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DSWD FO2 Finishes Installation of New and Improved Citizen’s Charter Panels

May 08, 2019 – With the aim of delivering efficient service to clients, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) recently finished installation of the Citizen’s Charter Panels strategically located in front of the main building that clients pass by whenever they visit the field office.

The said panels are in accordance with Republic Act No. 11032 otherwise known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, amending Republic Act No. 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, imploring agencies and government offices including local government units (LGUs), government-owned or controlled corporations and other government instrumentalities, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, to make transactions easier and faster, including the standardized deadline for government transactions.

The panels include the vision, mission and goals of the agency as well as the simplified process for frontline services such as the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) and Travel Clearance for Minors Traveling Abroad (MTA) as well as information on other agency programs such as the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens, the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) and the Adoption and Foster Care.

The panels where constructed last year with minor revisions done last April in time for the launching this May.

The field office hopes that the launching of the panels will contribute to its goal of providing Maagap at Mapagkalingang Serbisyo to the clients that it serves. ### 

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Hapag

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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Passionate Service Amidst Difficulties

“Naiintindihan ko kayo dahil napagdaanan ko rin ang mga pinagdadaanan ninyo,” DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista uttered to the gathered social workers on a humid Thursday afternoon.

The secretary was visiting the region to check on the field office’s staff and facilities when he made a quick stop to the members of the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) Cagayan Chapter who were gathered for a training to enhance their skills along social work.

Secretary Bautista, himself a retired military man, is of course not a stranger to the difficulties of life in the field, traversing rivers and muddy terrains just to get to far-flung locations as much an ingredient of his army life back in the day as it is to social workers working on the field these days.

He was basically saying that although comparing military work to social work is like comparing apples to oranges, the difficulty and commitment needed to accomplish the rigors of both tasks is just the same.

It is one thing to have a superior that understands the difficulties of his subordinates’ jobs, it is another to have one that knows the difficulties because he himself has experienced it first-hand.

Swift Visit

On the morning of the said day, the secretary arrived in DSWD Field Office 02, 10 minutes ahead of his projected arrival, without much fanfare.

He proceeded to the Office of the Regional Director for a quick change of attire then proceeded to meet with the field office management to discuss the implementation of programs and services in the region.

He then went on to tour the field office units and sections with Regional Director Leonardo C. Reynoso before proceeding to launch the field office’s pair of Compendium of Feature Stories called Pagbangon and Pagsibol, meeting and commending staff while inserting a joke or two along the way.

He then proceeded to talk to the field office’s employees in the multi-purpose building adjacent to the main building where he mentioned the priorities of the department for the year while thanking the staff for their commitment to work amidst the tremendous responsibilities given to the agency.

He even mentioned that in one’s professional career, if a person strives to succeed and does his best along the way, then the end will take care of itself.

Care for Clients

Despite a stance that typifies an archetypal soldier with his chin up, chest out and shoulders back, the secretary can be quite jolly around people especially when he met the field office’s clients in its centers.

He joyfully checked the artwork of clients from the Regional Haven for Women and Girls (RHWG) and got impressed enough that he even arranged for him to purchase one piece that he liked so much but with a catch, that he will only pay for it if it was sold to him with its fair market price, no discounts just because he is the secretary.

Despite the searing heat of the sun, the secretary trudged on and next visited the Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC) as his smile warmed the hearts of the center’s employees and clients alike.

He then visited the toddlers under the center’s care and even carried some of them. He spoke fondly with the house parents caring for them and even took photographs with them.

His last stop during this trip to the region was at the Cagayan Valley Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (CV-RRCY). He checked the facilities under construction as well as the newly-built rooms that can house center and field office visitors in the future.

The secretary then spoke to the clients of the center, the Children In-Conflict with the Law (CICL), to give them advice on how to process the experiences that they had at such a young age.

“Yung mga nangyari sa inyo noon, kalimutan niyo na dahil tapos na yon. Ang importante bigyan ninyo ng halaga itong pagkakataon na nandito kayo para pagbutihin ang inyong mga sarili,” the secretary mentioned.

He even asked the clients who among them aspire to be soldiers one day and as the boys’ hands raised one by one, he promised to them that he will help make their dreams come true.

The secretary briefly retreated to the conference area for a quick sip of a buko juice prepared by center staff while chatting with the staff gathered about the history of the center.

His visit ended moments later after as he and his team hit the road back to Manila with a message of clarity to those he was able to meet; do your best and you shall be rewarded, whatever shape or form that may take. ###

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DSWD FO2 Bags 2018 PRAISE Award as 2nd Best Crisis Intervention Unit

April 1, 2019 – The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02’s (DSWD FO2) Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) bagged the award as the 2nd Best CIU during the 2018 DSWD Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE) held at Landbank Plaza, Malate, Manila last Friday.

The field office’s CIU competed in a pool composed of 17 regions and emerged as the second best after bagging the the same recognition in 2016, providing consistent and efficient service to the people that it serves throughout the years.

The award was received by Ms. Cecilia Turingan, Social Welfare Officer II and Head of the field office’s CIU and Ms. Valentina Monterubio, Social Welfare Officer II and Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Isabela Team Leader while being accompanied by DSWD FO2 Regional Director Leonardo C. Reynoso.

The DSWD PRAISE Award is given to outstanding employees, individually or in groups, for excellence in their performance of functions that contribute to the achievement of the agency’s targets.

The field office’s CIU won the award for its innovations in giving medical, education, burial and transportation assistance to indigent individuals and families throughout the region which include early work service, with its staff providing service to clients as early as 7 in the morning to make sure most, if not all, of the clients needing assistance are catered to during regular working hours and to prevent extending services at nightfall.

The unit also provides free medical service to its clients, with a staff providing free blood pressure checkup and even the provision of medicines to treat cases of high blood pressure. The unit also has a coffee steel jug, a water dispenser and styro cups strategically located in the unit’s waiting area for clients. Two (2) televisions showing the audio video presentations (AVPs) of the field office are also placed on the unit’s waiting area for further information on the other programs and services of the field office.

The field office also has strong linkages with local government units, engaging the latter on the requirements needed in the provision of assistance to clients coming from their localities before the assessment of social workers in the unit, thereby preventing cases where clients would need to secure lacking documents when they are assessed in the field office.

Service transparency is also a strength of the unit, with CIU staff who verifies requirements submitted by clients positioned in front of the client waiting area so the latter can see the pile of papers going from one verifier to another, ensuring transparency and making sure that clients are served on a first come, first serve basis but with preferential treatment to Persons with Disability (PWDs), Older Persons, Pregnant Women and the like.

To ensure best performance from the unit’s staff and avoid work fatigue, activities designed to relieve staff from the rigors of work are conducted on weekends to ensure that service to clients are not disrupted.

With the aim of bringing services closer to the people, staff from the Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) also joined the field office’s Information Caravan on June 2018 with the aim of bringing DSWD programs closer to regional residents. As part of the caravan, CIU staff assessed clients on site and provided with assistance after undergoing assessment without needing to go to the regional office to get the same assistance, saving both time and other resources.

In her speech during the re-awarding held at the DSWD FO2 Multi-purpose Building today, Ms. Turingan thanked DSWD FO2 employees for the support while vowing to continue serving to the best of their abilities.+

To this end, the unit aims to deliver more of the same and find new ways to improve so it can provide maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo to the clients that it serves. ### DSWD FO II Social Marketing Unit

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Making Changes Work for Women in the Field Office

March 2019 marks the annual celebration of Women’s Month which from 2017 until 2022 will focus on the theme We Make Change Work for Women, with the aim of empowering women to be active contributors to development.

The field office, being a social welfare agency catering to the needs of the vulnerable sectors like women, focused on conducting activities to drum up interest in the annual endeavor with a focus on events that will reach the most number of people.

Advocacy Through Radio Broadcast

The very first day of March was welcomed with a radio guesting at the DSWD Dos on Air at DWPE Radyo ng Bayan where the theme was discussed along with its connection to the department’s commitment of Malasakit at Pagbabago, furthering its goal of capacitating women to be dynamic contributors to progress.

A Zumba for the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) staff promptly commenced later that day. The activity was designed to impart to participants the idea that for real development to happen, they must be physically fit to do so while also hammering home the idea of camaraderie and solidarity.

An invitation by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on March 6, 2019 at their radio program Ikaw at ang Gobyerno Lokal: LGRRC2 on Air was also taken as an opportunity to share knowledge on the celebration as well as to reach out to the agency’s clients and stakeholders for support to the endeavor.

Another radio guesting was done two days later at DSWD Dos on Air at DWPE Radyo ng Bayan where Attorney Ed Arman Ventolero of the field office’s Legal Service discussed the salient provisions of Republic Act No. 8972, otherwise known as the Solo Parent Welfare Act of 2000, including the rights afforded to solo parents.

Strengthening Partnership and Linkages

The field office also participated in the activities conducted by partner agencies and local government units throughout the month with the field office joining the City Government of Tuguegarao in its commemoration of Women’s Month from March 8 to 9 and even fielded a group of women staff from the field office to join the former’s dance competition.

The field office also took part in the launching of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) 2018 Statistical Handbook on Women and Men in Cagayan Valley last March 13, 2019 which was participated by other government agencies.

Staff Capability Building

An orientation was also conducted by the field office for its solo parent staff last March 15, 2019 where Regional Director Leonardo C. Reynoso discussed the Situationer of Women in the region while Atty. Ventolero held a discussion on laws centered around women like the Solo Parent Welfare Act and the Magna Carta for Women.

Another part of the orientation was capacitating the participants with needed skills to be able to nurture and develop their children despite the absence of a partner, making sure that the former reaches their full potential as they grow and mature.

Simultaneous Celebration

The celebration of Women’s Month was also done in the 5 satellite offices through the Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Teams in the provinces of Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya as well as its centers and institutions, giving their staff, clients and residents the opportunity to strengthen their bond and spend quality time.

As part of the above-mentioned endeavor, a Symposium on Women’s Rights and Republic Act No. 9262, otherwise known as The Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act of 2004 was conducted for Regional Haven for Women and Girls’ clients.

The activities mentioned provide hope that the yearly conduct of the Women’s Month Celebration will provide an avenue in order to pursue continued empowerment of women in our society. ### Written by: Mylene E. Attaban, Social Welfare Officer III, Focal Person for Women

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Lilok

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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Courage in the Face of Challenges

Natural and man-made calamities are chilling. When nature strikes, we are at the mercy of the catastrophe that it dishes. Calamities are but normal but without vigilance, properties, sources of living and even life can be taken away. Our best preparations can go a long way towards helping us overcome tragedies.

Challenges are but a part of living and problems mold us into becoming stronger and more determined. We surely develop more hope through trials and struggles. While living through these, there are people and organizations always able and willing to help. These are the moments that enable us to continue moving forward again.

Lilibeth Capa, a resident of Aridawen, Sta. Teresita, Cagayan and a member of the Agta group, is one of the beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) for Typhoon Ompong. Her family was heavily affected and never knew how they will get to stand again after the devastation caused by Ompong. Their shelter made of light materials were all but ruined and many of their things were damaged. Their shelter, which was slowly built through years of hard work, was heavily damaged after just a night of battering from the typhoon. Even their livelihood, selling rattans, was affected from the effects of the storm.

Idi ipigsa na iti angin nan, imyan kamin dyay evacuation center, idyay iskwelaan nga asideg kanyami. Intugot mi dyay dadduma a gamit mi, ken dagidyay nabati ket inabbungan mi lattan iti tulda. Duwa rabii kami nga nagyan dyay evacuation center, idi agsubli kamin dyay balay awanen ti naabutan mi. Naperdi tay balay mi ket haanen mabalin a pagyanan, (When the winds blew stronger and stronger, we decided to move into the evacuation center, in a school near our house. We brought some of our things while we left most covered by a tolda (flat tent). We stayed in the evacuation center for two nights, when we came back, everything we left was damaged. Our house was destroyed, and we could not stay there anymore)” Lilibeth said.

Edwin Capa, her husband, had at times found it hard to climb steeps after the typhoon to get rattan, their primary source of income, but he continues to push through given that the endeavor is their biggest source of income. Together they have six children, but poverty caused only one of them to reach secondary level and the rest didn’t finish their elementary education. Two of their children are already married.

Idi malpas ti bagyo, haan mi ammo nu kasano kami pay makarugi ulit, pati kar-ruba mi naperdyan met laeng, awan pagalan kanen mi ken awan ti naumno a pagturugan. Tatta nga nakaawat kamin ti tulong ti gobyerno, isu ti usaren mi a pangpaurnos ti balay, (After the typhoon, we had no idea how we could start again. Our neighbors suffered the same faith as many of their properties were ruined also. It was so hard to get food and we didn’t have a proper place to sleep. Now that we have received an assistance from the government, we now have the means to be able to repair our house)” Lilibeth added.

The family of Lilibeth Capa is one of the beneficiaries of the ESA who was given assistance for the repair of their house. The family received their assistance last March 14, 2019 at the field office’s multi-purpose building. The program assists in the shelter repair of typhoon beneficiaries wherein P30,000 cash is given to typhoon victims with totally damaged houses and P10,000 for the families with partially-damaged houses.

Dakkel a katulungan kanyami dyay kwarta ta isu ti pagpaurnos mi ti balay mi, sukatan min ti semento dyay plywood tapnu haantun nalaka a maperdi nu adda man umay a bagyo, (The cash that was given to our family is a big help as we will use it to rebuild our house. We will use cement rather than plywood so when the typhoon comes, it will not be easily damaged)” Lilibeth said.

Lilibeth knows that the amount given will not be enough to fully repair and restructure their house, but she knows that the assistance given is the first step towards realizing a house that is structurally sound and able to withstand typhoons. She also knows that her family can sleep more comfortably now that the assistance is ready for them to use for repairs.

Lilibeth says that having the assistance to start doing repairs have emboldened her family to start striving not just to rebuild their home but to also rebuild their life to provide a better future to the kids that are still under her care.

Trials of every kind are difficult but with the assistance given by the agency coupled with determination, a heart willing to move forward and courage to face any challenges that come, no problem is ever insurmountable indeed. ### Written by: Queenie Mae D. Cortez and Ronie B. Lapada, Cagayan State University (CSU) Carig Campus Interns, with a report from: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad

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Women’s Voices Call for Continued Empowerment

Every March, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) joins the nation in celebrating Women’s Month as part of Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988, providing for the observance of the month of March as Women’s Role in History Month.

The theme “We Make Change Work for Women” was used in 2017 and 2018 and shall also be used this year until 2022. The theme aims to highlight the empowerment of women as active contributors to development.

As part of this year’s activities, women from the field office were asked about their take on women empowerment and what they think are the gains that were already achieved and the development that they hope to see in the future.

Protection through Laws

Janet M. Tuppil, 23, an Administrative Assistant working for the Protective Services Division of the field office, says that she is confident that she can exercise her rights as a woman through laws such as RA 9262, also known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act (VAWC) of 2004, while also hoping for more education towards men in the grassroots to be more aware of these laws. Like other women, she says that she already experienced being cat-called which she says was unpleasant and downright terrifying.

“Masaya ako dahil sa mga opportunity na ibinibigay sa amin at dahil na rin sa mga batas na meron para sa proteksyon ng mga babae. Sana magkaroon pa ng maraming orientation lalo na sa mga kalalakihan para malaman ang mga batas na ito kasi ako, nasubukan ko na ring ma cat-call at hindi maganda sa pakiramdam,” Janet said.

Unbridled Confidence

Nancy V. Mateo, 42, single and working as a staff for the field office’s Accounting Section, says that her confidence to build herself up does not depend on anyone and she says that she continues to pursue personal and professional growth despite being single for the bulk of her life.

“Ako ay halimbawa na posibleng maging independent at makamit ang mga pangarap kahit na mag-isa. Hindi palaging kailangang may kasama o katulong para maging successful,” she says.

Jonavie N. Canlas, 40, working for the Records Section of the office, says that she has grown accustomed to supporting her two kids for the past six years.

She says that  her experiences for the last 6 years galvanized her into becoming an independent woman.

Finding Her Voice

Joylalyn T. Leones, 30, an Administrative Officer at the Financial Management Division of the field office, says that she appreciates the fact that she has a say in the decisions made for her family and that she and her husband take shared responsibilities in everything they do. She credits these through a society that is now more aware of the rights that should be bestowed to women.

“Sa mga desisyon, masaya ako na binibigyan ako ng tsansa ng asawa kong magsabi ng aking saloobin, lahat ng mga desisyon sa pamilya ay dumadaan sa akin. Ganoon din sa trabaho, nakikita ko ang pantay na pagtrato sa mga lalaki at babae,” Joylalyn said.

Toughening Up for the Dirty Jobs

For some, pushing for equal rights also mean learning how to do the jobs that most people think should only be done by men.

Kathleen G. Manuel-Semania, 29, an Accounting staff of the field office, said that she had to learn how to drive and even change tires to help her husband in the day-to-day responsibilities in their house.

“May mga strengths and weaknesses ang mga lalaki at babae pero hindi ibig sabihin ay hindi kayang matutunan yung mga ginagawa ng mga lalaki. Natuto akong mag-drive para kapag hindi magawa ng asawa ko ay ako nalang. Pati pagpapalit ng gulong alam ko na rin,” Kathleen mentions.

Breaking Stereotypes

When Mischelle A. De Yro started working and had to be assigned to a job mostly reserved for men, she heard chatters from other people questioning her ability to handle the job. She heard how people sometimes associate women with stereotypes like tending to children and staying at home to do household chores.

“Kapag may mga activity sa ibang lugar dati, may mga nagtatanong at nagugulat kung bakit ako nandoon kasi nga panglalaki yung trabaho ko. Pero pinakita ko sa lahat na kaya ko rin lahat ng kaya ng mga lalaki,” she said.

Mischelle, now 30, considers the development of women’s rights through laws and other endeavors as a necessity to further push for equality between men and women. She also says that she sees equal rights now that she’s working for the field office.

Shattering Discrimination

Ms. Sheril S. Ubarre, 36, an Administrative Assistant working for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program here in the field office said that while she is fortunate enough to land a job in the field office, she laments about the lack of job opportunities given to her fellow solo parents due to what she thinks is unfair discrimination from hiring companies.

“May mga kagaya ko (solo parent) na nag-a-apply sa mga kompanya na hindi tinatanggap kasi ang tingin sa amin ay palaging nag-a-absent kasi nga mag-isa sa pag-aalaga sa anak,” Sheril laments.

Sheryl, whose husband passed away when their child was only 8 months old recalls the challenges that being a solo parent presents while hoping for greater opportunities for those like her.

“Kami, kaya namin ang mas malaking responsibilidad sa trabaho, kailangan lang ng opportunidad. Sana rin mas lalong mapalakas ang asosasyon ng mga solo parents para mas lalong marinig ang aming mga hinaing,” Ms. Sheril added. ###

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