The women who changed Laurente

Laurente is utterly poor and several persons can attest to this.

Teresita lived through the pains of indigence. She lived in a community with profuse natural endowments but few opportunities. As a fish vendor, she even traveled to other villages to increase her sales. She usually carried a bucketful of fish and sometimes traversed a slick and muddy foot path during the rainy days which turned out to be a non-profitable trade for the drenched seller.

“Dati po, naga buy and sell po ako. Sus na sakit, mam. May surusuknong ako na balde. Pag mahalnas, nadudulas po ako. Tirigaya! Purot ko naman su mga sira. Ilaog ko naman sa balde [I used to buy and sell. Gosh, it was difficult! I am carrying a pail. The path was slippery, I slipped and stumbled. I just collected the fish and returned to its container],” she explained in zeal while she gestured her mishap.

Teresita also added that it embarrassed her to push for a sale with the mud-spattered fish on hand. With this, she only got a very low profit out of the fish supplies she hauled.

The bounty of fish in their coastal community did not guarantee Teresita and her fellow fishermen a dependable livelihood for their families. Even its transportation to town along with agricultural goods is considered to be a constraint for their business because they lack an access road to the town proper. Some of the buyers who came from town even haggled for a lower price because of the distance and travel time.

In the same neighborhood, another woman commiserated Teresita who likely relates to her predicaments. Mary Jane is one of those few women in their community who went to high school back in 1990’s. She got herself a boarding house near San Pascual National High School to pursue her formal education. For four years, she was accustomed to going on foot for one and a half hours from their village to town. She departed home on Sundays and returned Friday afternoon to spend the weekend with her family.

Mary Jane said they would seek shorter routes to cut the travel time despite of unforeseen harm along the way. Consequently, she and her friends would deal with bothersome cows as they scurried and crossed the pasture to hardly avoid them. However, there were instances they could no longer flee when they already provoked the cattle.

“Tiglalamag kami kang baka [Cows run after us],” she added.

Mary Jane vividly reminisced her brief encounters with furious cows that became part of her youth until she got a hold of her diploma in 1992. Contrary to the popular belief of their neighbors with low regard on education, her parents sent her to school to finish her studies.

She claimed that most of the residents in their community cannot afford to send their kids to school. Most graduates of elementary no longer step high school because it is expensive and distant from their village. Parents would make an excuse that their income is only enough to feed their families in which Teresita, an elementary graduate, could also affirm.

Another mother asserted this to be true. Gregoria had the same situation with Mary Jane. She admitted that it was a great struggle to complete her studies.

Similarly, Elizabeth also recounted how her fellow mothers would go a long way to reach the rural health center in town. She felt the troubles of pregnant women who also took the same route on foot just to avail of medical services they need.

Being a community health worker since 2009, she said that they lack the facility to accommodate the people in their small and dilapidated health center. Only ten people can come in and the rest of them would wait outside.

“Pagkasadit-sadit kang samuyang health center. Masikip talaga siya [Our health center is very small. It’s really crowded,” she described.

Improved well-being
When the opportunity came to their village, the people never wasted the chance.

The stories of Teresita, Mary Jane, Gregoria and Elizabeth propelled them to become even more participative and active to attain prosperity for their families and community.

Luckily, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of DSWD came in 2009 investing in the health and education of poor households, particularly of children aged 0-18 years old that provides cash grants to compliant beneficiaries.

Teresita and Gregoria were one of those qualified beneficiaries molded by Pantawid Pamilya to become responsible parents. They have highly recognized the value of health care for their kids.

“Naaraman ko po kung malnourished ang aki ko ta regular kami magpacheckup [I am aware if my child is malnourished because we go to regular checkups],” Teresita said.

Aside from the cash grant that augmented their children’s allowances to sustain their daily needs and keep them in school, Teresita and Gregoria together with other beneficiaries attended monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS) where educational, interpersonal, interactive and adult learning engagement are discussed to empower and strengthen the relationship and ties among family members and the community.

“Grabe samuya ang tabang ki 4Ps (referring to Pantawid Pamilya). Natugunan ang sa health, edukasyon asin dakol nabago sa sakuyang sa sadiri dahil sa FDS [Pantawid Pamilya greatly helped us. Health and educational needs are met and I changed myself in many ways because of FDS],” Gregoria said.

She also added that she was able to buy decent clothing, school supplies and black shoes for her children replacing the tattered and old ones.

Moreover, social infrastructures were constructed with the funding support from DSWD and other development partners.

The four women were some of the volunteers under the community implementation team of KALAHI CIDSS, a successful poverty-reduction project of DSWD using citizen participation.

Through the PODER 5, a Spanish-funded KALAHI CIDSS project responding to health needs, they were able to fully implement and complete the construction of their new health center in 2010. Likewise, the construction of the concrete pathway in 2012 under PODER 7 was realized through the concerted efforts of the local residents, barangay council and volunteers.

Moreover, the construction of their 410 meter-long concrete pathway implemented through Payapa at Masaganag Pamayanan (PAMANA), another KALAHI CIDSS modality funded by Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), responded to their hopes of an access road. At present, an additional 210-meter concrete pathway will be constructed under the same modality.

Thus, travel time is now reduced into thirty minutes by riding motorbikes or tricycles.

Fishermen can now sell their products in the market for a more competitive price than before. Agricultural products are hauled easily to the public market and other barangays. More children are attending high school and there is ease of commuting pregnant and sick people who need special medical care.

The community heroes

“Dae matatapos ang proyekto kung dae kami nagkasararo [The project will not be completed unless we come together],” Mary Jane revealed.

The implementation and construction of the concrete pathway and health center was entrusted to its residents under the care of its volunteers.

Being elected as one of the volunteers to take the lead, Teresita, Mary Jane, Gregoria and Elizabeth never failed their neighbors. They never rejected the offer knowing that they will not receive any additional income except that they will leave a mark of change in their community.

“Magadan man ako, marurumduman ninda [her children], si mama palan nagtabang diyan [Even if I die, they will remember that it’s their mother who helped out],” Gregoria said.

Aside from bulky paper works performed by the volunteers for their compliance to the project completion, Gregoria and her children rendered a four-day free labor service during the construction of their pathway in 2013.

“Ining pathway, kung maagi ako, marumduman ko na saro ako jan sa nagtabang, pati mga aki ko [If walk on our pathway, I will remember my children and I extended our assistance]” she added.

On top of being a mother, they devoted a great amount of their time in trainings and seminars outside their community to get acquainted on how to run and implement a community infrastructure. Tired but they never wavered.

“Ginibo mi ang tama kahit anong nagabot na problema para ingatan ang tiwala ning mga tawo [We’ve done what is right despite of problems to keep the people’s trust],” Elizabeth said.

She was amused to learn that one cubic meter of sand is equal to around 56 regular [biscuit] cans. This simple computation made her more knowledgeable in ensuring the quality of their project.

On the other hand, there were few inevitable setbacks but it did not dispirit Gregoria. One of which was to deal with some stubborn people.

“Natuto ako magdara ning tawo na may iba-ibang attitude [I learned to handle people with different attitudes],” she said.

According to Elizabeth, they focused not on the problems but they looked on the brighter side of life. They sought for solutions to resolve problems that may delay the implementation of their project.

Teresita Talisic, Mary Jane Bani, Gregoria Rudina and Elizabeth Marquez are the few of those committed volunteers who served the people of and sacrificed for Laurente.

Barangay Laurente is one of the 22 barangays of San Pascual, Masbate considered as poor. At present, Laurente is home to 420 households. Based on the 2011 Listahan data, there are 276 poor households who are recipients of Pantawid Pamilya and there are now 55 beneficiaries of Sustainable Livelihood Program.

Now, they can take full advantage of their natural resources with the improved access to basic social services.

With the improved access road, Teresita can now sell her fish riding in a motorcycle while Mary Jane’s children can just commute in a tricycle to San Pascual National High School. Elizabeth’s grandchildren can also avail of the basic health care services in a more conducive health facility.

“Kayang-kaya na ning Brgy. Laurente na magtindog bilang sarong komunidad para ipadagos ang paguswag [Brgy. Laurente can now stand as a community to continue our development],” Mary Jane said in confidence.

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Safer streets for Bicolanos, lampposts illuminate 85 communities

Legazpi City— More than 23,000 households benefit from streetlights in 85 baranagays all over Bicol region funded under PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA), another poverty-reduction project of the Philippine government under DSWD, one of its implementing agencies.

From 2011 to present, there are 2,661 streetlights installed in nine (9) municipalities providing homes security and safer travel for the public. 273 of which are solar powered and the rest are conventional ones generating electricity from the power grid.

“Just like in KALAHI CIDSS–NCDDP, community-driven development (CDD) approach is employed in the PAMANA project which consults the people in the communities on how peace and development can be promoted and build resilient communities,” Arnel Garcia, regional director of DSWD Field Office V, said.

PAMANA Project is another modality of KALAHI CIDSS–NCDDP providing an annual block grant of Php300,000 per barangay wherein a village implements the said project for three consecutive years to deliver basic goods and services in conflict-affected communities.

Streetlights are one of the community-identified interventions along with basic social services, basic access infrastructures and common service facilities in PAMANA project.

On the other hand, due to Typhoon Glenda that pounded the southern part of Bicol region, 247 lampposts were reported to be damaged.

According to Dir. Garcia, the communities are now lobbying with their respective local government units (LGUs) for the repair of the said streetlights. And as part of the communities’ commitment for the project’s sustainability, they will intensify the implementation of the approved operations and maintenance plan.

Communities pursue bright paths
The municipality of Labo in Camarines Norte, is one of the recipients of the PAMANA project. Their small agricultural village of Mabilo II is one of those who needed lighted streets to maintain peace and order.

“Maliwanag na ang aming kalsada. Safe na kami kahit maglakad pa sa gabi [Our streets are lighted. We can safely stroll at night],” Joana Lagarteja, a locale of Mabilo II, enthused about their newly erected lampposts.

In addition to 16 units of barangay local government unit (BLGU)-funded streetlights, 38 posts were completed last June where greater area of Mabilo II is now illuminated.

According to Jonathan Fruto, the barangay captain of Mabilo II, the BLGU provided a cash counterpart of Php90,000.00 for their streetlights and provided a monthly budget of Php 2,500.00 for its operations and maintenance. He also said that the barangay police officers can quickly respond to residents who summon them for help now that they have additional streetlamps.

However, when residents conducted a community investigation which preceded the installation of PAMANA-funded streetlights, it revealed that 26.9% of Mabilo’s 348 total households are victims of criminal activities wherein robbery is rampant. Goods, agricultural products and properties are stolen, hence, affected the income of the people. Bystanders who shroud themselves in the dark to drink or prowl also harm students and commuters.

Joana, also one of the community volunteers who helped in completing their streetlights, fretted these people in their neighbourhood. She said that unidentified individuals throw stones at people who just pass by.

Confronted with the present condition of the community, Joana, a volunteer of PAMANA and KALAHI CIDSS NCDDP since 2012, adamantly pursued the completion of their streetlights-a solution that will address the problem.

She said that despite of being pregnant during the implementation period, she continued as a volunteer and complied with all the documentary requirements to get funding for and complete their streetlights. She even convinced her co-volunteers to participate in the activities required by the project.

“Ang sa akin lang ay makatulong sa ibang tao. Sinasabi ko parati sa kanila na isa kami sa nakatulong para mapaunlad an aming barangay [My only intention is to help others. I always tell them that we contribute to the development of our barangay],”she added.

Joana is also the Barangay Health Worker, a Parent Leader of Panatwid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and soon to be a mother of three. She has different roles to play but manages her time wisely. She did not give up her stint as a volunteer of PAMANA and KALAHI CIDSS–NCDDP because she can serve the people without expecting anything in return for the common good of all.

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DSWD Field Office V urgently needs 372 field workers

Legazpi City─ The DSWD here in Region V still accepts application of 372 field workers to be assigned anywhere in Bicol under the expansion of KALAHI CIDSS NCDDP (formerly KALAHI CIDSS), a successful poverty-reduction program in the Philippines.

“KALAHI CIDSS NCDDP will commence sometime in September and we are making our best effort to complete the recruitment process for this program by the end of August,” Arnel B. Garcia, director of DSWD Field Office V, said.

DSWD is still accepting application until August 15, 2014 for the following municipal-based workers:

Positions Quantity Salary Grade Minimum Qualification Standards
Area Coordinators 48 18 (Php31,351.00) Education: Graduate of any 4 year course relevant to social developmentExperience:5 years of relevant, progressive work experience, of which:3 years should be in a supervisory or semi-managerial capacity,3 years should be in development assistance projects;Training:            40 Hrs. of relevant training Gender & Development related training a plus.

 

Others: Demonstrated leadership and project management capabilities

Effective verbal and written communication skills

Computer literate in MS Office applications

Deputy Area Coordinators 92 17 (Php29,028.00) Education: Graduate of Civil Engineering course, preferably a licensed Civil EngineerExperience: Five years of relevant experience in rural or community-based infrastructure development, three (3) years of which in foreign assisted development projectsTraining: Preferably with relevant technical trainings on water supply systems, roads and bridges, procurement, and other social infrastructureOthers:Demonstrated competencies in construction and contract managementEffective verbal and written communication skillsComputer literate in MS Office applications
Municipal Financial Analysts 70 13 (Php21,436.00) Education: Business graduate or preferably AccountancyExperience: At least 1 year relevant work experienceOthers:             Computer literateCan work well with others e.g. self-confident, assertive, independent-minded

Out of some 1500 applicants for community facilitators who applied since February, 495 passed the written examination and will be notified for the panel interview by Human Resource and Development personnel through text/call anytime this week. DSWD will still entertain application for the aforementioned until August 15, 2014. Listed below are the details:

Position Quantity Salary Grade Minimum Qualification Standards
Community Facilitators 162 13 (php21,436.00) Education: Graduate of any 4 year course relevant to social developmentExperience: Two (2) years of relevant, progressive work experience in development assistance projectsTraining: At least four (4) hours of relevant training experience.Others: Demonstrated capabilities in community organizing and social facilitation/mobilization 

Effective verbal and written communication skills

Computer literate in MS Office applications

Moreover, DSWD is also accepting application of region-based staff until August 11, 2014 for the following positions:

Positions Quantity Salary Grade Minimum Qualification Standards
Regional Procurement Officer 1 22 (Php42,652.00) Education: Bachelor’s degree in Civil EngineeringExperience: At least five (5) years work experience in social development program/project with procurement related function; three (3) years of which in foreign assisted projects; facilitated procurement activities using the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other international funding institution (IFI) including the RA 9184. Experience in community-based procurement is an advantage.Training: 48 hours of relevant procurement training, must be proficient with computer application using MS Wword, Excel, Powerpoint, Access and other applicable software. 

Eligibility: Preferably licensed engineer

Regional Training Assistant 1 11 (Php18,549.00) Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science or EducationExperience: Three (3) years of training experience in community focused development work, especially adult educationOthers: Strong group facilitation skills, competency in the following areas: Communication/Human Relations, Administrative Skills, Organization Development Skills
Community Development Officers (CDO) II 8 15 (Php24,887.00) Education: Bachelor’s degree in Community Development, Anthropology, Public Administration, Social Work, or any of the Social Science, Post-graduate degree or units in social science, sociology, anthropology, community development, development research, project management, and/or development studies will be an advantage.Experience: At least two (2) years of combined, progressive experience in project management, community organizing and community development strategies/methodologies. Experience in participatory local governance, community-based resource management, community-based disaster risk reduction management, and conflict sensitivity and peace building, and IP sensitivity will be an advantage. Experience in foreign assisted projects will also be an advantage.Training: At least 40 hours of relevant training in project management, community organizing, and community development approaches, strategies/methodologies, and gender and development, Community-based resource management, community-based disaster risk reduction management, conflict sensitivity, peace building or IP and ICC engagement. 

Others: Proficiency in word processing and database applications (MS Office).

Excellent in written and verbal communication skills, proficient in the major dialect of the region to which s/he will be assigned.

Other region-based vacancies will also be announced soon.

Interested applicants should submit the following requirements:

  1. Application letter addressed to Dir. Arnel B. Garcia, CESO II
  2. Comprehensive resume with 2×2 ID picture and brief job description of positions handled with previous employers
  3. Transcript of Records (Photocopy only)

All workers who will be hired for KALAHI CIDSS─NCDDP shall be based on Contract of Service (COS) or Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The COS or MOA refers to the agreement entered into by and between the DSWD and the party being hired or the worker. It defines the terms of engagement between two parties and specifies among others the type of service, expected outputs required of the position, compensation, period covered, benefits (if any) and fund source.

The agency had previously announced the vacancy last March to pool and pre-evaluates eligible candidates through paper screening. DSWD targets to hire a total of 1,271 field workers by the end of the quarter.

For concerns about KALAHI CIDSS─NCDDP hiring, applicants can call HRD through 480.0381/480.0547 and look for Ms. Irish Mendez.

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DSWD 5 hosts songwriting contest on community-driven development

The DSWD Field Office V asks all talented Bicolano musicians and bands to write a song with a central theme on community-driven development (CDD), a successful approach in poverty-reduction, in connection with the Songwriting Contest of the agency to be conducted this October 18.

All composers are enjoined to create a theme song based on the CDD strategy of KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP and Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) programs implemented here in Bicol since 2003. Song entries must incite public’s interest to build appreciation and support towards the programs.

Moreover, contest is open to all Bicolano amateur and professional songwriters with a band who will interpret the composition. The entry form and contest mechanics can be downloaded via DSWD regional website using the link: http://www.fo5.dswd.gov.ph/downloads/.

The selection of the winning theme song will be based on originality, public appeal, musical composition and lyrics and its relevance to the theme.

“We would like to engage the public to appreciate CDD by coming up with a song which simplifies the message of success in engaging ordinary citizens to participate in the planning, implementation and management of resources for local development,” Dir. Arnel Garcia said.

The deadline of submission of entries is on September 17, 2014. There will be an initial screening on September 30, 2014 to identify the top five (5) qualifiers for the live performance during the grand finals which is scheduled on October 18, 2014 to be held in Legazpi City.

The grand winner will record their original composition with DSWD on top of the cash prize of Php30,000.00. The other top four (4) qualifiers will receive a consolation prize of Php5,000.00. The songs featured in DSWD 5’s Facebook fan page with the most number of likes will also receive Php5,000.00.

For other details of the contest, please call/text Ms. Jesseshan B. Marbella of KALAHI CIDSS NCDDP through 09173747003 or (052)4805754.

What is KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP and PAMANA?
KALAHI CIDSS which stands for Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, puts the power back in the hands of the people by giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions on locally identified options for development and manage resources to implement sub-projects that address needs identified by communities themselves. Consequently, the National Community-Driven Development Program (NCDDP) scales-up CDD which was used and has been proven effective by KALAI CIDSS in its past 11 years of implementation in Bicol and in the Philippines as a whole. The program is now called KALAHI CIDSS NCDDP.

On the other hand, PAMANA project under its second pillar is implemented by DSWD to facilitate the delivery of basic services at the community level through CDD, and community livelihood interventions.

Both KALAHI CIDSS NCDDP and PAMANA aim to reduce poverty, empower communities and improve local governance.

In these programs, community residents consensually decide on what type of poverty-reduction projects they prioritize for funding based from the collective analysis of their needs. Community proposals can vary from public goods/access projects, enterprise or livelihood projects or human development projects.

KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP is one of the core social protection programs of DSWD along with Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid) and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

 

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A DSWD beneficiary finds fulfillment in volunteering

Michelle dela Torre, a Pantawid Pamilya parent leader and a KALAHI CIDSS volunteer in Brgy. Rawis, Legazpi City. She is also a beneficiary of the development center that will become a venue for livelihood opportunities that was constructed through KALAHI CIDSS project with a total project cost of Php1.1 million. She was trained to become one of the qualified beneficiaries to train on dressmaking.

Michelle should’ve never cared. She could’ve stayed inside their humble abode and minded her own family. However, she was brought by destiny to serve others.

Michelle dela Torre is one of the few volunteers in Brgy. Rawis, Legazpi City. Unlike other residents, she has actively participated in community activities under government programs.

It all started when she was elected as the Parent Leader (PL) in their sitio for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of DSWD in 2011. Out of gratitude to those who voted for her during the community assembly, she accepted it and admitted that she was clueless about it.

She said that as she became aware of the PL’s roles, she never expected that it will be a difficult task. She could’ve finished off her tagalong pocket book or sit around the corner after a hard day’s work at home.

It was even difficult to convince her husband to support her with this new endeavor. Aside from being a housekeeper, a mother of three and a wife, Michelle got herself involved in meetings and seminars which entailed time apart from her family.

It even took long conversations before she persuaded her husband to support her. After a while, she discovered her purpose and gave her husband the best justification.

“Ang interes ko makatabang. Ang kaogmahan ko yaon sa paguswag kang komunidad, [my interest is to help. My happiness is in the progress of our community]” she explained to him.

Michelle assured him that her family is her top priority. Gradually, her husband learned to understand this.

As a parent leader
Michelle revealed that it was her first time to engage in community work and function as a leader. She has no similar experience except at home. With the capability building support provided by the program, she was able to make use of her full potentials to others. This paved way to completely understand her function as the head of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

She explained that her main role was to monitor about 30 beneficiaries in Purok 3. Michelle said that this is a large number for a group but she was able to manage issues specially when it comes to encouraging others to perform their responsibilities as parents.

“Importante and pagururon [Communication is important],”she said.

She developed a more matured way of handling complex situations. She ensured that everyone involved in the problem would get the explanation they deserve. Michelle remained subtle and calm rather than get rough about it.

All of these experiences molded Michelle to become an effective leader at home and in the community.

On the other hand, her family receives Php2,800.00 monthly under the said program. Applying all the things she learned from the regular meetings and trainings, she valued the grant she received from the government by safeguarding her kids’ future through responsible parenting.
A principled procurement volunteer
Michelle thought that being a PL was tough until KALAHI CIDSS project came in 2013. Again, she was elected as the procurement team head through the barangay assembly.

After the consensual decision from its residents to build a livelihood center amounting to Php1.1 million in solving unemployment in Rawis, Michelle came in as a volunteer.

She again admitted that she had no idea how the procurement works but she accepted it wholeheartedly knowing that she will learn about it along the way. DSWD provided the training Michelle needed to perform her task as the procurement officer. With the assistance of DSWD personnel, she became more confident in performing her tasks.

Being the head of the procurement team was more complicated than ever. From the public announcement of invitation to quote or to bid, awarding of contracts, contract implementation to payment to suppliers, contractors and local workers, Michelle should ensure that transparency was observed.

Even the Community Facilitator, Maria Melissa B. Sanchez, said that she did her job very well.

Yet, there were attempts of some suppliers to influence the result of the procurement. However, she remained immovable and scrupulous of her role. She said that this was the most critical part of implementing the project.

“Pinaagi ko sa tamang proseso [I followed the correct procedure],”she added.

One of her co-volunteer Leizle A. Corpuz, described Michelle as friendly, intelligent in handling the team and was focused in attaining the project’s success.

After that incident, she realized that even an ordinary person like her, could actually contribute to the elimination of corruption by doing her role as a volunteer with integrity.

“Maski grabe pagtios, dae yan excuse na magibo ki sala [Being poor does not exempt you from wrongdoings],” she explained.

She also applauded the project because of the opportunity given to local residents in managing their resources in solving poverty issues.

“Gusto ko ang prinsipyo ng KALAHI CIDSS [I like with the principles of KALAHI CIDSS],” she said.

On top of the development center, qualified beneficiaries were provided 5 units of padyak (cycle rickshaw), two non-motorized boats and skills training on dressmaking.

Michelle also trained for 270 hours (almost a month) on dressmaking and a member of the cooperative who will benefit the development center.

Discoveries
Being a mother since 2000, Michelle perfected household management and parenting. But she never imagined that a life full of challenges was just waiting for her outside.

Owning a convenience store and junk shop, Michelle could’ve focused her time on their business but she continued her volunteering up to now.

Though her engagement was fortuitous, she realized that it was more than delivering what was expected.

“Nabuksan ang kaisipan ko na hindi lang dapat nakafocus sa bahay kundi dapat aware ka din sa mga nagyayari sa barangay mo at sa mga proyekto na binibigay sa komunidad [I found out that my focus should not only be at home but also be aware of what’s happening in your community and its projects],”she said.

Michelle said that everybody in the village should participate because they can get free seminars, workshops and avail of services sponsored by the government.

Her concern was not only her family but also the general welfare of the community.

Self-Fulfillment
She wanted to be a teacher but cannot afford to be one.

Her father died when she was a sophomore and after graduating high school, she went to Manila and tried different kinds of jobs like becoming a saleslady and even a maid. She went back home after two years and settled in Legazpi City for good. In 1995, she got married.

Being known for being a high school graduate, her in-laws always disproved of her because her husband was a college graduate. Despite of the pains and belittling, Michelle proved her worth.

She gained her confidence through government projects and programs. As a very optimistic woman, she did not give up even during the hardest time of becoming a volunteer. She faced it with might and found solutions to dilemmas.

The most significant change to her was she had gained the trust of others. After all the capability building activities she went through, Michelle increased her knowledge while enjoying the activities with friends and neighbors. Her circle of friends also increased because of these.

Through building her self-worth, she was able to speak with high ranking officials and wealthy individuals that she thought she could never do before.

“Garu man sana ako nagkaugwang college degree [It’s just like having a college degree],”she said and burst into laughter while fighting her tears back.

With this being said, her in-laws became proud of her and even bragged of her contributions in the community. In spite of her accomplishments, Michelle chose to stay humble and lived low-key.

With so much work being done in the community, she envisioned that their development center’s success would solely rely on how the people would manage it.

“Samuya ini kaya may pagmakulog kami digdi [this is ours so we will take good care of it],”she said.

To Michelle, a volunteer is someone who helps the community and expects nothing in return. In the community where teamwork is nurtured, she said that for the project to become successful, everyone should participate and complete their designated tasks. In the end, it is the people in the community that will benefit all the resources from the government if put into good use.

She cared for the general welfare of her neighbors. She went outside to discover the beauty of change in her and in the community. ###nelsonosialjr

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Australian officials conduct study visit to DSWD projects in Bicol

Australian Embassy officials visit DSWD project sites of KALAHI CIDSS in Pilar and Donsol in Sorsogon and Legazpi City last May 26 and 27, respectively. (L-R) Rosella Agcaoili (senior program officer), Australian Ambassador David Dutton, Robyn Piti (Counselor for peace and education ) during a study visit in Brgy. Esperanza, Pilar, Sorsogon last May 26.

A two-day community visit which commenced last May 26 was undertaken by Australian Embassy officials headed by Ambassador David Dutton to DSWD project sites funded by Australian government in Bicol.

Joining the ambassador were Rosella Agcaoili (senior program officer) and Robyn Piti (counselor for peace and education).

The said group visited Pilar, Donsol and Legazpi City wherein they have interviewed community-implementers and beneficiaries of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI CIDSS), Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), the social protection programs of DSWD which have been long supported by the Australian government.

The visit provided the opportunity to Australian visitors the information on how the said programs/projects are being implemented and converged at the community level and how these contributed to local growth and personal development.

According to DSWD FO V Dir. Garcia, the officials of the Australian Embassy learned directly from the beneficiaries and implementers of the community being served by DSWD.

“In particular, I’ve learned the community-driven development approach [of KALAHI CIDSS] is really interesting. This is new to me because I’m still learning our work here,” Ambassador Dutton said.

During the visit in Bitano last May 27, the team

Moreover, the Senior Australian Embassy officials were able to observe the conduct of the Family Development Session (FDS) and interact with the beneficiaries in Brgy. Esperanza, Pilar and Brgy. Pangpang in Donsol.

Similarly, the officials interviewed the community-implementers on how they managed and constructed the Australian-supported day care centers and school buildings under KALAHI CIDSS project in the same barangays.

“Natupad yung pangarap naming na makakuha ng proyekto sa KALAHI CIDSS. Maayos at maganda na ang day care center namin [Our dream to get a KALAHI CIDSS project came true. We now have a clean and orderly day care center],” Marites Triñanes, a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary said.

Australian government through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has already provided a total grant of Php45,332,272.75 to complete the construction of 45 school buildings and day care centers which is being benefited by 14,597 household beneficiaries in seven (7) municipalities in Bicol. These municipalities are Pilar, Claveria, Cataingan, Palanas, Manito, Rapu-Rapu and Donsol which previously implemented KALAHI CIDSS, however, certain communities were not prioritized under the project.

“For Australian government, education is the highest priority. In our development work in the Philippines, we’ve been supporting programs promoting education,” he added.

Mayor Jospehine Alcantara of Donsol had agreed to Ambassador Dutton and said that she strongly supports programs for education that’s why she highly value KALAHI CIDSS project in Donsol.

Meanwhile, the local government unit (LGU) of Pilar headed by Mayor Dennis Reyes, assured the Australian donors that all community projects are in good hands.

“We will take care of the repairs in partnership with the barangay LGUs. If the barangay’s funds are already exhausted, we will provide resource augmentation,” he said.

Ambassador Dutton personally thanked the communities they visited during the two-day trip in Bicol.

“It is great to come to a classroom and see what real difference it makes to people’s lives,” he said.

The Australian government played a fundamental role in the inception of the Pantawid Pamilya in 2008 and has continuously provided support in further enhancing the implementation of the Program. As part of the exit strategy for the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries, Australia has likewise supported SLP to help ensure that families will be able to continue the education of their children.

Gil Tuparan, Senior Technical Officer of DSWD Central Office who was joined by DSWD regional staff namely Assistant Regional Director for Operations Corazon Miña, KALAHI CIDSS Project Coordinator Jaygee Masanque, KALAHI CIDSS Engineer Rene Barba, SLP External Relations Officer Earl Cecilio, Convergence focal person Marilou Palacio and Pantawid Pamilya Provincial Link Cecil Gubot were also present during the said activity.

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DSWD warns LGUs against false KALAHI CIDSS expansion representatives

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) warns local chief executives (LCEs) and other government officials against people falsely identifying themselves as employees or representatives of DSWD negotiating for KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community-Driven Development Program).

Reports have reached the Department that there are individuals claiming to be employees or representatives of DSWD who approached LCEs to facilitate their inclusion and enrollment in KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP in exchange for a broker’s fee.

The DSWD wishes to clarify that it has not authorized any individual or entity to perform “brokering” functions for the Department. LCEs are not required to pay fees in order to be evaluated and included in KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP. Only the Regional Director and the Assistant Regional Director for Operations in DSWD Field Offices have the authority to inform and advise the LGUs within their region, assess their readiness to implement the program, and perform all related matters concerning engagement with LGUs, together with their team of project staff.

Certain eligibility criteria involving poverty incidence and being affected by TS Yolanda were set by KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP to identify which municipalities will be included in the program.

DSWD Field Office V Director Arnel Garcia advised local government units (LGUs) and the public to directly inform him if they have encountered similar issues. They are requested to be vigilant about attempts to deceive them on the implementation of KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP and other DSWD programs to help it take necessary legal steps against any person, group or organization misrepresenting the government.

LGUs are advised to contact the DSWD Regional Director to confirm if they are included in the eligible municipalities in KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP.

KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP is a DSWD poverty reduction program that uses the community-driven development (CDD) approach. It aims to empower communities to have access to basic services and to participate in inclusive local planning and budgeting.

DSWD will cover 92 municipal LGUs in Region V in KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP for 2014. DSWD FO V is in the process of conducting preliminary activities in preparation for the implementation of the program and is expected to lead its regional grand launching by third quarter. It is currently hiring field workers in preparation for the program expansion.

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DSWD urges full LGU support to community-driven development projects

DSWD FO V Dir. Arnel Garcia discusses the regional target of KALAHI CIDSS project in front of local government officials headed by their mayors last May 13, 2014 during the Regional Accountability Reporting in Legazpi City.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office V Director Arnel Garcia urged the local government units (LGUs) through its mayors to continuously support the implementation of KALAHI-CIDSS.

During the Regional Accountability Reporting last May 13, 2014 in Legazpi City, Dir. Garcia stressed the crucial role of the LGUs in achieving the regional target of Bicol to complete the community-proposed subprojects.

“All implementing LGUs are responsible to the regional target of DSWD considering that Bicol is one of the regions with the largest coverage of KALAHI-CIDSS nationwide,” Dir. Garcia said.

He reminded the municipal LGUs’ commitment to deliver the expected 30% local counterpart contribution of the annual total project cost is required by KALAHI CIDSS to meet its commitment for the project.

“The LGUs need to fully deliver their financial counterpart so that the grant will be downloaded to the community and complete the implementation of their subprojects,” he added.

The purpose of the Regional Accountability Reporting is to gauge the LGUs’ performance, sum up the experiences of the first year of KALAHI-CIDSS implementation, gain insights on good practices, and set directions and agreements for 2015, which is when the Project will end. The activity evaluated the performance of the municipalities that are implementing KALAHI-CIDSS with funding support from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent US foreign aid agency.

KALAHI-CIDSS follows a strict timeline of activities, with each project cycle expected to run for roughly one year. The first year of implementation of the Project ended this March while the second and third is expected to be completed in August 2014 and 2015, respectively.

“There is an overlapping implementation of the project’s cycles so we need the commitment of our stakeholders to support DSWD and KALAHI-CIDSS to complete the subprojects within the given timeline,” Dir. Garcia said.

In response to the challenge posed by DSWD, the fifteen LGUs funded by MCC assured the Regional Project Management Office (RPMO) of KALAHI-CIDSS to complete the remaining community subprojects by August.

The fifteen municipalities funded by MCC are Libmanan, Cabusao, Gainza, Labo, Baao, Ocampo, Ragay, Basud, San Vicente, Gigmoto, Viga, Bato, Bula, Bombon and Caramoan. These will be implementing KALAHI-CIDSS for three years from 2012.

To date, the partnership between KALAHI-CIDSS and MCC has funded 334 community-proposed subprojects such as day care centers, concrete pathways, water systems, classrooms and other similar small-scale infrastructure. It has provided about Php600 million grant to 15 municipal LGUs. MCC is only one of the development partners by KALAHI CIDSS aside from Australian Aid, World Bank and AECID.

Present during the meeting were Mayors Melquides Gaite of Baao, Francis Ong of San Vicente, Marilyn Jimenez of Libmanan, Ma. Luisa Angeles of Bombon and Constantino Cordial of Caramoan, who were joined by their planning officers, budget officers, accountants and social welfare officers.

“DSWD provides the resources, technical assistance, logistical support, capacity building and implementation support so I am confident that they can deliver their commitment in support to the project completion in order for the communities to harness the benefits they can get from these subprojects,” he said.

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