just to catch fish. At times, they went home with only one kilo of fish.

The fishermen have also to look for other jobs like carpentry and farming to augment their daily income.


Today, high-valued fish which makes money in the market like snapper, surgeon fish and jacks are among the new fish species in San Isidro.

Deza’s report also identified some of the new fish species as matang baka (scad), dalagang bukid (fusiliers), lapu-lapu (grouper), salay-salay (jack), managat (snapper) and tamban (sardine).

There are also ornamental fishes such as manampulok (Scorpion fish), alibangbang (Butterfly fish), palata (Damsel Fish), and labayan (Wrasse).

“Village chief Froebel Miroy confirms Deza’s report. New fishes like maya-maya (snapper) caught by fishermen. There are other fish species caught by fishermen.

There are other fish species caught which he could not identify through their names.

“Bihira naming ito mahuhuli noong una (we seldom catch this kind of before).”

High-valued fish cost at least P180 to P200 per kilo. Local fishermen can make money from their catch when it is sold in Boracay. It commends a higher price, says Miroy.

Espiritu, who owns a motorized banca says he was able to send his five children to school because of the improving fish catch in their coast. He says he does not have to borrow money from a loan shark.

Deza’s report on the presence of high-valued fish along the coast was confirmed by Franciso Casungcad’s catch.

He and his companion were lucky enough to catch a 5.5 kilos yellow fin tuna and 4 kilos balilin (Crevalle) for an overnight fishing. Upon reaching the shore, a financier is ready to buy their day’s catch for distribution in the local market.

Financier bought their catch for only P130 to P140 per kilo. When sold in the local market, the price is much higher. Each kilo costs from P180 to P200.

Casungcad says they are able to catch other fishes such as grouper and snapper.

These are fishes that stay in the rocks. “Nagbalik na sila sa amon (They returned).”
He recalls that when the fish catch dwindled in Brgy. San Isidro they have to work either in the farm or in the construction site.


Deza encourages the villagers to protect the site where the concrete artificial reefs were installed from intrusion of fishermen. Fishing restrictions should be imposed in covered areas.

He says the result of last June’s underwater assessment is “impressive” that the villagers should take more effort to protect the area where the artificial reefs are positioned. “Reefs are designed to enhance marine habitat.”

The habitat of these new fish species should be freed from any human activity and allow fish to grow in size. This will also allow the growth of algae and other sessile organisms like oysters to establish a new food chain, explains Deza.

“The artificial reefs serve as shelter to juvenile fishes. If fish stocks are allowed to recover, more fishes would actually be caught in the next few years, “he says.

Deza strongly recommends that portion of the 5.5 hectares site where the concrete artificial reefs are laid should be declared as Marine Protected Areas (MPA). The community should coordinate with the local government unit.

Once portion of the area is declared as marine protected area, the use of fishing gears is regulated and only spill-over fish from the sanctuary are caught. Overharvesting is also prevented, he says.


A former seaman, Miroy says he fully understands the importance of the artificial reefs on the biodiversity as well as on the livelihood of the people.

He supported the village when residents prioritized the installation of jackstone type artificial reef for funding.

The barangay council is now preparing resolutions declaring portion of the site as marine protected area, says Miroy.

People must be educated on the importance of the concrete artificial reefs. “Kailangan pangalagaan nila ang kalikasan. Isang paraan ay educate lang ang mga tao,” he says./DSWD6/Maricar M. Calubiran

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Ilonggo kids join NCC

ncc photo1RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE. Ilonggo kids join the National Children’s Congress at Seqouia Hotel, Quezon City today, October 23, 2014 as part of the month-long observance of the Children’s Month. Recognizing the children’s rights for participation in various activities, DSWD Pantawid Pamilya National Program Management Office (NPMO) provides participants with opportunities for fun, learning and self-expression through various group workshops. Western Visayas delegates to this year’s congress are the top three winners of the Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya children namely Mark Lovel Bedona of Bugasong, Antique; G.Bhe Lasala of Roxas City in Capiz; and Shane Padonio of Victorias City, Negros Occidental. Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have the right to participate in decision-making processes that maybe relevant in their lives and to influence decisions taken in their regard—within the family, the school, or the community. The principle affirms that children are full-fledged persons who have the right to express their views in all matters affecting them and requires that those views be heard given due weight in accordance with the child’s age and maturity.

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KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP: Transforming Lives

By Maricar M. Calubiran

For the decades, the road network from Calatrava town proper to Barangay Cambayobo is not found in the town’s map. Residence thought is a “sugar road” owned by sugar baron in Negros Occidental.

But the entry of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services- National Community Driven Development Program (KC-NCDDP) changed the picture.

About 24-kilometers away from the town proper, the hilly portion of the barangay cuts off the barangay’s transportation link to poblacion.

An agricultural village, the residents rely on cash crops, sugar cane and coconut farming for a living. Farmers transport their produce to the market on foot or by carts pulled by horses or carabaos, enduring the two-meter wide rugged road, which is muddy and dangerous during rainy season.

Locals use horses as means of transportation.

Locals use horses as means of transportation.

Despite the presence of sugar cane plantation near the village, Cambayobo’s economic growth is hampered by the absence of reliable and safe farm-to-market road.

Jovencio Flores, Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) chairperson said that everyone in their barangay wants a road project KALAHI CIDSS presented the Project concept in their barangay assembly.

Starting the project was a challenge as there were no proofs that the project site the villagers proposed a barangay road or that it was donated if owned by private individuals, he said.

“Kalain man oy. Daw sa ano bala tawagon ang dalan sa inyo barangay nga colorum. (It is depressing that they will call our road a colorum),” said Monica Empase, who is a member of the KALAHI CIDSS preparation team.

The lack of supporting documents tested the community volunteers’ fortitude in realizing their dream of having better farm-to-market road that would transport of their produce easy and safe.

To address the problem, the community appealed to the land owners to sign a deed of donation for the 1.45-km KALAHI CIDSS farm-to-market project, in which the donor did. Two other adjoining barangays, namely Winaswasan and Hilub-ang, also pass by Cambayobo. The Sangguniang Bayan passed a resolution declaring the road a barangay road. Their hope of better road was boosted by the support of the municipal government.

For decades, residents of Barangay Cambayobo, Calatrava, Negros Occidental pass by this rugged road to bring their farm produce to the town proper.

For decades, residents of Barangay Cambayobo, Calatrava, Negros Occidental pass by this rugged road to bring their farm produce to the town proper.

But the community’s dilemma did not stop with the issuance of the deed of donation, and the SB ordinance.

The inclement weather created distrust among the community volunteers.
Flores said there are times when they thought the farm-to-market road project will be completed.

“May mga panahon nga nagtuo kami nga dili na mahuman ang proyekto bangud sa mabaskug nga ulan (At time, we believe that the project could not be completed because of heavy rains), “said Empase.

Yet, the persistence of the community volunteers prevailed over their doubts. “Naisip man namon nga dapat kami magtinguha agud mahuman ang dalan bangud ini isa ka daku nga problema sa amon barangay (We are thinking that we should strive to finish the road project since it is the community’s biggest problem), said Flores.

Presently, the community is looking forward to the completion of the P3.2 million project, and finally say goodbye to the times when passing by the road is difficult even for habal-habal.

The villagers are optimistic that the improved road condition could also change their lives, and give way to economic growth they were deprived for decades.#

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Another firm offers to help Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries

DSWD 6 director Ma. Evelyn B. Macapobre (right) shakes hands with Mr. William H. Martirez (left), country director of Micro-Insure Brokers Philippines Inc. after the signing of a memorandum of agreement for the provision of micro insurance to the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Under the agreement, which was made possible through the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program, the company will likewise provide financial literacy to the family beneficiaries who may want to venture into entrepreneurial activities to help them uplift their living conditions./dswd6

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WV child exemplar reminds Ilonggos to protect environment

TYPHOON Yolanda unleashed its fury in Panay Island almost a year ago but it failed to topple the spirit of a 10-year-old boy from Antique. Instead, it taught him a lesson.

Mark Lovel Bedona, 10 years of age, a pupil of Lacayon Elementary School in Bugasong, Antique and winner in the regional DSWD Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya children, said their house was destroyed by the typhoon. But it left a lesson for everyone.

Mark Lovel Bedona, 2014 regional child exemplar in Western Visayas, holds his painting and plaque. With him is his mom Merlyn. The family from Bugasong, Antique is a beneficiary of DSWD Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Mark Lovel Bedona, 2014 regional child exemplar in Western Visayas, holds his painting and plaque. With him is his mom Merlyn. The family from Bugasong, Antique is a beneficiary of DSWD Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

“I will plant trees and I will not throw cellophane (usually locally interchanged with plastic) in my surroundings,” this he quipped in kinaray-a dialect when asked about how he could help save the environment.

Bedona has been on top of his class since kindergarten. He also earned awards as best in writing, math, reading, and, spelling. He is only on his fifth grade but displays prowess in painting.

He was also asked if how he could change their present life as a Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiary, the young Antiqueno answerd, “I will study hard so that I will find a good job. That way, I could change our lives,” he said in kinaray-a.

Mark received a plaque and P10,000 cash prize and will represent Region 6 in the national search in Manila on the last week of the month.

Awarded second place was G. Bhe Lasala of Roxas City, Capiz while Shane Padonio of Victorias City, Negros Occidental was third.

The Pantawid Pamilya is the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program which aims to send children to school and keep them healthy.

As part of the nation’s celebration of Children’s Month every October, the  National Search for Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children, carrying the tagline, “Kaya Ko ang Pagbabago,” is part of the National Children’s Congress that aims to emphasize the importance of the role of the child within the Filipino family and in nation-building. The search will also identify a pool of children advocates.

It is expected that the search will encourage children to become responsible not only in complying with the conditions and the ideals of the program but more so in becoming outstanding citizens who will be emulated by children and even adults./dswd6/May Rago-Castillo

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