|News Features - Success Stories|
|Written by Reposted from The Philippine Star|
|Monday, 09 July 2012 02:34|
Manila, Philippines - As an institution that is committed to protecting the poor, vulnerable, marginalized, and disadvantaged Filipinos, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conceptualized its “Convergence Strategy”, which ensures the total development of the neediest sector in society. It is comprised of three major programs: the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino, Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), and the Sustainable Livelihood. These three programs complement each other, paving the way to a better life for the beneficiaries.
Pantawid Pamilya responds to the health and education needs of the poor and helps parents enhance their role through the Family Development Sessions (FDS).
KALAHI-CIDSS provides the needed infrastructure to guarantee access to health, education and livelihood opportunities. Through KALAHI-CIDSS, poor and far-flung communities were able to build bridges, roads, health centers, dikes, and school buildings, among others.
Knowing fully well that a regular income is needed to assist the poor in their self-growth, the Sustainable Livelihood provides income opportunities through the Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) and Guaranteed Employment. The program was able to produce entrepreneurs through the SEA-K capital assistance scheme while others have been employed through the Guaranteed Employment in DSWD partner agencies.
The beneficiaries attest that, more than economic relief, the programs also helped them develop as a person – on how they relate to people in the community and show compassion for others.
SPIRIT OF VOLUNTEERISM | EVELYN INOCENTE, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur
Beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya helped their community avail of government health services right where they live. The group is led by 36-year-old Evelyn M. Inocente from Sitio Bantolinao, Padiay, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur.
Right at the heart of Bantolinao stands the Bantolinao Health Center, which is living proof that the spirit of volunteerism is alive among the poor.
As what they have learned from the orientation and meetings, Pantawid Pamilya recipients are aware that to avail of the cash grants, beneficiaries should comply with the following conditionalities: pregnant women must avail of pre- and post-natal care and be attended during childbirth by a trained health professional; parents must attend family development sessions; zero to five-year-old children must receive regular preventive health check-ups and vaccines; 3-5 year-old children must attend day care or pre-school classes at least 85 percent of the time; 6-14 year-old children must enroll in elementary or high school and must attend at least 85 percent of the time; 6-14 year-old children must receive deworming pills twice a year.
In one of their meetings presided by Evelyn during the early stage of Pantawid Pamilya implementation in their community in September 2008, the beneficiaries discussed the conditionalities of the program that they have to comply with in order to avail of the cash grants.
The beneficiaries were one in saying that it would be difficult to comply with the health conditionalities because Bantolinao is ten kilometers away from Barangay Padiay where the health center is located. They have to walk three to four hours in going to Padiay and another three to four hours going back to Bantolinao.
After thorough deliberation on the matter, the group agreed to build a structure that they would later call Bantolinao Health Center so they would no longer go to Padiay to avail of health services. They did this through their own effort and money.
At first, they didn’t have the financial resources to buy the materials for the construction of the health center. The group decided to contribute a minimal amount of P5.00 as monthly due. As soon as they got their first cash grant, each beneficiary shelled out P5.00, but the amount collected was not enough to start building the facility they needed.
Focused on their goal, the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries put up a vegetable garden. The first harvest yielded only P100. After the first harvest, the group did not pursue the vegetable garden, but nonetheless, they continued to look for ways to increase their capital.
With the P100 from the vegetable garden, they contributed P150 each when the next cash grant was released, bringing their collection to P2,950. To further increase their capital, they decided to loan out the money at ten percent interest. The P2,950 capital then became P4,600. During the 6th cash grant distribution in 2009, they contributed a new the amount of P500 each member. The pooled resources amounted to P13,600, which they used to start a sari-sari store.
“Satulokabulanni-boom naang among tindahan (In three months’ time, our sari-sari store started earning),” said Evelyn. The group then started purchasing the materials for the health station using their profit from the store.
The members rendered “pahina” or sweat capital for the labor and donated locally-available materials such as lumber. Started in 2009, the health station, which costs P70,000 was completed and inaugurated in November 2011. The local government assigned a midwife to regularly visit the station.
“As Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, this is our way of helping the community. We need not travel far just to attend regular health consultations,” said Evelyn.
WORRY-FREE | JERRY CANDELARIA, Payatas, Quezon City
"Dahil sa programang Trabahong Lansangan ng DSWD at DPWH, nagkaroon ako ng permanenteng trabaho. (Through the Trabahong Lansangan project of DSWD and DPWH, I was given a permanent job at DPWH).” This was exclaimed by Jerry Candelaria, 34, married with two children from Brgy. Payatas, Quezon City.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa napakalaking tulong ng pamahalaan sa aking pamilya. Hindi ko na inaalala kung paano ko pakakainin ang aking mga anak sa araw-araw (I am very thankful to the assistance I am receiving from the government. Feeding my children is not a problem anymore),” Jerry added.
His wife, who is a grantee of Pantawid Pamilya, stretches whatever available resources they have to make both ends meet. She put up a small sari-sari store in front of their house to augment the family income.
Jerry is just one of the 800 beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya in Metro Manila who was given access to employment opportunities to sustain the need of his family through the “Trabahong Lansangan ng Programang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino,” a joint project of DSWD and DPWH.
With his good performance, he was absorbed by the DPWH as road maintenance personnel after his six-month contract with the Trabahong Lansangan project expired on March 30, 2012. Now, he continues to work with DPWH with his new employment status.
DSWD-NCR Regional Director, Ma. Alicia S. Bonoan said that the project will complement the regular cash grants that Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries receive every two months.
Jerry said his family, especially his children, were given a fair chance to rise from poverty.
“Pagbubutihin ko ang aking pagtatrabaho dahil pag tuloy-tuloy ang trabaho, may aasahan akong kita sa araw-araw at hindi na kami magiging isang-kahig-isang-tuka (I will do my best in this job so that I will not be terminated. This way I have a daily income and be able to feed my family),” Jerry said.
“Trabahong Lansangan” was officially launched on September 5, 2011 at Baseco Covered Court, Barangay 201, Port Area, City of Manila. It provides guaranteed employment to beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya, especially the first batch of beneficiaries.
Under this project, the beneficiaries are employed in jobs like declogging of drainage laterals, road maintenance, and street sweeping for a period of six months with a daily wage of P404.
It is also one of the Department’s exit strategies to help the first batch of beneficiaries sustain their economic condition and well-being.
The first batch of beneficiaries are those who were registered in the program in 2008 from the cities of Manila, Caloocan, Quezon, Pasay, Pasig, Taguig and Navotas.
WELCOME DOWNPOUR | LIGAYA VALENZUELA, Torrijos, Marinduque
Rain is a blessing in a country where the heat can be unbearable and where agriculture is a major livelihood.
The people of Barangay Bolo in Torrijos, Marinduque, however, don’t rejoice at the prospect of rain. Indeed, the idea of rain often makes them fear for their lives.
Ligaya Valenzuela recounted an event when she was in fourth year high school.
Strong rains once flooded the road to her school. In order not to wade in the flood, Ligaya walked on a bark of a coconut tree sprawled along the road. However, as she was making her way carefully, a sudden current carried her away. She tried to swim against the current, but it was no use. Luckily, she was swept to the foot of a tree.
“I thought that was the end of my life,” she said, teary-eyed.
At another time, water overflowed from a bridge during the burial procession for a community member. Adding to the grief, relatives and friends endured the inconvenience of a much longer route in order to make it to the cemetery.
In July 2011, the tide of events began to change. Barangay Bolo ranked first in the Municipal Inter-Barangay Forum – Participatory Resource Allocation (MIBF – PRA). Consequently, the barangay was selected as the beneficiary of a three-year project under the KALAHI-CIDSS. The construction of a culvert to keep flood waters from rising gave hope for a safer community.
Ligaya, now the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee chairperson, is particularly grateful for the opportunities to lead in the project implementation. She said that it has honed her organizational skills and technical knowledge. The community, as a whole, has strengthened its sense of camaraderie and group participation in the process of solving this decades-long problem.
The rains now pour blessings upon Barangay Bolo in Torrijos, Marinduque. For the village folks, the rain is a welcome downpour.
PRECIOUS FLOW | SAMUEL APARISE, Buenavista, Bohol
Water is an indispensable commodity. Without water, life would really be unbearable.
In his mid-forties – being the current barangay chairman of Panghagban, the most mountainous and farthest barangay in the municipality of Buenavista, Bohol – Samuel Aparise had experienced how it is to live without water and how it has shattered the lives of the people in their community.
“It was very hard not having our own water supply. We still had to walk 1.5 kilometers just to fetch water for our daily needs,” Samuel said. He related how he reprimanded his kids when they wasted even just a drop.
“Not having water had made almost everyone in the community impatient and hot-tempered.” He described that those living near their barangay’s basketball court would hide their water containers so that those playing basketball cannot ask for a drink. Selfishness prevailed in the community.
Then, KALAHI-CIDSS came. Life has never been the same again since.
"The KALAHI-CIDSS brought great change in our barangay, not only due to the water system project, but also and, most importantly, through the barangay assemblies that have empowered even the poorest of the poor in our community,” Samuel shared.
KALAHI-CIDSS was implemented in Buenavista, Bohol, in 2004, and ended in December 2008. Barangay Panghagban has benefited from the P1.9 M worth of water system project covering 70 households.
With the water system, gone are the days when people would have to endure the heat of the sun and walk through the rough 1.5-kilometer road just to get water. “We can get water now any time of the day.” Gone are the days when children can only take a bath once or twice a week. “Our kids now take a bath daily.” Gone are the days when neighbors become hot-tempered and squabble over water. “Our water system is now abundant, and we are even sharing with Sitio Bunga, our neighbour barangay, which is also happy about KALAHI-CIDSS.”
On top of the basic benefits they got through the abundant water, Barangay Panghagban’s revenue has expanded as many families can now engage in income-generating projects, such as backyard gardening and piggery.
Because of KALAHI-CIDSS’ concept of mobilizing the basic sector to actively act, contribute, and get involved in all decision-making, the people of Barangay Panghagban have learned to speak their thoughts and develop their participation and leadership skills.
Samuel shared that they have formed a water association to manage the water project. “Until now we are still having our monthly meetings to discuss financial aspects and other sustainability concerns. We cannot afford to lose our water supply, so we are doing our best to maintain it.”
Another volunteer, 48-year-old Merlin Sepulveda, imparted how she used to shy away from crowds but is now already acquiring a lot of responsibilities. “I have learned how to make project proposals and process documents—these are things I did not learn in school. Because of KALAHI-CIDSS, I am able to boost my self-confidence and work without bounds, even without pay,” she added.
“KALAHI-CIDSS is not just water,” said one community volunteer. The people’s faces radiate genuine gratefulness, and though the sun is still as hot as it used to be, KALAHI-CIDSS has brought cool change that definitely made the people of Barangay Panghagban bask under the sun with sheer delight.
WOMEN POWER | ANTONIA SANO, Malay, Aklan
The feel of granite beneath her feet and the sight of opulence all around her were a far cry from Antonia Sano’s simple world.
But walking inside a luxury hotel is now part of her daily routine, as President of the Malay Municipal Federation of Self-Employment Assistance – Kaunlaran Associations (MMF-SKA) based in Caticlan, Malay, Aklan. The federation of 24 Self-Employment Assistance – Kaunlaran (SEA-K) groups now has a total membership of 630 women-entrepreneurs.
MMF-SKA supplies bath soap products to 65 resorts and hotels in Boracay Island. Other micro-enterprises include weaving of bariw and selling of accessories and “kakanin”. The federation operates its own production center and store in Caticlan.
The MMF-SKA recently received a P250,000 augmentation fund from the DSWD. The agency also committed to conduct training on production and marketing.
Besides economic gains, the federation seeks to empower women. They can now freely express their views.
“I now receive a regular monthly pay.” It may not be a big amount, but I am happy to be part of the improvement of lives of women in Malay. It has been years when we started our participation in SEA-K and now, we can see that we are gradually winning the battle,” Antonia smiled.
She says, too, that the women continue to dream of progress for MMF-SKA. “We hope to have our own lot and building in the years ahead,” Antonia shares.
Interestingly, a resolution was passed (Res no. 18, series of 2011) encouraging all establishments in Boracay to patronize the products of women entrepreneurs.
EMPOWERED MOTHER | Helen Española, Barbaza, Antique
Waking up early in the morning to cook for her family; seeing to it that the children are ready for school; washing clothes; cleaning the house. This has always been the typical day for Helen Española of Barbaza, Antique.
This daily routine is the same for three other women in Barbaza. But now, they have to be fast at completing their daily tasks in order to do their additional responsibilities of being a facilitator, a coach and even an adviser of other Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.
Pantawid Pamilya has changed the lives of 41-year-old Helen Española, 46-year-old Salvacion Berdan, and 30-year-old Analyn Cruz.
“Had it not been for Pantawid Pamilya, I would not have found out that I can also handle meetings and speak in front of people,” said Helen.
Helen and the two other beneficiaries are parent leaders under Pantawid Pamilya. As parent leaders, they supervise around 60 household beneficiaries to ensure that the cash grants being given are spent for intended purpose – for health and nutrition and education of children. Also, they have to ensure that the beneficiaries comply with program’s conditions.
“I now know how to run seminars. I also learned how to deal with people,” Helen said.
For Analyn, the program taught her how to talk and relate to people and understand them.
“It has been very effective as it taught me how important and rewarding pakikipag-kapwa tao is,” she added.
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The Philippine Starweek
(reposted from The Philippine Star, July 8, 2012)