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A teacher’s commitment for the success of ‘her’ children.

Whenever a Pantawid Pamilya child is recognized for his or her achievement on stage, Ms. Marissa S. Cabela cannot hide her joy.

Just like a mother who is proud of her child’s achievements, Ms. Cabela is a teacher who will always take pride in every improvement of a child-beneficiary enrolled in their school.

Since 2011, she has been designated as the focal person of Buenavista-Cigaras Elementary School in Brgy. Buenavista in Magdalena, Laguna Province for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

In the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilya, teachers are among the main partners of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, particularly in the education component of the program. Their main function is monitoring the compliance of the child-beneficiaries when it comes to their monthly school attendance.

Admittedly, Ms. Cabela started off thinking this designation is just an additional task to the already heavy load of teachers like her. However, as she began knowing the children, their parents, their struggles and the intentions of the program, she welcomed the task wholeheartedly.

Through the years, Ms. Cabela made it her goal to ensure that she is able to help them.

“Sabi ko sa sarili ko, tutulungan ko ang mga taong ‘to,” shared Ms. Cabela, who explored various interventions inside and outside the classroom to make sure all the children learn from school and succeed in their life in the future.

For her, what makes the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries close to her heart is how she can personally relate to their experiences.

“Siguro kung may 4Ps noong araw, kasama din kami,” she shared.

Ms. Cabela said that she is always reminded of her father, who does not know how to write, when parents would ask for her assistance in filling out documents because they cannot write themselves.

With this, she makes it a point to teach both the children and the parents. Whenever she gets the chance, she uses her experiences to instill in their minds the value of education and its impact on the life of the children when they grow up.

Partnering with the parents for the children’s future

As an educator, Ms. Cabela believes that honing the potentials of children is done not only in the four corners of the classroom. She recognizes the important role of the parents in educating the children and later on securing the future of the children.

Hence, as a Pantawid Pamilya Focal Person and the guidance counselor of the school as well, Ms. Cabela strategizes towards gaining the support of the parents for their children.

“Kapag sa monitoring namin, lumalabas na dumarami ang absent ng bata, bago pa man maging tatlo ang absent n’ya sa isang buwan, pinupuntahan na namin sa bahay,” shared Ms. Cabela.

Tagged as @HOME for 4Ps, this is a home visitation program where identified Pantawid Pamilya monitored pupils are visited at home and provided with appropriate interventions.

“Kinakausap namin ‘yung mga magulang. Pinapaalala namin na importante na ang bata ay laging pumapasok para matuto. Lagi kong ginagawang halimbawa ang sarili ko na galing din sa hirap pero nagsikap sa pag-aaral kaya andito na ako ngayon,” she shared.

According to Cynthia Dela Vega, a parent leader of the Pantawid Pamilya in Brgy. Cigaras, the school is able to answer most of the reasons given by parents and children for their absenteeism.

“Nagbibigay po sila ng school supplies, minsan po baon, may feeding program din po sa school,” shared Dela Vega.

Ms. Severa C. Bersola, the school principal, added that they have been in partnership with the barangay council to provide free transportation to their pupils, especially for those living in far-flung sitios and also during the rainy season.

Further, Ms. Cabela is developing strategies so that the parents do not feel afraid to go to school to consult the teachers regarding their children’s performance.

“Noon, talagang hirap kami na papuntahin dito ang mga magulang. Parang nahihiya sila. Pero sinisikap namin na isama sila sa lahat ng activities, at napansin din naming malaki ang naitulong sa kanila ng Family Development Sessions sa pagtuturo sa kanila,” said Ms. Cabela.

She added that the Pantawid Pamilya parents are now very eager to check on their children’s performance and they are also among their most active partners when it comes to school activities such as the Brigada Eskwela, feeding programs and maintaining their Gulayan sa Paaralan.

Meriam Pandral, a Pantawid Pamilya mother-grantee from Brgy. Buenavista, shared that the school also provides livelihood trainings to parents like them.

Trainings include the production of dishwashing liquid, fabric conditioner and rags and are conducted in partnership with the provincial government.

Ms. Cabela shared that these trainings are done to at least give the parents a potential source of extra income so they can better support their children.

Changing people’s perceptions of the program and its beneficiaries

Ms. Cabela shares that in her eight years serving as a focal person for the program, she has witnessed how it has greatly helped the beneficiaries, particularly the children.

“Unang-una, malaki ang impact sa mga bata ng programa,” shared Ms. Cabela, who emphasized the importance of the partnership among institutions including their school, the local government and their private partners in helping the beneficiaries.

She shared that she has seen improvement academically as well as in their health and hygiene.

“Nabago na rin ‘yung attitude ng mga magulang sa pag-aaral ng mga bata. Na-improve din ‘yung komunikasyon nila sa mga guro,” she said.

With these, Ms. Cabela and the rest of the teachers in the school have been protective of the program as well. Aside from supporting the conditions on 85 percent school attendance of children and even pushing to increase the 85 percent target, they also make sure that the public does not see the beneficiaries as lazy.

“Yung mga activities namin katulad ng remedial classes, reading program at recognition sa mga batang 4Ps ay mga paraan namin para matulungan sila na mag-improve,” shared Ms. Cabela, who added that when they perform well in school, they will be able to help their families better when they graduate.

The school makes it a point that the parents are educated, too. Aside from livelihood trainings, they also conduct moral recovery, spiritual and environmental awareness among others.

They also open the school facility for the conduct of the monthly Family Development Sessions because they believe how these sessions are able to help the Pantawid Pamilya parents, which greatly affects their pupils as well.

Ms. Cabela, being the go-to person in their barangay, especially for parents who would want to be a beneficiary of the program, efficiently explains the requirements of the program and refers them to the Municipal Link in case they need more information. This way, misunderstandings about the program will be lessened, at least in their barangay.

No special treatment to beneficiaries, though

“Ang isip n’ya (referring to Ms. Cabela), nakasentro lagi sa 4Ps,” shared Ms. Bersola, who added that Ms. Cabela always consults and gets her approval whenever she thinks of activities for the beneficiaries.

According to Ms. Cabela, her thoughts are always on asking herself “ano pa ang p’wede kong maitulong sa kanila?”

Despite the number of programs and the number of partners they have gained, Ms. Cabela remains fair in selecting beneficiaries of the school’s initiatives.

“Ang mga programa namin, laging pangkalahatan. Hindi namin sini-separate ang mga 4Ps sa iba kasi ayaw din namin na madiscriminate sila ng iba,” shared Ms. Cabela.

She added that most of the time, though, priority is given to Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries especially for initiatives for the indigent pupils such as gift giving. Other activities, on the other hand, such as reading sessions are based on the need of the beneficiary.

Despite this no special treatment rule, they have a 4Ps SHINES BEST program, a quarterly recognition ceremony where they recognize beneficiaries who are achievers, gained perfect attendance and a special award for the 4Ps Reader of the Quarter.

“Itong recognition na ito, motivation na rin namin sa mga bata na mas magpursige pa sa pag-aaral,” shared Ms. Cabela.

Gaining fulfilment from helping others

As a teacher, Ms. Cabela only hopes for the best of her pupils.

With her dedication, she rose from the ranks until she became a Master Teacher II. She also currently serves as the school’s guidance counselor handling more than a thousand enrollees per school year.

All her hard work has paid off through the years as she has been recognized as an Outstanding Teacher of the Department of Education.

Her principal, Ms. Bersola, sees her as an asset.

“Nakita ko talagang worker at doer s’ya. Malaking kawalan s’ya kung aalis s’ya dito sa aming school. Masinop din s’ya sa mga documents,” said Ms. Bersola, who showed a few inches thick compilation of Pantawid Pamilya-related documents since 2011 that Ms. Cabela keeps for her records.

The parents and the pupils appreciate her as well.

“Madali po s’yang lapitan, hindi nagsusuplada, matulungin at hindi ka po talaga maiilang na lapitan s’ya,” shared Amore Dela Cruz, a Pantawid Pamilya mother-grantee from Brgy. Buenavista.

Ms. Cabela admits that with all her tasks inside the school, her time at home is usually being compromised. Thankfully, her family understands her vocation. But what is important is that she improves as a professional and as a person as well.

“Hindi ko maipaliwanag ‘yung pakiramdam. Pero masaya ako, hindi ko nararamdaman ang pagod sa dami ng aking ginagawa. ‘Yun siguro talaga ang nangyayari kapag nasa puso mo ‘yung ginagawa mo,” shared a very positive Ms. Cabela, who only wishes that with the small things she is doing now for the children, they will harvest something bigger not only for themselves but for the next generation.#

Posted in StoriesComments Off on TUTULUNGAN KO ANG MGA TAONG ‘TO

DSWD readies for 3rd round of Listahanan assessment

In pursuit of its goal of maintaining an updated listing of poor families through an objective targeting system, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be conducting the third round of household assessment nationwide during the second half of 2019.  In preparation for this, the Department, through the National Household Targeting Office (NHTO), is conducting preparatory meetings and pre-testing of the forms and operational procedures for the said assessment

Last April 8, the NHTO conducted orientation meeting for the said pretesting of forms and procedures which are scheduled to be done in Parañaque City (April 11) and in Baras, Rizal (April 12). The participants of the orientation meeting were members of the regional program management teams of DSWD Field Offices in the National Capital Region and in Region IV-A.

Listahanan, formerly referred to as the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), is an information management system that aims to identify who and where the poor are.  It involves the conduct of a house to house household assessment in identified rural communities and pockets of poverty in all localities nationwide.  The system’s end goal is to generate a masterlist of poor families in every locality which in turn will be used as basis for selecting potential beneficiaries of programs for the poor by the Department, as well as the local government units and other national government agencies.

The conduct of household assessment to update Listahanan’s masterlist of poor families is done every four years.

In the CALABARZON Region, there are 215,895 poor families based on the last round of assessment (2015).***

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FAITH Colleges offers scholarship for Pantawid Pamilya child-beneficiaries

The First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities (FAITH Colleges) is opening scholarship slots for child-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program from Batangas Province as part of the memorandum of agreement signed recently between the institution and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office IV-A.

FAITH Colleges is a higher education institution located in Tanauan City in the said province offering K-to-12, college and post-baccalaureate education. 

The scholarship program is one of the services being offered by the academe to beneficiaries as part of their corporate social responsibility programs.

They will be opening 40 slots for incoming senior high school enrollees, who are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, under the Academic Track that includes Accountancy, Business and Management; Humanities and Social Sciences, and; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics strands.

They are also offering college scholarship to beneficiaries who will pass their entrance examination.

The scholarship covers monthly school and transportation allowance as well as free dormitory for college students whose residence is far from the campus.

Dir. Annie Mendoza, officer-in-charge of the DSWD Field Office IV-A, acknowledged the partnership with the academe and emphasized the need for more partner-institutions to support the beneficiaries, particularly on the education of the children.

She added that the interventions on the Pantawid Pamilya program focus more on the education of the children as this will provide better opportunities for the household-beneficiaries to improve their level of wellbeing through gaining better employment in the future.

Under the program, each child-beneficiary is supported for their needs on education until he / she finishes high school or becomes 18 years old, whichever comes first. A child in elementary receives PhP300 per month while a child in high school receives PhP500 per month, with a maximum of three child-beneficiaries per household. These grants are provided to the household-beneficiary as long as the child meets 85 percent monthly attendance rate in school.

This April 11, FAITH Colleges will conduct an orientation to at least 500 beneficiaries, which include parents and students, of incoming college students to start the pooling of scholars under this program. These beneficiaries are from Alitagtag, Balete, Tanauan City, Cuenca, Laurel, Lipa City, Malvar, Padre Garcia, Rosario, San Nicolas, Sta. Teresita, Sto. Tomas and Taysan. Another orientation will be scheduled for around 400 other beneficiaries from San Juan town.

Besides the scholarship program, the institution is also exploring other areas where they can engage with the DSWD and its beneficiaries including the conduct of trainings on livelihood, leadership and management and financial literacy as well as nutrition programs, drug prevention campaign, wellness programs and family and youth development sessions.# with reports from JOCuya

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A drug surrenderee’s journey to regain trust and respect in his family and community.

A barangay tanod now, 39-year-old Frederick Catibog is no longer a picture of a person who suffered from drug addiction.

The community residents in Brgy. San Diego in Lian, Batangas Province used to call him an irresponsible husband and father. His family lives in a house made of cardboard, nipa leaves and scavenged galvanized iron sheets, but he is able to afford drugs and alcohol.

People are often aloof to, if not afraid, of him and his family.

Today, Frederick walks the streets of their barangay with his head high. He feels forgiven, respected and more importantly, an important member of their community all because of the support and opportunities provided to him by the government and individuals, which also led him now to dream of a better life for his family.

 “Naghahanapbuhay ako nang maayos at ibinubuhos ko ang lahat ng oras ko para sa pamilya ko. Gusto kong mapagtapos ang mga anak ko at mamulat sila sa magandang asal,” he shared with pride.

Learning from past mistakes

His wife, 29-year-old Jenny, is almost in tears when she recalls how hard it was for their family when Frederick became addicted to his vices.

“Pangingisda ang pinagkakakitaan n’ya dati. Pagdating n’ya sa bahay, magbibigay lang s’ya ng 40 pesos, minsan wala. Kulang na kulang pa iyon para sa pagkain ng apat naming mga anak sa maghapon,” shared Jenny.

According to Frederick, he would spend around a thousand pesos in a day for his vices. When he did not have enough money, he would take construction jobs so he can support his vices.

On the other hand, Jenny would find ways so that their children can have something to fill their stomachs.

“Minsan, naglalabada ako para kumita ng pera. ‘Pag walang wala talaga, nanghihingi ako ng bigas sa mga kapatid n’ya,” shared Jenny, who admitted that she felt bad to her husband who seemed to care more in providing for his vices than their family.

Gratefully, their family became a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in 2011. The cash grants from the program has become a great addition to the health and school needs of their children, especially that she no longer expected anything from her husband.

“Sinisiguro ko pong diretsong naibibili ng gamit ng mga bata at pambayad sa school ang natatanggap namin sa Pantawid. Hindi ko na pinoproblema ang pang-araw-araw nilang baon,” shared Jenny.

Through the monthly Family Development Sessions she attends to as part of her co-responsibilities as a grantee of the program, Jenny has learned a lot of things, particularly in raising their children well.

“Hinikayat ko na po s’yang magbago. Sinasabi ko sa kanya lagi na huwag na n’yang hayaang lumaki pa ang mga anak n’ya na puro pagbibisyo lang n’ya ang nakikita,” she said.

Thankfully, Frederick listened.

Gaining his family’s trust and the community’s respect

Frederick was among the 99 residents in their barangay who surrendered to the police under the anti-illegal drug program of the administration.

For Frederick, that experience had become a life-changer for him, particularly when various interventions, from the national and local government as well as private organizations, were provided to individuals like him.

As part of the anti-illegal drug campaign, the government implements the Yakap Bayan program, an inter-agency collaboration providing rehabilitation, aftercare, transformation and reintegration support for drug surrenderees.

In the town of Lian, drug surrenderees were involved in various activities including cash for work programs and skills training.

“Namulat ako sa magandang asal, at natutunan kong ‘yung ginagastos ko sa maling paraan ay dapat pala ay sa pamilya ko na inilalaan,” he said.

Frederick became a recipient of a boat from a private organization, which he now uses to earn more for the family.

“Pinakamalaking bagay na din po para sa akin ‘yung pinagkatiwalaan akong magsilbi sa barangay namin, ‘yung maging barangay tanod. Hindi ko po iniisip ‘yung sweldo ko dito, ang mahalaga sa akin ay maipakita ko sa mga kabarangay ko na ako ay nagbago na,” he said.

What he is also grateful about is that through his service to the barangay, he works together with the police in ensuring that there will no more be instances of addiction in their community.

Chasing dreams for the children

The family was also a recipient of a housing project of the local government where they were given PhP10,000 worth of construction supplies. Frederick has been very eager to finally complete their new home for his children.

“Tuwang-tuwa po kami ngayon kasi hindi na kami nanghihingi ng pagkain. Lahat ng kinikita n’ya, napupunta na para sa pamilya namin,” shared Jenny, who added that Frederick is also able to spend more time to bond with their children.

Frederick vows to continue working hard to ensure all his children gets a good education.

“Hinding hindi na ako babalik sa dati,” he committed.

Beside him, Jenny is teary-eyed to finally find peace of mind for the future of their children.

“Mas panatag na po ako ngayon na alam kong nagtutulungan kaming mapabuti ang aming mga anak,” she shared.***

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Easing her burdens

Old age may have hit her hard as evidenced by her wrinkled skin and her gray hair; however, 86-year-old Juana Maranan is still a woman who makes way to support herself.

A resident of Brgy. San Diego in Lian town of Batangas Province, Lola Juana still accepts jobs weaving nipa leaves, which are used as materials for huts and houses. When she is younger and is not yet suffering from high blood pressure, she even manages to work as a paid laborer in a farm in their barangay.

Though she knows how to earn money, Lola Juana admits that production has been slow as years go by. As she grows older, she can only make up to two sacks per day, which pays her around PhP200 per sack. What is saddening is that there are fewer and fewer people who use this material for their houses. As a result, she is not guaranteed of a steady source of income.

Despite her age, she continues doing this as she has no children and has been supporting a nephew, who she struggled to discipline because of his vices and abuse of drugs.

They have been living in a cramped house with a damaged roof and no secure window and door.

Making ends meet

Lola Juana admits to having a hard time, particularly in ensuring that they have food every day.

“Nangungutang ako sa tindahan ng bigas para may maisaing ako,” she shared.

She sometimes would ask for her help from her other relatives, but she does not want to bother them all the time because she understands that they have expenses of their own and children to feed as well.

“Noong nakasali ako sa pension, tuwang tuwa ako. ‘Yung 1,500 (pesos), malaking tulong sa akin,” Lola Juana said.

As an indigent senior citizen, Lola Juana became a beneficiary of the Social Pension program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as stipulated in the Senior Citizens Act of 2003. This program provides a monthly stipend of PhP500 to beneficiaries for their daily subsistence and medical needs.

Qualified beneficiaries of this program are senior citizens identified as poor in the Listahanan database of poor households who are frail, sickly and disabled, with no source of regular income, with limited support from relatives, and have no existing pension from other government agencies such as GSIS and SSS.

Previously, senior citizens receive the stipend quarterly, which is equivalent to PhP1,500 per payout period. Starting 2019, however, the DSWD will be distributing the pension per semester (or twice a year).

“Kapag nakakatanggap ako, diretsong pinambabayad ko ng utang sa tindahan,” said Lola Juana, who shared that this is where her pension is spent most of the time.

She said that when she no longer have money, she would go to the sari-sari store to get rice and would promise the owner to pay when she receives her pension.

“Napagkakatiwalaan nila akong pautangin dahil alam nila na may ibabayad talaga ako,” added Lola Juana, who shared that because of this, she no longer worries about their day-to-day food like she used to.

Finding hope for her nephew

Lola Juana has also become more positive with their life since her nephew started changing his lifestyle. He is one of the residents in the barangay who surrendered to the police under the anti-illegal drug program of the administration.

Through various interventions provided to drug surrenderees like him, Lola Juana is grateful.

As part of the anti-illegal drug campaign, the government implements the Yakap Bayan program, an inter-agency collaboration providing rehabilitation, aftercare, transformation and reintegration support for drug surrenderees.

Today, her nephew works as a ‘tanod’ in their barangay. Lola Juana is happy that he is able to at least provide minimal support for their daily food.

At her age, Lola Juana does not dream of anything big anymore. What is important to her is that she lives a happy life without much of the burden she used to have.#

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DSWD to continue the delivery of its programs and services during election period

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clarified today that the agency will continue to deliver its programs and services, including the payout for the cash grants of the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and the implementation of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) even during the election period.

The clarification was made following the Commission on Election’s (COMELEC) newly-released resolution dated April 1, 2019 approving the petition of the Department  for the exemption of its routine and normal expenses from the prohibition against release, disbursement or expenditure of public funds as stated under Section 262 (v.2) of the Omnibus Election Code. DSWD also requested for an authority to continue its ongoing disaster relief, early recovery and rehabilitation efforts, and to undertake possible relief, early recovery and rehabilitation efforts during the election period.

The COMELEC resolution further stated the condition that for programs requiring expenditures, the expenditures are limited to an amount equivalent to one quarter only, for the duration of the election period.

In addition, the Department affirmed that it will not stop its delivery of programs and services to the Filipino people during the elections, and will uphold its mandate to provide effective, efficient, and transparent services.

Lastly, the DSWD also assured the public that it will properly monitor its implementation of programs and services to prevent them from being used by politicians during their campaigns for the 2019 election. ###

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