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DSWD warns against ‘Noy-Noy Aquino Foundation’ text scam

The Department of Social Welfare and Development on Monday, April 15, 2013 warned the public against a new wave of scam text messages claiming they have won hundreds of thousands of pesos from the “President Noy-Noy Aquino Foundation.”

“We have already issued earlier warnings before but there are really people out to mislead so let us all be vigilant,” said DSWD secretary Corazon Soliman.

The department said it learned of the scam after many callers informed its Pantawid Pamilya National Program Monitoring Office (NPMO).

It said the text message claims the recipient won P950,000 from the “President Noy-Noy Aquino Foundation 4Ps Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.”

Recipient were then asked to text their “complete name, age, address, work.”

“The DSWD emphasizes that this is not true because the Department does not hold raffle promos or draws,” the DSWD said. — DVM, GMA News

It urged recipients to report the text to the nearest DSWD office or text to the Pantawid Pamilya Grievance Text Hotline 0918-912-2813. ### (Social Marketing Service)

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681* Friends (An LGU Links’ Story)

Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya—Teaching is known to be the noblest profession. Teachers do not just talk in front of the class discussing about pretty interesting facts that make student be amaze of all the happenstances in the world. They do not just write on the chalkboard information that enriches every student’s knowledge. But above all, teachers nurture their students.

Teachers also nurture their students with essential values to mold them into a better individual. They cultivate their students’ spirits so that they may be equipped with valor and courage in order to withstand life’s challenges.

Knowing all the significant roles of being an educator, I took Bachelor of Science in Education, major in Secondary Education. Until now, I am still very grateful to the divine help because I was able to graduate, to finish my studies and fulfill my greatest dream—to teach.

I am not the most influential person in the world. No. Not even in our municipality. I am just an ordinary person who inculcates facts in the innocent minds of people hungry for knowledge.

I am Rogie B. Alcesto, the LGU Link of Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya. I assist the Municipal Link the implementation of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program, popularly known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Though my job as a LGU Link does not have any connection to what I have studied, to my field of specialization, I fully understand my essential role in this program. I learned and embraced with my whole heart the objectives of the program—which is to invest in the health and education of poor Filipino children aged 0-14 years old.

At first I thought I cannot do it. How on earth will I speak in front of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Diadi? In front of 681 beneficiaries to be exact. Yet, that fear was surpassed with my overwhelming desire to serve my fellows, to instill values in their minds. And in their hearts as well.

My role as a LGU Link started to unfold when Mac Paul [Alariao], the MunicipaI Link was invited me to be a resource speaker during one of the Family Development Sessions.

There were butterflies in my stomach on that day. I was so nervous. In front of me are individuals of diverse personas and comprehension. How will I interact with them? What if they will not accept the things that I will be imparting? What if they will not understand me? What if they do not like me? These were the questions that boggled my mind.

But I have to be strong. I have to be confident. After all, this will open the door to the realization of my greatest dream—to inculcate knowledge in the innocent minds of those craving for it. To teach is my passion.

Days have passed. A series of Family Development Sessions were done. I have witnessed the progress of the beneficiaries, on their values. There were even those who exclaim how the FDS helps them to be more responsible parents to their offspring.

But above all, I realized that I do not need to possess super powers to influence other. With my own simple ways, I can touch a person’s life. Somehow, I can help them to have positive perceptions in life that will serve as their armor in dealing with life’s intricacies.

Teachers are not just those who talk in front of the class discussing about pretty interesting facts that make student be amaze of all the happenstances in the world. They are not just those who write on the chalkboard information that enriches every student’s knowledge. Teachers are not just found in a four-walled classroom.

Indeed, teaching is known to be the noblest profession. And I am grateful to 681 friends for making me realize my dream. ### By MAC PAUL V. ALARIAO, Municipal Link/ Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya

*681 refers to the number of households beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the municipality of Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya.

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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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DSWD, Batanes Province ink MOA signing on replication of SOCTECH projects


Batanes MOABasco, Batanes
—Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 headed by Regional Director Violeta A. Cruz initiated the signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Local Chief Executives of Batanes Province to replicate the social technology projects developed by the department.

The six Local Chief Executives of the said province were able to signify their intent to replicate said social technology projects in their respective municipalities last March 13-15, 2013 which was also supported by the Governor of Batanes, Gov. Vicente S. Gato.

The MOA signing ceremony was conducted in each municipality of the 6 municipalities in Batanes. It was witnessed by Vice-Mayors, Department Heads, PSWDO staff, and MSWDO staff.

In her message, DSWD Field Office 02 Regional Director Violeta A. Cruz acknowledged the efforts of the LGU in including fund support in their budget and reminding them to include in their yearly budget for the operation and sustainability of the projects.

Also present during the MOA signing ceremony was the Director of Social Technology Bureau in DSWD Central Office, Director Patricia Luna wherein she recognized the support of the Local Government Units thru the leadership of the Municipal Mayors in replicating the social technology projects for the betterment of their constituents. Also with Director Luna were her STB Division Chief, Ms. Marlyn Moral and DSWD Field Office 02 Social Technology Unit Head Ms. Pasencia T. Ancheta.

Meanwhile, MSWDO Carol Hubalde of the municipality of Ivana affirmed her commitment in the implementation of the social technology projects for the betterment of service delivery to disadvantaged sectors in their locality.

Prior to the MOA signing, last September 13, 2012, DSWD FO 02 and DSWD-STB conducted a social technology marketing on the eight completed social technology projects ready for replication which was attended by Governor Vicente S. GAto, Municipal Social Welfare Development Officers, Provincial Social Welfare Officer and staff, Panlalawigan and Sangguniang Bayan members, Committee Chairman on Social Welfare/Social services.

The eight developed social technology projects which will be replicated soon by Batanes province are Aruga at Kalinga Sa Mga Bata Sa Barangay ( Foster care in the Community), Use of the Modified Social Stress Model (MSSM) in Managing Children in Need of Special Protection, Special Drug Education Center (SDEC), Information Technology Literacy Program for Out–of –School Youth and Youth with Disability, Family Drug Abuse and Prevention Program (FDAPP), Comprehensive Intervention Against Gender Violence, Comprehensive Delivery of Reintegration Services for Deportees, Repatriates & Irregular OFWs and Sheltered Workshop for Older Person and Person with Disability. ### By Pasencia T. Ancheta, Head Social Technology Unit

 

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The Local Governments: Passive Bystanders or Active Partners in the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction Project?

File photo: NHTS-PR is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor are.

I’ve heard it said a number of times that “All elections are local.” Whoever first expressed this observation hit the nail right on the head. It means that even in national elections when we have to vote for a president, vice-president and senators, it is the people, even those residing in the farthest boondocks, who go to the polling places to cast their votes. It is same electorate who vote for candidates for local positions like the mayor, vice-mayor, councilors and barangay officials. So, yes, all elections, even national elections, are local!

To this I add, all government programs and projects are local. Whether these initiatives emanate from the national government or not, they are still going to be implemented for the people. And even if in rare cases when these programs and projects are not directly implemented for and by the people, they inevitably become the beneficiaries.

The NHTS-PR is one fine example of government initiatives that is both national and local. It was conceptualized and implemented by the national government in partnership with local governments and a few national government agencies like PhilHealth. Of course World Bank should not be forgotten as an invaluable partner. You probably know by now that the NHTS-PR was undertaken as a means to efficiently and effectively address the perennial problem of all administrations, past and present, national and local, of poverty, abject poverty. In short, it is a project that has become a sound instrument for the accurate and focused identification of beneficiaries of social protection programs of the national government and local governments and even the private sector.

Given this perspective of partnership and cooperation, what can be done to improve the implementation of the project, especially in the coming household assessment in 2013? Will local governments play a more active role or will they stay as a passive partner whose help is solicited only when needed? Will they be only watching from the sidelines as we in the NHTS-PR do our thing in their home court? Others may be tempted to say “Oh but they were involved in all the activities of the NHTS-PR from Day 1 to the present!” Yes, but it their involvement enough? Can’t the working relationship be improved?

With the wealth of experience gathered in implementing the project, from 2009 to the present, that can serve as valuable inputs, there are a lot to improve on in terms of provision of resources – human, financial and logistical – and in the processes, from recruitment, selection and hiring ofstaff, to the conduct of the household assessment, encoding, transmittal of e-results, running of the Proxy Means Test (PMT) and others like the conduct of the On-Demand Application (ODA) and validation.

On recruitment and selection of enumerators, local governments should be given free rein in identifying and selecting these frontline workers. The usual, knee-jerk reaction to the idea would be “Oh, only those who have connection to the mayor or the SWDO will be chosen!” Okay. I’ll grant there might be some truth to this. But if you were the mayor, who will choose except those you are comfortable working with?! Right? Besides, there are measures which can be adopted to ensure that recruitment will done in accordance with standards. As partner, we can ask the mayor to adhere to the highest standards of selection. With the freedom of choice given to the mayor, we can also at the same time make him responsible for any below-par performance of the enumerators he or she has chosen. Part of agreements which will have to be formalized thru the execution of memorandum of agreement between the DSWD and local goverrnments is the enumerators who did not fill up the forms completely and accurately will be required to go back to the field to rectify their mistakes. With the power and influence of the mayor, ordering these workers would be easy.

For area supervisors and area coordinators, recruitment, selection and hiring will still be done by the department. This is our turf which we should not relinguish.

On the financial and logistical aspects, we must acknowledge the support that local governments have given to the project – from the provision of board and lodging, transportation, some supplies and materials, moral support like the writing of the barangay captains and volunteer workers asking them to assist the fieldworkers and many others. Even the barangay officials have given such support. Seldom have we encountered barangay officials who did not suppor the project. Now this informal set-up can be maintained, meaning we won’t oblige them to provide all these types of support but we will still ask them to provide support or the support can be strengthened and explicitly stated also in the MOA.

We must note that in all the activities of NHTS-PR, except maybe the 1st household assessment when the field workers were allowed to have cash advance for their travel expenses, no cash advance is now allowed for MOA workers. I guess this is where the local governments can come in, maybe on a case-to-case basis depending on capability – the provision of the travel expense for field staff.

From experience, almost all, if not all, of the workers hired are either fresh out of college, jobless and/or come from households that could barely make both ends meet. This means that they don’t have money to defray travel expense. Of course, many, if not all of them were able to remedy the situation but they have to literally and figuratively shed blood, sweat and tears to able to do so. What better arrangement could there be than to ask the local governments to shoulder meantime their travel expenses to be reimbursed later by the department? Or a 50 – 50 sharing could be agreed upon. Or they can be requested to shoulder the travel expense 100% as counterpart. Of course, this has to be studied thoroughly so that parameters could be properly set and specified in the MOA.

Now, what are the possibilities when it comes to the conduct of household assessment? Two things. The NMPO may opt for saturation or still proceed with pockets of poverty. In saturation, all households, whether rich or poor or working class, will be assessed. This is a nice strategy as it will give us a true and clearer picture of the poverty situation and will allow for the correct determination of the percentage of the poor against the whole.There would be no more need for ODA and, maybe, validation. The check and balance here to ensure 100% assessment is for the barangay captain to issue a certification that all households in his/her barangay were assessed after assessment is done in his/her barangay. As for the downside, it would entail tremendous additional costs and also longer enumeration period. Another is, the middle and upper classes, those belonging to social classes A, B and C might put up resistance, meaning, they would not want to submit themselves for enumeration for security or some other reasons.

The 2nd possibility is saturation with some modification, or if the word saturation is misplaced here, then let’s just term it “pockets of poverty”, meaning, all households except the middle and upper classes will be assessed. Now to make sure that only those belonging to social classes D and E will be included in the assessment, the local governments thru the barangay officials and the SWDO and certified by the mayor will come up with a list of household not to be assessed, the ABCs, which will surely be shorter than if they come up with a list of households to be assessed. The advantages are the costs will be relatively lower. To ensure that all households belonging to the D and E are included, again the barangay captain will have to issue a certification that all households belonging to social classes D and E were assessed, certified correct by the SWDO, and maybe also the mayor. Maybe, we could do away with ODA but still proceed with the validation to reduce inclusion and exclusion errors to zero, if there’s still a need. Now, if there will still be complaints later on, specially on exclusion, then maybe it’s time to review the PMT which may be too stringent.

cctAgain, on the issue of the politically – identified poor, this issue will always be there. For as long as poverty lingers on, there will always be people out to exploit or take advantage of the situation but I’m sure they are in the minority. Even then, let’s not despair. Assuming that there will be political – poor included in the list of households to be assessed, we must not forget that it’s our data-gathering tool – the HAF – that will be used. Besides, the Proxy Means Test, the sole determinant of who will be poor, will still be run. So nobody can put one over us in this respect.

Another concern is the feedback coming in from local governments, only 1 or 2 anyway, that our field staff did a table “survey” during the conduct of the household assessment. To answer this, may I emphasize that the feedback came long after the household assessment was done and it was too late to do verify the report. 2nd, these local governments may have misread the conduct of the On-Demand Application and validation when our area supervisors stayed in just one area to receive applications and complaints as “table survey”. On hindsight, I can only surmise that these could have been avoided had they been more actively involved in our processes.

I honestly believe that all the complaints about exclusion and inclusion would be reduced to a minimum with more active involvement from the local governments.

To sum it all up, the conduct of the next round of household assessment in 2013 can be improved, given all the insights gained from the past. Let’s encourage the local governments to be more actively involved. Let’s formalize the agreements through the execution of a MOA. Let’s operate in an atmosphere of mutual trust and cooperation that befit true partners. Besides, what greater motivation is there for the local governments to make use of the data generated by the NHTS-PR than to make them active partners and CO-OWNERS of the project?! Maybe we can do away with the MOA on data-sharing once this happened.

These are just proposals. I’m not saying that these are the best ideas. If there are better ideas as I’m sure there are many, by all means, bring them out in the market place of ideas and see which we can adopt – my idea, your idea, it doesn’t matter. What’s important to me is the household assessment that will be done this year will be relatively smooth and problem –free…and maybe, just maybe, we’ll have more fun (in the Philippines! By Felipe Adarme, NHTS-PR Regional Field Supervisor

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NHTS-PR pushes Special Assessment in Nueva Vizcaya

aanhassessIn photo: One-on-One Interview. Mr. Felipe Adarme, Regional Field Coordinator, asking questions from the Household Assessment Form (HAF) to one of the households in Lukidnon Nueva Vizacaya.

Tuguegarao City—Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 Regional Household Targeting Unit conducted special household assessment in Barangay Lukidnon, Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya on February 17-22, 2013.

RHTU’s Mr. Felipe Adarme, Regional Field Coordinator, Mr. Christopher Soriano, Regional Associate Statistician and Mr. Matthias James Ryan Tangonan, Regional Information Technology Officer went to the said barangay to undertake the activity.

According to Mr. Adarme, there were 89 households which were identified by the barangay officials, of which 82 of them were assessed.

Barangay Lukidnon, Dupax del Sur, is one of the remotest barangays in the province of Nueva Vizcaya. One has to pass the towns of Aritao, Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya and Carranglan, Nueva Ecija before reaching the place. The barangay was not covered during the first round of household assessment in 2009 and during the On-Demand-Application and validation in 2010 due to peace and order problems.

However, Mayor Romeo Magaway Jr. of Dupax del Sur has recently appealed to Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman for special assessment in their area.

“Most of the houses are inaccessible even to our motorbikes because there are only trails that lead to them. We need to walk an hour or two just to reach the next target households.” Mr. Tangonan said.

“A once in a life time experience, words cannot describe the difficulties we encountered during our travel. It was hard but it is incomparable to the hardship of the people of Lukidnon. It was more than an adventure, it was an opportunity to learn and because of what I experienced, I realized that with my current opportunities I am still privileged and blessed.” Mr. Soriano shared.

“Our Journey beyond the vast and rocky mountains of Barangay Lukidnon was a very exciting and very challenging experience. With all the things that we have encountered during the special assessment I have realized that we are there to give them a hand, it will be their first step in the realization of their dreams. At the end of the assessment I felt the sense of fulfillment, knowing the fact that we became an instrument for them to have a better life.” Mr. Tangonan added.

The National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction was created to identify who and where the poor are and to provide the basis for the identification of beneficiaries of social protection programs. ### By Ailyn P. Aglaua, NHTS-PR Administrative Assistant V

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Pantawid Beneficiaries Advocate Gender Equality and Equity

aagenderIn photo: “We believe in the equal rights of men and women”, yells the Pantawid beneficiaries during the parade around Nagtipunan, Quirino.

NAGTIPUNAN, Quirino– The beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program from this municipality joined in the observance of Women’s Month by advocating Gender Equality and Equity during the 30th Founding Anniversary of the province.

Every Pantawid Pamilya parent group prepared slogans which underscore the value of women in the society. Some messages highlighted respect for women: “Iginagalang ko ang karapatan ng mga babae” (I respect the rights of women), while others promoted the importance of women in the society: “Kababaihan, Kaakbay sa Kaunlaran” (Women, Partners for Development) and “Lakas ng Kababaihan, Lakas ng Bayan” (Strong Women is a Strong Society).

Also, the beneficiaries showcased respect for their better half with slogans bannering the message “Ako ay Pantawid Beneficiary: naniniwala ako sa pantay na karapatan ng babae at lalaki” and “Mahal ko ang aking asawa/pamilya”. Some slogans were also translated to their native dialect of the beneficiaries such as “Bigbigbigek ti karbingan ti maysa a babae. Hagiyo!”

“Kaya ng Nagtipunan Tumawid sa Kaunlaran” (derived from the program’s battlecry “Kaya ng Pinoy Tumawid sa Kaunlaran) was also emphasized during the said event.

The activity aimed to create awareness on the significance of women in the world, and to empower them further to become more participative individuals for nation building.

Meanwhile, the beneficiaries were accompanied by Mr. Arvin Longcop, their Municipal Link and by Cherish G. Macarubbo, Social Welfare Assistant, respectively.

Nagtipunan, is a first class municipality in the province of Quirino. The celebration commemorated the separation of Nagtipunan from the municipality of Maddela, Quirino as a new municipality 30 years ago. ### By ARVIN T. LONGCOP/ Municipal Link, Nagtipunan, Quirino

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“Do not use our program”- DSWD warns politicians

aaepalRelative still to the ongoing implementation of Bawal ang Epal Dito campaign, the FO2 is employing different mediums to ensure that the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will be spared from undue politicking for the upcoming May elections.

Aside from the regular tri-media guestings and interviews and production of news releases, the Field Office also started distributing tarpaulins and flyers to the 83 municipalities and 4 cities covered under the program.

The Field Office also sent communication to the local chief executives regarding the implementation of the campaign and eventually seeks for their full support to take part in its advocacy by not claiming that they have a hold in the selection and removal of beneficiaries in the program.

The “Bawal ang Epal Dito” campaign highlights on the message that only DSWD has the right to remove beneficiaries from the program [Tanging DSWD lang ang may karapatan magtanggal ng pangalan sa Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program] and not any politician who threatens the beneficiaries of being delisted unless they will give their support.

The campaign would also like to empower the knowledge of the beneficiaries that they will not be removed from the program unless they are compliant with the conditions for health and education.

Meanwhile, the messages of the campaign were also conveyed to the beneficiaries during the conduct of Family Development Sessions.

The Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program of the national government. It is also a social protection strategy that invests in the health and education of poor children age 0-14 years old. It is widely known as the Philippine conditional cash transfer program and operates in 1,605 cities and municipalities in 79 provinces in all 17 regions nationwide.

In region 02, the program has a total of 92, 143 households beneficiaries from the provinces of Cagayan with 30, 398; Isabela with 43, 670; Quirino with 6, 548 and Nueva Vizcaya with 11, 527 household beneficiaries as of March 1, 2013, respectively. ###By MARICEL B. ASEJO, Pantawid Information Officer II

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