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The joy of a mother seeing her family gather around a dining table is incomparable. Seeing the delight in the eyes of her children as they savour a simple yet satisfying meal is most comforting. The compliment that she gets from her husband for her self-less care, the laughter of her children that resonates from the four walls of the kitchen and the sharing of how their day went by and the little victories they won for the day, these are the little moments of motherhood perfectly captured in its rawest form.

Not everyone would notice that behind the satisfying meals is a struggling mother trying to stretch the meager amount in her pocket. This is the story of the daily challenges of a mother to turn an empty pot into a decent meal. She is constantly challenged on how she will manage to ease the pain of the empty stomachs of her children.  As she sees her calloused hands, the stain of charcoal on her fingertips, the trace of mired cooking oil in her skin and some scars from knife cuts, it reminds her of the sacrifices from the years of cooking in her kitchen.

Six mothers from the Municipality of Dupax Del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya typifies the life of poverty. They are all active members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. The aforementioned mothers were Regina Rivera, Juanita Hidalgo, Marites Calderon, Marites de Guzman, Elena Salirungan and Nieves Rodriguez. They share the same predicament on how they will consistently bring food on their tables. Three of them were plain housewives who were dependent on the percentage-based income of their husbands on farming while the others resorted to being all-around helpers/cooks in their neighborhood, earning P150.00 a day. The reality of having limited opportunities to earn burdens them since they struggle to provide the needs of their families. Despite their hard work, most times it still isn’t enough. The financial constraints felt like an invisible chain that tied them for the longest time.

Dupax Del Sur is a second class municipality of Nueva Vizcaya, a landlocked one in the province. The area is generally mountainous and displays forest areas in the eastern portion. Its economic activities focus on agricultural producing rice, sweet potato, cassava and vegetables. The municipality also produces timber for local building industry.  The locals rely greatly on the seasonal income from agriculture.

On October 2017, the aforementioned group took a chance to try and change their current situation. They embraced the tenets of Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) and became part of an association. They drew inspiration from their shared passion to cook for their families to further their skills on cooking. They underwent Skills Training on Management and Cookery in partnership with Theodoro’s Skills Training Assessment Center.  The group was provided with a total of P120, 000.00 intended for their training expense and start-up capital for the acquisition of assets to put up their chosen livelihood endeavor.

After the training, the group was able to put up a carinderia (Marjen’s Restaurant) strategically located in the municipal’s public market and transport terminal. The group used their start-up capital to acquire kitchen utensils, fixtures, materials and operating expense to run their restaurant. They served meals and snacks to an average of thirty customers a day. They now operate seven days a week and caters to their regular clients such as market vendors, market goers and drivers. Apart from that, they also offer catering services to offices and other private individuals in the locality. They occasionally serve as a service provider during meetings and seminars of the Municipal Local Government Unit (MLGU) and Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) in Dupax Del Sur. They earn an average gross income ranging from P1, 000.00-P3, 000.00 a day depending on the flow of customers. Part of the income goes to their own salaries as cook, cashier and server ranging from P200.00-P250.00 a day. They also regularly set aside their average net income ranging from P500.00-P1, 000.00 for their project diversification fund.

They were also given the opportunity to bid as one of the suppliers of the Field Office and won. They provided catering services during the Information Caravan of the Social Marketing Unit last June 27, 2018. The group earned a gross income of P18, 000.00 which translated to a net income of P5, 000.00. Moreover, they also catered in one of the events of the Department of Education and earned a gross income of P55, 300.00 with a net income of P16, 000.00. The financial gains from this livelihood endeavor became an additional income and helped each members augment and support the needs of their families. They were able to provide decent meals for their families which they previously struggled to do. Their steady income helped send their children to school particularly for Ms. Regina Rivera, president of the association and a solo parent for almost ten years. The opportunity lend her a hand to meet ends.  It was also a fulfilment of her dream of managing her own restaurant since she was a long time cook under a private employer. “Dakkel nga banag nga naikkan kami ti sarili mi nga negosyo iti SLP, nangnangruna kenyak nga maysa nga solo parent (Malaking bagay na nabigyan kami ng sariling negosyo ng SLP, lalong-lalo na sa tulad kong solo parent)”, Ms. Rivera said.

Today, the members continuously improve their chosen endeavor. In the near future, they plan to acquire their own space and expand their restaurant and catering services. More than the financial gains, the members were thankful for gaining life skills. For them, the entire experience of being a member of SLP was empowering. It enabled them to see opportunity outside of the four walls of their kitchen and make the most out of their skill. They now come to a point of pouring out their hearts on cooking not just to ease the hunger of their customers but make a living out of their passion. ### Written by: Melisen A. Taquiqui, SLP Social Marketing Officer

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Pieces of wood, chisel, hammer and other carving tools, these are Tatay Mario’s constant companion to get by. His hands show the scars as badges from his years of carving. He patiently uses pieces of wood as his canvass and meticulously carves every single detail of his masterpieces. Mario G. Namaggo, an emigrant from Ifugao Province, resides in the coastal town of Sta. Ana, Cagayan.  His childhood memories would always remind him of a life of poverty, albeit one that he actively fights to be liberated from.

The Municipality of Sta. Ana is situated in the north easternmost point of Luzon. The community prides in their pristine beaches, lush slopes and abundant marine resources. It is even tagged as the Boracay of the north for its world class shorelines. The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is also situated in this locality where most of its commercial and industrial activities take place. The livelihood opportunities are a mixture of agricultural and commercial. Its main produce are seafood, lumber, rice and corn. Majority of the locals are fisher folks who rely on what the sea can offer.

Tatay Mario married Nanay Maribel in 1995 and proceeded to build a family. The couple was blessed with six children. Soon enough the couple felt the struggle to provide for the needs of their growing family. During that time, Tatay Mario worked as a wood carver under a private employer. He only earned on a percentage basis depending on his contract with the employer. Their fate was even tested when the business of his employer went bankrupt and left Tatay Mario unemployed. To meet ends, Nanay Maribel was forced to peddle vegetables, fish and snacks in their neighborhood. To be of help, Tatay Mario collected drift wood, transformed it into souvenir items and sold it. Day and night he relentlessly worked for his family without minding his physical agony of being differently abled. To make the most out of the skill of Tatay Mario, the family decided to accept orders and venture in furniture making and wood carving. Since 2013, they continued with the said venture despite meager revolving fund and minimal tools to work with.

In 2017, the Sustainable Livelihood Program opened an opportunity for the couple to further expand their venture. Nanay Maribel underwent Basic Livelihood Training (BLT) and received Seed Capital Fund amounting to P10, 000.00. The couple used the fund to purchase raw materials and additional carving tools. They started making personalized wooden crafts, souvenir items, pieces of furniture and home decors. Aside from that, they now provide lumber/timber cutting and shaping services.  They cater clients within barangay Marede, nearby barangays such Dungeg, San Vicente and Centro. As part of their good management style they uphold quality service and workmanship. With that, they were able to gain big clients such as resorts and hotels in Sta. Ana and nearby municipalities of Gonzaga and Sta. Teresita. The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Sta. Ana also showed support as they serve as a regular client. For custom pieces,

the couple earns an average of P5, 000.00-P6, 000.00 per contract. On labor alone, the couple earns an average of P3, 200- P6, 000.00 per contract. The steady income supports their children which they struggled to provide before. Apart from that, their learning on BLT enhanced their know how on managing their business.

The couple has now been able to expand their furniture shop and has acquired additional assets such as a wood cutting machine and a curving machine. They also purchased a kolong-kolong (transport service) to reach a larger market and cater to the demands of their clients outside the municipality. More than the expansion of their business, the couple takes pride on being able to send their eldest child to college, something they consider their greatest achievement yet. Now, they have the very first degree holder in the family, a licensed teacher that fulfilled Tatay Mario and Nanay Maribel’s dream. Their daughter is currently teaching in San Vicente Elementary School. She is now helping the family especially in the school needs of his five siblings as a way of giving back for the sacrifices of her parents.

“Binigyan ako ng Diyos ng mga kamay na kayang lumilok ng obra, kaya naman itong mga kamay na to ang lililok sa kinabukasan ng aking mga anak. Nagpapasalamat ako sa SLP, malaking tulong samin ito upang mapalawak ang aming nasimulang negosyo”, Tatay Mario said. ### By: Melisen A. Taquiqui, Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) Social Marketing Officer

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DSWD FO2 joins RDANA Team in the Conduct of Damage Assessment in the Region

Tuguegarao City – Staff from the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) joined a team that also includes members coming from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the conduct of Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) in the provinces of Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya.

The endeavor, which started last November 1, 2018, had the group divided into 4 teams, with two teams assigned in the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya, another team to the coastal Isabela towns of Dinapigue, Divilacan, Maconacon and Palanan and another team assigned to conduct RDANA to the rest of the municipalities of Isabela.

To date, three teams have already finished doing their assessments while the team assigned in the coastal towns of Isabela is awaiting the chopper that would fetch them and take them back to Tuguegarao City.

The OCD, again in partnership with the DSWD and DOH, will conduct a post-RDANA meeting today, November 5, 2018, to discuss the results of the RDANA and come up with plans for the rehabilitation of affected areas.

According to the latest report coming from the Disaster Response and Management Division (DRMD) of the field office, there are 17,119 partially-damaged houses and 1,857 totally damaged houses in the region. The consolidated data comes from reports of different local government units (LGUs).

A total of 13,353 family food packs amounting to P4,801,920.00 has been given by the DSWD to affected families and individuals in the 3 provinces. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit

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Field Workers Go Beyond Call of Duty to Help Typhoon Rosita-affected Families

Reina Mercedes, Isabela – Shekina Glorie Sario’s thoughts were to go home Monday evening to be with her family as Typhoon Rosita began its onslaught in Isabela Province, knowing how hard it is to leave family members during disaster situations.

But as it is when it comes to disaster situations, she chose to stay in the Municipal Action Team (MAT) office to monitor the situation and consolidate reports that would be needed for submission to the DSWD Regional Office.

“We needed to sacrifice in the name of public service. Kinailangan nating isakripisyo ang oras at panahon natin para mabigyan ng serbisyo at tulong ang ating mga kababayan sa Reina Mercedes,” Ms. Sario mentioned.

Aside from conducting visitation and helping the local government unit (LGU) in assessing the needs in evacuation enters to ensure the welfare and protection of evacuees, the MAT team also led the distribution of relief goods to affected families and individuals.

“Kahit basang-basa sa ulan, isinakripisyo natin ang ating panahon at oras na para sana sa ating mga pamilya para makapagbigay ng sapat na serbisyo sa mga mamamayan ng Reina Mercedes,” Ms. Sario added.

During the typhoon’s peak, a total of 12 evacuation centers across 14 barangays were opened in the municipality, thereby guaranteeing that the MAT’s hands were full when it comes to responding to the needs of the evacuees.

A total of 443 families including 1,615 individuals were affected in the municipality as of the latest report coming from the field office’s Disaster Response and Monitoring Team (DMRT).

To augment the needs of affected families in the area, a total of 200 family food packs were distributed by DSWD directly to affected families.

Despite all of these, Ms. Sario and the rest of MAT Reina Mercedes stayed true to their mandate of quick and prompt service even when it means sacrificing sleep and rest to get the job done.

“Basta mabigyan natin ng serbisyo ang ating mga kababayan, kaakibat man nito ay pagod at puyat. It is fulfilling to help people without hoping for anything in exchange,” Ms. Sario concludes.

As of this writing, the MAT Team led by Ms. Sario continues to do response operations in the municipality to cater to the needs of affected families in the area. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit

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MAT Gonzaga Masigasig Tumulong sa mga Pamilyang Apektado ng Bagyong Rosita

Gonzaga, Cagayan – Ngiti ang namutawi sa mga labi ng mga batang tumira sa Gonzaga People’s Gym, Gonzaga, Cagayan na nagsilbing evacuation center sa lugar noong nanalasa ang Bagyong Rosita.

Lunes ng gabi ng magsimulang magparamdam ang Bagyong Rosita dahilan para ilikas ng Local Government Unit (LGU) katuwang ang Municipal Action Team (MAT) ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) na nakatalaga sa lugar ang mga residente ng Barangay Caroan, Barangay Cabanbanan Norte, Barangay Minanga at Barangay Pateng dahil na rin sa banta ng malakas na hangin na maaaring magdulot ng mataas na daluyong ng tubig.

Aktibo ring tumulong ang MAT Gonzaga sa pangangasiwa ng pamamahagi ng mga pagkain para sa mga apektadong pamilya sa evacuation center.

Dagdag pa rito, naglagay din ng telebisyon upang maaliw ang mga tao.

Hindi naman alintana ng mga bata ang bagyo na nananalasa dahil napanatiling protektado ang evacuation center.

“Sa anumang oras, ang DSWD staff ay handa, maagap at maaasahan upang malagpasan ang anumang sakuna sa pamamagitan ng sama-samang pagbibigay ng serbisyo at kalinga na siyang nagpapakita ng tunay na pagmamalasakit at pagmamahal sa kapwa,” pahayag ni Karen Kaye Macapulay, Municipal Link ng MAT sa lugar.

Patuloy pa rin ang ginagawang pagbabantay ng MAT Gonzaga para sa mga naapektuhan ng Bagyong Rosita.

Base sa huling datos ng DSWD, 4,213 na pamilya na may 14,169 na indibidwal ang naapektuhan ng Bagyong Rosita sa probinsya ng Cagayan. ### By: Margaret G. Arao, Listahanan Information Officer

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Relief Operations in Cagayan Commence After Typhoon Rosita

November 2, 2018 – In the wake of typhoon Rosita, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee (MDRRMC) of various municipalities in Cagayan have simultaneously commenced its relief operations to approximately 4,213 families affected in 25 municipalities of the Province of Cagayan.

Prioritizing the 4,213 families currently housed in evacuation centers, family food packs were distributed by Municipal Action Teams (MATs) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) amidst rain and moderate winds with assistance from the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) and staff from local government units (LGUs).

In Lasam, 131 families were previously evacuated after their homes in low lying areas and near riverbanks have become unsafe from the quickly swelling Cagayan river.

“The unrelenting downpour of rain cannot deter us from delivering the much needed food packs because we know these families have lost or left their belongings after being evacuated from their homes,” says Jose Alvin Antiola, the Municipal Link at Lasam, Cagayan.

On the other hand, Kenneth Jay Acidera, a Social Welfare Assistant of Penablanca, Cagayan recounts how difficult it was to traverse places where water levels have consistently risen since the landfall of the typhoon on October 30, 2018.

“It hasn’t stopped raining since last night and the Tawi bridge here is already impassable. We know we had to deliver the food packs for Callao area before the only other bridge in Cabasan gets completely submerged in river water. We had to act fast,” Mr. Acidera said.

Penablanca, one of the southern towns of the province, is bounded by both the Cagayan and Pinacanauan rivers where continuous rain usually causes the swelling of the rivers that would isolate some barangays of the town.

The quick response was activated by the LGUs in response to the needs of displaced families due to the rising water level of the Cagayan River and its tributaries followed by the subsequent opening of one of the water gates of Magat Dam in Ramon, Isabela as early as October 29, 2018 causing massive flooding in 13 municipalities. ### By: Jeanet Antolin-Lozano, Social Marketing Unit

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DSWD Field Office 02 Leads 1st Response Cluster Meeting for Typhoon Rosita

Penablanca, Cagayan – Taking advantage of fair weather conditions since the departure of Typhoon Rosita in the region, the Cagayan Valley Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CV-RDRRMC) led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) conducted the 1st Response Cluster Meeting for Typhoon Rosita in Valley Hotel yesterday.

The meeting was conducted for the office to provide information to members of the CV-RDRRMC the updated number of families and individuals affected by the typhoon throughout the region as well as the assistance given by the agency to those who were affected.

The presentation of the agency’s report was done by Mr. Franco G. Lopez, Head of the field office’s Disaster Response and Management Division (DRMD).

The gathering was also done to consolidate reports coming from various line agencies for the provision of a more efficient service to regional constituents.

DSWD FO2 Regional Director Leonardo C. Reynoso in his speech expressed his gratitude to council members for the prompt response to the needs of affected people while assuring that an additional 23,700 family food packs will be procured by the field office as soon as possible for augmentation purposes.

As per the report given by the Philippine National Police (PNP), minimal casualty was reported as a result of the typhoon, a testament to the shrewd preparation made by the council to prepare for the typhoon.

As of the moment, there are a total of 19,823 families including 75,554 individuals affected by the typhoon. The field office meanwhile was able to augment an additional 7,050 family food packs to affected areas in the region. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit

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Municipal Action Team of Echague, Isabela Conducts Initial Response Operation in the Aftermath of Typhoon Rosita

October 31, 2018 – A day after Typhoon Rosita made landfall in the province of Isabela, the Municipal Action Team (MAT) of Echague has started doing response operations to affected individuals and families in the municipality.

The MAT is also lending a hand to the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Echague and other frontline agencies in doing initial rescue and clearing operations in the municipality.

Mr. Paolo L. Laggui, Project Development Officer II of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) and MAT member of the municipality, said that coordination with the LGU ensures the prompt delivery of services to families and individuals affected by the typhoon.

“Patuloy ang pakikipag-ugnayan ng Municipal Action Team sa Lokal na Pamahalaan ng Echague upang maghatid ng serbisyo sa mga apektadong pamilya dulot ng Bagyong Rosita,” Mr. Laggui added.

Aside from this, the MAT team also augments the basic needs of those who were evacuated by cooking food for them.

Joan M. Arao, also a Project Development Officer in the area, relishes the fact that they can extend help to those in need during disaster situations.

“Hindi alintana ang pagod, puyat at hirap para makapaghatid ng mapagkalingang serbisyo para sa mga nasalanta nating kababayan,” Ms. Arao added.

To date, 8,365 families including 31,221 individuals were affected by the typhoon in the province.

To address those affected, the field office distributed a total of 3,270 family food packs to the province of Isabela, 160 of which were given to affected families of Echague.

The field office is still on high alert as other parts of the region are still experiencing the brunt of the typhoon, with the Disaster Response and Monitoring Team (DMRT) still on 24/7 duty to consolidate the number of affected families and individuals and assess the needs of those affected based on the reports submitted. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit

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