LGU Sta. Teresita uses NHTS database for Social Protection Programs

LGU Sta. Teresita together with their beneficiaries during the distribution of facilities in their Bawat Bahay, May Kubeta program.

The municipal government of Sta. Teresita, Cagayan has been using the data-base of the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) to identify the beneficiaries of their social protection programs.

Ms. Marivic T. Viesta, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer said that the data-base which includes the list of poor households in the region and other types of related data was used in two of their programs – “Bawat Bahay, May Kubeta” and Bahay Mo, Patitibayin Ko”. The 1st involved the provision of materials such as toilet bowls, cement and mixed gravel for the construction of sanitary toilets which benefited 31 poor households in barangays Aridowen, Caniugan, Villa, Simbaluca and Simpatuyo. The 2nd entailed the furnishing of materials such as plywood, nails and galvanized iron sheets to improve the houses of 20 poor households.

“The two programs were implemented last year, but we will continue them as long as we could again find deserving beneficiaries thru the NHTS data-base.”, Ms. Viesta said.

Using the NHTS data base, LGU Sta. Teresita was able to identify 25 beneficiaries from the barangays Caniugan, Centro East and West, Buyun, Luga, Simbaluca and Simpatuyo for the DSWD Cash for work program wherein the beneficiaries cleaned the public market, national high way, canals, municipal park and a lot more.

“The NHTS data-base is really useful for us in choosing deserving beneficiaries of our programs. This way we can give assistance of the real poor.”, Viesta added.

NHTS is a special project of the DSWD that has identified who and where the poor are.(Ailyn P. Aglaua, Administrative Assistant V, NHTS-PR)

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POVERTY IS JUST A 7-LETTER WORD

The municipality of Naguilian in the province of Isabela is home to 1, 119 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. Since the program landed on their tranquil and modest municipality, positive changes can be seen.

Yes, the program aims to break the intergeneration cycle of poverty, so it invests in the health and education of poor Filipino children aged 0-14 years old. Records show that there is an impressive compliance of the beneficiaries to the conditionalities of the program involving health and education.

Despite financial constraints, Pantawid Pamilya children continue to persevere in their studies. Thanks to the P500 amount of cash grant they received monthly. They may have young and innocent minds, but they greatly understand the importance of education. These children know very well that poverty cannot stop anyone from reaching his dreams and aspirations, and this is what the children of Mrs. Mary Grace Adriano strongly believe in.

 LITTLE MINDS, BIG DREAMS

“Dahil sa Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, ang aking tatlong anak ay lalong matiyagang pumapasok at ngaaral ng mabuti,” quipped Aling Grace.

The Adriano Family lives in Brgy. Quirino, in Naguillian, Isabela. She said that the program is really a big help in augmenting the needs of her children in school. Because one of the conditionlaities of the program is that children aged 6-14 must be enrolled in elementary and high school and must have an 85% of attendance, her three cuddly and smart children never fail to come to class.

But she said that it is not only for the sake of compliance that her children are attending their classes regularly, but because they have dreams, big dreams that someday they maybe a teacher, a doctor, and perhaps, even an engineer.

Yet greater that to be a professional someday is their dreams that somehow, they will rise from the ground and have a taste of comfort – something better that what they have now.

“Ito ay patunay na kahit mahirap kami, ang kahirapan ay hindi hadlang sa mga munting pangarap ng aking mga anak. Mga munting pangarap  na alam kong makakamit nila dahil sila mismo ang susi sa mga ito. Lalo na ngayon at kabilang kami sa programang Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program ng DSWD,” she continued.

Aling Grace also added that the program, through the Family Development Sessions, have helped them to be more responsible parents. They continue to nurture and support their children in the realization of their aspirations.

LOVING FATHER, GRATEFUL BENEFICIARY

Another beneficiary who is very thankful to the program is Tito Pabro, 49 years old, and lives in Barangay Magsaysay, also in the municipality of Naguillian. Mang Tito just has lot of “thank you” words to say that he needed to put it in a letter.

Hindi sapat ang salitang ”salamat” sa programang ito na kahit sa maliit na halaga ay napakalaking halaga nito sa akin. Malaki man o maliit ang halagang ito ay napapagaan na ang aking pamilya. Bukal sa aking puso ang pasasalamat sa Diyos dahil ito ay sagot na biyaya na aking pinapanalangin lagi at sa pamahalaan, at sa mga taong nasa likod ng programang ito. Napagaan ang buhay namin sa tulong ng Pantawid Program,” he wrote at the start of his letter.

Mang Tito is a widower, and lives with his daughter Roselyn, 7 years old, who studies at Namay Elementary School. Since her wife died, he assumed the responsibility of being both a mother and a father.

Bilang isang ama na nag-iisang bumubuhay sa aking mga anak ay masasabi kong mahirap, ito ay dahil wala akong katuwang sa buhay na magalaga sa mga anak ko at magluto kapag ako ay wala sa bahay upang kumayod para sa aming mga anak,” Mang Tito shared.

                He works as a tenant farmer in a vast ricefield. He also earns extra income as a Construction Worker. But still, Mang Tito finds it very difficult. His salary is not enough to sustain the needs of his family.

                 “Kala ko noon ay wala nang tutulong samin, laking tuwa ko at napili kami na mapabilang sa Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program,” soon a smile lit on Mang Tito’s face.

“Napagaan ang buhay namin sa tulong ng Pantawid. Sa pag-aaral ng mga anak ko lalo na pagdating sa mga bayarin sa paaralan, mga kagamitan na kailangan nila na minsan ko lang sila nabibilhan noon,” shared a very happy Mang Tito. He also said that now, they can buy viands of pork and chicken.

Mang Tito is truly a father his children can be proud of. Being a mother and a father at the same time is not easy, but surely is rewarding, especially when you do it for the ones you love — your children.

Mang Tito ended, “Lahat ay kinakaya ko para sa aking mga anak dahil sila ay mahal ko.”

                For Aling Grace and Mang Tito, poverty is but a word. It may strike fears and desperateness to others, it may kill someone’s hopes but it will not reign over a parent’s overflowing love for his children. ###By MICHELLE TURO, Municipal Link/Naguillian, Isabela

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FO2 conducts 1st quarter meeting on MCCT

mcct picIn photo: A representative of GreenMeadow Foundation Inc., one of the CSOs partner of DSWD in the implementation of MCCT, discusses about their accomplishments.

With the aim to review accomplishments, define issues and problems encountered in the implementation of Modified Conditional Cash Transfer, the DSWD Field Office 02 led by Director Violeta A. Cruz conducted its 1st quarterly meeting with the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) at Hotel Carmelita, Tuguegarao City on May 7, 2013.

Salient discussions were tackled during the meeting which highlighted on the 1st quarter accomplishment reports of the two partner CSOs in the implementation of MCCT namely the Green Meadow Development Foundation Inc. (GMDFI) and Pangkaunlaran Development Association Inc. (PDAI).

The two CSOs were represented by their Case Workers, Family Welfare Assistants, Psychologists, MCCT CSO team leader, Board of Trustees President and their MCCT Focal Person.

“Meetings like this are very essential to thresh out problems arising in the implementation of the program, and eventually find solutions to resolve such. This is also an avenue for us to further strengthen our ties with our partners,” said Sharlyn Altavano, the Focal Person of MCCT for Field Office o2.

Also, the two partner CSOs expressed their happiness to take part in the implementation of MCCT. They said that the program has sustained the existence and operations of their organization, aside from they are given the chance to transform live of other people and not just their regular clientele.

Presently, there are a total of 100 household beneficiaries for the DSWD-Run MCCT. For CSO-Run MCCT, there is a total of 1, 231 household beneficiaries: 763 for PDAI and 468 for GMDFI respectively.

Meanwhile, the conditions of the MCCT are similar with the Pantawid Pamilya like the attendance to Family Development Sessions, attendance to Alternat

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Foster Parenting: A Life-Changing Experience (A story of Mrs. Karen C. Alvarez)

karenIn photo: Happy family! The Alvarez family with Diane during one of

their vacation trips in Ilocos Province.

Being a foster parent is not easy, but making a difference in a child’s life brings a wonderful, rewarding, life-changing experience in our family.

It was October 2011 when Diane arrived to our family through the program of DSWD’s Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC) to temporarily place all children of said center to foster homes for them to experience the spirit of Christmas season with a family.

That day when Diane came to our home, she was very silent, she does not want to talk to anybody. But after a week, Diane showed some changes in her behavior, she started to socialize to every member of the family.

After a month, Diane became closer to his Kuya Elyon, my ten-year old biological son. She had already revealed her sweet side. She was extremely caring especially to his Kuya Elyon. How we love to see them bonding with each other especially when they played games and watch their favorite cartoons in the television.

Progressively, Diane learned to trust us, and our unconditional love has helped her to deal with her shyness and adapt easily to her new environment. This child has sparked our interest and sounded like someone we were willing to take care and become part of our family.

Undeniably, I jumped for joy and my heart fells when we heard Diane started calling us Mommy and Daddy for the first time. From then on, I devoted much time and interest to her and even treated her as my very own child.

Indeed, our family was not the same when Diane poured joy and happiness to our lives. She filled that “emptiness” in our home especially that I and Warner wanted to have a daughter.

Watching Diane gradually adjusted to her new found home and family, my husband Warner, Elyon and I had decided to expand our family by eventually adopting Diane and to be legally part of our family.

I could never imagine having Diane in our life only for a months and end up having to give her back to the center. I and Warner had thought that it would be hard on such a fragile and innocent child after having been adjusted with the love and care of a family to bring her back to her old life.

We have been foster parents for Diane for almost two years now, and the entire experience has been fulfilling, knowing that we had made a difference in Diane’s life.

Indeed, fostering is not necessarily easy, but extremely rewarding.  You have to work on building trust with the child, be honest, and be supportive. For a child like Diane, it involves a commitment to giving a child consistent love, support and understanding, and helping the child through a tremendously difficult time.

As a foster parent, Warner and I had experienced the deep fulfillment knowing that we had provided a needed home for a sweet childlike Diane, we provided the care crucial for a child to grow and develop with a family; we had shared our family’s love unconditionally because we both believe that every child deserves a family.

Just like any other children out there who are longing for the love and attention of real parents, Diane had always dreamt of having a real family, thus, we are now making her dreams come true. Soon, our adoption papers will be finalized, Diane will become part of our family forever. ### (Narration written by Angely Lubo-Mercado, DSWD Regional Information Officer)

__________

Mr. Warner Alvarez and Mrs. Karen Alvarez are the foster parents of Diane for almost 2 years now and now in the process of adopting Diane to be legally part of their family. Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez are both working in the Commission on Audit (COA) Regional Office 02.  

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The Story of Juan

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DSWD FO2 Film Making Contest on Pantawid Pamilya

 

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“The Long Road to Lukidnon” (Experience narrated by the Regional Field Supervisor)

lukidnonBrgy. Lukidnon, Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya using the household assessment form to determine if the family will be included in the list of the poor region wide.

Composing this piece about the conduct of the special household assessment in barangay Lukidon, the remotest in Dupax del sur wasn’t easy, what with the many highlights and the sidelights of the rich experience, all of seemingly equal importance and all crying for the same attention…so to make it easier for me, I’m going to give a day-by-day account of what happened.

Background:

It all began with a request from Mayor Romeo Magaway, Jr. to Secretary Soliman for the conduct of the activity in the area. His request was approved by the secretary who, through the National Household Targeting Office, advised the Regional Household Targeting Unit Field Office 02 staff thru Director Violeta Cruz to conduct the household assessment.

Lukidnon was not included in the regular household assessment in 2009 and again during the conduct of the On-Demand Application and validation in 2010 due to the peace and order (or lack of it) situation prevailing during those times.

1st day, Sunday, February 17

Like obedient foot soldiers who were given their marching orders, off we went to the unknown and mysterious (to us) land on our motorbikes. Mati, our young and…how shall I describe this guy?…hmm…silent regional IT officer; Chris, our equally young and…hmm…not-so-silent ha ha ha statistician and I (arranged in the order of handsomeness…ahem!) left at mid-morning. There was so much delay as Chris had to go back home to get the papers of his newly-bought motorbike as there might be some relatives of lolong along the highway waiting to prey on motorists. We also had to do some last minute shopping for raincoats, anticipating the sudden change of weather. We originally thought of leaving early Monday but I decided against it as I wanted us to be rested as a bride on the night before her wedding, fresh as newly picked flower and early as a bird, for our courtesy call to the mayor.

Our travel to Bayombong took about 6 hours, with 2 stops. We spent the night at the dormitory of the PSWDO in Bayombong, arranged by my loving former girlfriend. I could have done it myself but she volunteered so I gave her the honors. She loves me, you know! Ha ha ha The amenities were not luxurious but comfortable, aircon and cushioned bed…good enough. Anticipating that we will go onsome kind of a diet by force of cirucmstance, we looked for a nice restaurant in town. We were able to find one that specializes in grilled food.. Mati ordered grilled chicken leg…this lad just loves legs, chicken legs, that is he he… I can’t recall what Chris ordered but I’m sure ‘twas something hot…this guy loves it hot and spicy… while I ordered tuna belly and some okra, sili and eggplant. Mine was really thick and juicy…hmmm…yummy!

2nd day, Monday, February 18

We got up early and headed for Dupax del Sur and sought out the MSWDO. We were met by a young guy who asked if we were from DSWD. He happened to be the municipal link, a look-alike of the former bf of angel. We paid our courtesy call to the mayor who told us that we will join him in a meeting to be convened in sitio Balucoc. Having done that, we jumped off once again about mid-morning, led by Johnie Mendoza, the municipal link. ‘Twas still a long way to go…we had to pass the towns of Aritao and Sta. Fe and down the Maharlika highway…Oh my! Negotiating the curves of Sta. Fe gave me the natural high that riding a motorbike brings. It’s been a long time since I had my last long run with my riding buddies. I advised Mati and Chris (oh they were like seasoned motorbikers) to be cautious and to use their handbrakes lightly and sparingly on the curves as they might skid. We turned left on the road leading to Carranglan town, Nueva Ecija. I’ve been hearing about Carranglan, infamous due to long queue of vehicles during close traffick but I thought ‘twas just a barangay of San Jose City. So there, now I know better my Philippine geography. This is the beauty of traveling, You enjoy the sights, tastes, smell…is feel included here?… and also get educated in the process. Having reached Carranglan town proper, we gassed up, had snacks then headed for Lukidnon. The well-paved road ended and we were welcomed by rugged, dusty and oftentimes treacherous roads littered with big stones (or small boulders, if you want). We also had to ford deep and slippery ponds. Along the way, I was attracted by a flock of herons (white bird with long, slender legs) on a flight and their formation was a beautiful sight to behold!

We reached the 1st sitio, Guinisingan, by mid-afternoon. We were met by barangay captain James Cuyangan who patiently waited for us. After the introductions and some serious talk (naku ha!), we hadour snacks of biscuits and engaged in some small talk. After that, we started enumeration. We could have started earlier but Capt. James said that the people are not yet home from a birthday celebration. Sosyal ang mga tao dito…buong barangay ata pumunta. He he That afternoon, we were able to assess 6 or 7 households. ‘Twas another learning experience for all of us as we had never been enumerators…me included…I felt…I guess my companions felt it, too, what is termed as 1st day “jitters” but as we went along, we recovered and did it with ease…we are easy learners, you know…naks! we learn only what’s easy! Ha ha ha

Satisfied with what we have done so far and as a way of resting our weary bones, we had a few rounds of extra strong beer and talked about the birds and the bees (and the flowers and trees)…ha ha ha…at the local store owned by Crispulo in whose home we spent the night. His house was by the river over which a hanging bridge was installed. We had sardines with misua and pork and beans for supper, prepared by our host. When the time to sleep came, I went out of the room as I couldn’t stand the heat, put some off lotion and with my bag as my pillow tried to catch some sleep on the concrete bench at the store. I had barely caught a wink when I was jolted from my sleep as I nearly fell off the bench which was only about 1 ½ feet wide. So I had no choice bu t to go back to the humid room.

3rd day, Tuesday, Febraury 19

We set forth for sitio Balucoc after a heavy breakfast of, again, sardines and pork and beans, for the 2nd time. We crossed a river with slippery stones and from there it was all uphill climb in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. The road was rough with many bumps, dips and turns. The lead was ML Johnie…he’s been there before…followed by either Mati or Chris. Most of the time, I was what we motorbikers term as the “sweeper”, the last man in the pack to look after the other riders and several times, I had to warn Chris that his bag was about to fall off. At one point, Chris’ motorbike skidded off the road and because I was focused on what happened, I, followed suit. I had to help him get out of the tricky situation. We sweated profusely, panted and laughed at the situation.

When we arrived in Balucoc, the meeting has not yet started so to maximize our time, we started working. I advised Chris to text me when the meeting is about to start then we went separate ways. By the time I received a text message from Chris, the meeting has started.

In the meeting, I was given the chance to give a message and so in Ilocano, I explained why we were there, that it was upon the request of Mayor Magaway and approved by Secretary Soliman. I, too, explained the process, including how the poor households are identied by the Proxy Means Test. We were mistakenly identified as 4Ps and so I had to correct the misconception, explaining that household targeting does not offer direct intervention or services to the people and that we just provide the basis for the identification of beneficiaries of social protection programs like the 4Ps. When the meeting was over, we had lunch of bloodied pork (zinagan/dinardaraan/dinuguan) and “wat-wat”, big slices of pork, boiled in plain water, without spices. One just dips the meat in salt and sili and that’s it. This is the equivalent of our pork stew (laoya) but ours is with lots of spices. Whew! Another unforgettable experience!

After lunch, we continued our work. My guide, a certain Noel Calasiao, accompanied me to the home of Jose Acosta. When I asked him where the house is located, he replied “Asideg laeng, Sir.” (It’s just near, Sir.). I took his word for it. Wanting to conserve my energy, I rode on my motorbike with him as back rider. When the going turned rough and tough, we got off my bike and started trekking uphill then downhill, uphill, downhill, more uphills and downhills and at several points, I had to stop to catch my breath…I heard my heartbeat drumming in my ears. ‘Twas a good thing that I brisk walked regularly, if not, there was no way I could have made it. Also, my mountaineer-friend taught me that when trekking on a steep downhill, do it sideways so that when you slip, you won’t fall on your butts. Along the way, I guessed we took the wrong turn as the weeds and bushes covered the trail, a sign that it was not an oft-used path. So I told Noel to be sure that we are the right direction so as not to waste our precious energy.

The solitary house of Jose Acosta lay nestled on a steep slope. I had to drink two glasses of water to quench my thirst when we arrived there. While I was doing the inteview, Noel, my guide, peeled a not-so-ripe but sweet papaya which we munched on. When the interview was done, I shook hands with Jose and said “Jose, haan ka malipatan tunggal biag ko (Jose, I won’t forget you as long as I ilive!)! Before we left, I took two more slices of papaya, explaining that I need some energy booster along the way. Now my problem was how to negotiate the uphill-downhill once again! Once more, I looked around and saw why Jose opted to live in such a secluded and far-away place…he was engaged in slush-and-burn farming (kaingin)…’twas his source of income.

When the day was done, we were treated to more pork, this time there was adobo with bottomless rice for supper prepared by the wife of barangay captain James! Ha ha ha We spent the night in his home. Because he had solar energy, we had the luxury of charging our cellphones. That night, I had a deep, dreamless sleep…I don’t know about the other guys…they might have had some wild and naughty dreams. Ha ha ha Joke!

4th day, Wednesday, February 20

We proceeded to sitio Lukidnon Proper. We didn’t have guides along the way this time so we had to rely on our keen sense of sight and also by asking the help of the locals in locating the households. When we reached Proper, we were assisted by a very helpful young midwife by the name of Edna who took pains to accompany me and an equally-helpful kagawad by the name of Lilian Camsol. Again, we had lunch of sardines and pork and beans, our 3rd time.

When we were about to leave, I asked Chris to the get the cell phone number of Edna, anticipating that we might need her help one day, to which he replied “Tapos na, Sir!” (It’s done, Sir!). ha ha ha This guy has initiative and thinks out of the box. Ha ha ha

When we were done, we went to sitio Guinisingan once again to complete our unfinished business. It was here that enumeration had to be done until the evening so as not to disrupt our schedule. When I was done, I proceeded back to base, the home of Crispulo. I passed by the motorbikes of Chris and Johnie parked by the roadside. Not knowing their location, I proceeded “home” and found Mati there. After some thought, I told Mati that we have to go back to the area to help Chris and Johnie. When we reached the place where their motorbikes were parked, we attempted to follow them uphill. ‘Twas dusk by then and not being sure where the trail was leading to, we decided to go back where our motorbikes were and wait for them. ‘Twas already dark and it was here where Mati remarked “Nakakabaliw naman dito.” (roughly means “I’m going insane here!”) Ha ha ha ‘Twas also here that, to relieve my tired muscles, I stretched and bent backwards and in the process started to massage my numb butts…it felt like it was injected with anaesthesia! Ha ha ha Then I felt something hard on the seat of my pants and instinctively scraped it with by middle fingernail thinking ‘twas some dried-up rice. Then again, instinctively I smelled it…oh my! ‘Twas chicken dung! I had no water then…’twas good I remembered I had a bottle of sanitizer in my beltbag…Yes! Mabango na naman!

‘Twas good that Chris and Johnie had cellphones with flashlight which they used to illuminate their way down the mountain. They were hell-bent on finishing the assessment of all households up there before heading home.

As a reward, I asked Crispulo if he can sell us one of his native chickens or if he knows somebody who sells one. Unfortunately, there was no native chicken…and being sick and tired with the smell of sardines and pork and beans, we “raided” the store of Crispulo and bought corned beef, eggs and others I don’t remember anymore. Of course, we again downed a few rounds of strong beer to sooth our tired bodies. Funny thing is, when Crispulo was done with his cooking, we took it upon ourselves to set the table then called on him to join us as if we own the place. Ha ha ha Mga walanghiya talaga!

5th day, Thursday, February 21

From sitio Guinisingan to proceeded to the last sitio, Binbin. In so doing, we again had to pass through some parts of Carranglan town before again climbing uphill. The roads, though some parts were not yet concrete, were smooth compared to the other sitios. ‘Twas like going up to Baguio as they were pine trees that lined the road and one could feel the crisp morning air. The houses there were mostly made of light and predominantly light materials just like in the other sitios but they were relatively well-off in that they had electricity and well-paved roads. We were assisted by two kagawads, minda and…hmm…his name escapes me now…We again had sardines and pork and beans for lunch…’Twas still delicious…hunger made sure it was! At about 2:00 in the afternoon, we went down Carranglan town and on to the Maharlika Highway. While filling up our gas tanks, I told the guys that we have to splurge a bit and have early dinner at a popular restaurant in Aritao which offers exotic food. We ordered a bowl each of native chicken (at last, I’m going to eat you! Ha ha ha), fried fish (biru’), salad na katuday and mixed grilled vegetables with bagoong, kalamansi and sili…Whew! La fang!

From then on, we took it easy and had a leisure drive to Centro, Dupax del Sur where we spent the night. When we had some rest, I told the guys, let’s some fun in Bambang (It rhymes, doesn’t it?)! We went to a fine reataurant, obviously a favorite of the locals, and ordered a bucket of chilled beer which led to another bucket ha ha ha…Whew! This is life! We also had sizzling tahong, french fries plus 2 more I can’t recall and to top it, we had custard (leche plan)! Nakabawi na tayo guys sa saldinas at pork and beans! Ha ha ha After we were done, we went back to base in Dupax full and fulfilled…We slept soundly.

6th day, Friday, February 22

Our ordeal was not yet done. We still had a long way to go…about 250 kilometers more…and to make matters worse, ‘twas drizzling! After breakfast in Bambang, I told the guys that we had to wear our raincoats as it looked like it’ll rain along the way…and true enough, we haven’t gone far when the downpour began. To cut the story short, it rained from Bambang to Tuguegarao. Driving 250 kilometers under a downpour was another unforgettable experience!

We had stops in Cordon where we sipped hot coffee and ate hot turon and chatted with the salesgirl (she was cool. He he) And from there, we had another stop at a popular fastfood chain in Roxas. Our raincoats were dripping but it was inconvenient to remove them, what with our knee and elbow protectors in place. So we just entered the place dripping and wet the floor all over. I could see other customers looking at us. Ha ha ha WTF (where’s the food?)!

We gassed up once more and from there, there were no more stops. We were all in a hurry to be home specially Chris whose child was celebrating his birthday that day.

Saturday, February 23

I decided to pamper myself…went to have my finger and toe nails cleaned up…went to a foot spa…visited some friends and had a few rounds of chilled beer amid stories and soothing music.

Summary:

The experience of doing the household assessment in barangay Lukidnon – the long travel, about 800 kilometers, on our motorbikes under the sun and rain, the coordination and dialogue with the municipal and barangay officials and the barangayfolks themselves was one-of-a-kind. It was what is called as community immersion even if it was only for a short period of time. We talked, worked, ate and slept with the people and in the process learned about their lives, just a part of it anyway, and their needs…I really don’t know about their aspirations. From our collective point of view, we feel that they are in dire need of the basic necessities of life in a place without public transport due to the rugged terrain, no electricity except for a very few with solar energy, no employment opportunities, poor health and educational faciilities…but we may be wrong as they might feel contented about their situation. These are the people who live life day by day, probably without projections for the future which make them contended. They were born that way, grew up that way and, maybe, grow old and die that way…and the cycle of intergenerational poverty goes on.

It was indeed very enriching and fulfilling even for one like me who have been working in government for decades. I believe that it’s the 1st exposure of its kind for Mati and Chris, like a baptism of fire. I know that it was hard for their young bodies but like me, they feel a sense of satisfaction of having done a difficult job. I won’t forget what Chris told me: “The hardship we encountered in doing the job is nothing compared to the difficulties of the people there”.

I have to end this piece. Otherwise, it will occupy several pages of the Dos in Focus and Angely will get mad at me. Let me just say that Lukidnon is one place that needs sustained help from the government and other partners in development and I hope that the conduct of the household assessment will usher in hopes for a better future. So help us God! By Felipe Adarme, NHTS-PR Regional Field Supervisor

 

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Four Pantawid Children graduate as Valedictorian, Salutatorian

In photo: Carey Joy Uy, in white sweater, was the Regional Representative for the National Children’s Congress last year with the other exemplary Pantawid children from other regions. Photo by Maricel B. Asejo, Pantawid IO

STA. MARIA, Isabela– Four children beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in this municipality topped their class for SY 2012-2013 and graduated as Valedictorian and Salutatorian respectively.

Clarissa Mae Rodriguez and Carey Joy Uy of San Isidro Elementary School graduated as Valedictorian and Salutatorian. Other honor graduates are Liezel Romero, Valedictorian of Calamagui Elementary School; and Ariza Alingod, Salutatorian of Lingaling Elementary School.

According to their Municipal Link, Ms. Jackie Lou Garcia, the four children are very happy for finishing at the top of their class. “Masayang-masaya ang mga bata, lalo na sa kabila ng kahirapan ay napagbubuti nila ang pag-aaral nila. Graduating as a honor student motivate them to do better in high school. They know that education is the way for them to rise from poverty,” Garcia said.

Ms. Garcia also added that the four children are very thankful for the Pantawid Pamilya because the program helped a lot especially in their needs in school. Aside from the augmentation for their education requirements, the program also helped them have a healthy body because of the regular visits to health centers.

Aside from the Academic Awards, Clarissa Mae also received the Journalist of the Year and Athlete of the Year; while Carey Joy got the Girl Scout of the Year and the Leadership Award. Liezel and Ariza were also awarded other special citations and recognitions.

Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Child

Carey Joy Uy, who graduated as Salutatorian, was also hailed as the Provincial Representative of Isabela for the Search for Regional Exemplary Pantawid Children.

Carey Joy together with the other exemplary Pantawid children from the Cagayan, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya joined in the National Children’s Congress at Bayview Park Hotel, Manila on October 28- 31, 2012.

Aside from having grades of flying colors, Carey was also a student writer and the President of the Student Council. She is also active on extra-curricular activities and was a regular delegate of her school to quiz bees and academic competitions.

Poverty is Never a Hindrance

Despite some financial constraints, the four honor graduates are determined to finish their studies. They believe that poverty will not hinder them to attain their aspirations. With hardwork, dedication, support from families and faith in the Divine Creator, these smart children are on their way to a better life.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a human development program implemented by the DSWD that invests in the health and education of poor children age 0-14 years old. ### By MARICEL B. ASEJO/ Pantawid Information Officer II

 

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