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MAT Baggao, Cagayan Intensifies Response Operations, Helps in the Validation of Damaged Houses

Baggao, Cagayan – The absence of electricity and the intense heat of the sun didn’t stop the Municipal Action Team (MAT) who yesterday joined the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) in conducting assessment of damaged houses caused by Typhoon Ompong in this town.

The four-member MAT joined a team that also included staff coming from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The team was split into 4 teams that set up command posts in barangays’ Poblacion, Bagunut, Tallang and San Jose for efficiency in the assessment of houses.

Mr. Christian C. Nicolas, the MAT team leader and Municipal Link for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the municipality, said that cooperation between members of the MAT made the assessment of houses easier to accomplish.

“Nagtutulungan kami bilang isang grupo (MAT) para mabigyan ng serbisyo ang mga higit na nangangailangan,” Mr. Nicolas added.

Baggao, Cagayan was the hardest-hit area by the aforementioned typhoon, making landfall in the municipality at 1:40 AM of September 15, 2018 and leaving a trail of 1,964 totally damaged houses and 12,091 partially-damaged houses according to initial reports coming from the local government unit.

This figure is being assessed for veracity by the assessment team.

The field office was able to preposition a total of 300 family food packs before the landfall of Typhoon Ompong while augmenting an additional 3,300 food packs after the storm.

Field office staff continue to do response operations in the area, earlier setting up a communication service allowing locals free call and internet service while they await the restoration of electricity in the area, which was pegged to be completely restored by November. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit, DSWD Field Office II

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Further Aid Given for Typhoon Ompong Relief Operations

Tuguegarao City – The Samahang Magbubukid sa Lambak ng Cagayan, Inc. in partnership with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Region 02 donated a total of P329,110.00 to the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) last September 24, 2018 as additional help for Typhoon Ompong-affected families in the region.

The group was led by Ms. Rubelita S. Bancod, the Division Manager of NIA’s Administrative and Finance Division, who mentioned how glad they are that their group can make a difference with the donation they made.

“We want to be involved with relief operations and this (donation) is one way that we will be able to help,” Ms. Bancod mentioned.

OIC-Regional Director Lucia S. Alan personally welcomed the group along with OIC-Assistant Regional Director for Administration, Mr. Celso Arao, Jr.

OIC-Alan said that the amount will be used immediately and instructed the Disaster Response and Management Division (DRMD) to process the needed documents to use the amount for response measures.

As of today, the field office has a standby fund totalling P10,208,531.04 and a stockpile valued at P4,200,000.00 ready for distribution and use for relief operations. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit, DSWD Field Office II

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Ang Kwentong Pagsibol ng Isang Solo Parent

Mr. Pedro T. Balingao resides in Barangay Ragan Norte, in the Municipality of Delfin Albano, Isabela. He grew up in a community where tenant farming is the way of life. The tradition of being a farm laborer is passed from one generation to another. He embraced the tradition and also became one. He now realizes that his seasonal income does not suffice the growing needs of his five children. His income amounting to P150.00 barely covers the basic need of his family. Fate even tested his resilience as his wife went abroad and hasn’t heard from her since. He even incurred debts just to send his wife abroad that in turn left him alone with the burden of paying all these said debts. For five years, he struggled financially and emotionally as a solo parent. Juggling both the role of bringing food on the table and providing maternal care.

When Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) was introduced in their community, he grabbed the opportunity and became a member of Aquarius SLP Association. Upon receiving the Seed Capital Fund (SCF) amounting to P10, 000.00, he invested it to start his own hollow block manufacturing business. It was his long-time dream to run his own enterprise for him to maximize his skill and earn more. He was able to purchase raw materials such as cement, gravel, sand and the like. He also acquired two units of hollow block moulder. He started producing an average of 400 pieces of hollow blocks per week. Through his perseverance, he effectively utilized his resources and to date doubled his production up to 1,000 pieces of hollow blocks per weekly cycle of production. During the start of his enterprise he earned an average gross income of P3,000.00 per week. Now, his project generates up to P10,000.00 gross income per week which draws an average net income of P5,000.00 per week. It translates to an additional average monthly income of P20,000.00. The enterprise also provided income for others as he hires delivery service earning P1.00 per one hollow block.

He now currently operates his own hollow block manufacturing shop. As proof of his hard labor, he was able to generate savings and used it to build a more comfortable house for his children. The steady income helped him send his five children to school and provide them with decent meal. The financial assurance that the project brings sheds hope for his children’s future. As he learned the value of savings in SLP, he now religiously sets aside a portion of his income for future diversification of his project. In his own little way, he gives back to the community by creating employment as he hires delivery service which in turn contributes to the local economic growth.

Despite life’s adversities, he remained optimistic and focused his energy on making the lives of his children better. His positivity radiates on his warm smile with no traces of resentment and regret.  “Hindi ako sinukuan ng DSWD at sinuportahan pa nila ang aking kabuhayan sa pamamagitan ng pagpapahiram ng puhunan mula sa SLP, upang sa ganon ay makasabay ako sa hamon ng buhay,” Mr. Balingao said. ### By: Melisen A. Taquiqui, SLP Social Marketing Officer

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A Sewer’s Dream

Traces of hardships are visibly seen on the hands of Ms. Iris U. Viola, a sewer and a mother of two. Through the years, countless needles, rolls of threads and yards of fabric were her constant companion to get by. Although she has minimal skill on sewing she strived to make a living out of it since the family’s main source of livelihood is seasonal in nature. She faced difficulty in covering the needs of her family ever since her children entered formal schooling. In times when she couldn’t rely on sewing, she recalled that just to bring home a kilo of rice, she even tried to scavenge roots crops, make a snack out of it and sold it. They don’t own fishing gears to maximize what the sea can offer. Her husband only practices “maki-daklis”, a local term for percentage basis income on fishing.

Before the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) was introduced in their community, Ms. Iris’s family had no steady income. They relied on tenant farming as their main source of livelihood, earning a percentage basis income of P3,000.00 a month. She also did occasional sewing as a side line job and kept a small sari-sari store to augment their seasonal income. Unfortunately, she couldn’t depend on these said ventures since she had minimal skill on sewing and her sari-sari store had limited items.

SLP shed light on the aspiration of a mother to further her skills. In 2016, she grabbed the opportunity for skills upgrading and enrolled at Aparri Polytechnic Institute together with three SLP members from Buguey. The intervention capacitated her on the technical know-how on Dressmaking. It also provided Ms. Iris with physical asset as she received starter kit for the operation of her enterprise.

She earns an average of P400.00 a day on sewing and repair services on a regular basis. On peak days, she earns as much as P700 a day. This venture translates to a monthly additional income of P13, 200.00 for the family. On days were demand is high, she hires seasonal workers and provides them a percentage basis income. She employs at most three mothers from her neighborhood.

At present, through the gains from her sewing business, Ms. Iris was able to diversify the sources of her income. She was able to expand her sari-sari store to include a purified water refill, bottled drinks and a loading station. She also acquired one unit of freezer for her sari-sari store. Moreover, she also ventured on hog raising. Her hardships on her ventures paid off as she sees the fruits of her labor becoming a reality. The family was able to build their dream house. It may not be that big but it is now concrete, more comfortable and sturdy compared to the previous one. Greater than this economic gains, she finds fulfillment in being able to provide alternative income for other mothers like her. In her own little way her enterprise is making a difference to the community.

There is no single formula for success, her attitude towards life and the positive outlook that she emanates became her driving force to effectively grow her enterprise. She is more than thankful for the opportunity that SLP provided. “Nagbalin nga katulungak ti negosyok nga panagdait nga impaay iti SLP, maited kun iti kasapulan iti anak ku ken kaasi ni Apo gumin-awa met panagbiyag mi (Naging katuwang ko ang negosyong pananahi na hatid ng SLP sa pagtugon sa pangangailangan ng aking mga anak at sa awa ng Diyos guminhawa naman ang aming buhay),” she said. ### By: Melisen A. Taquiqui, SLP Social Marketing Officer

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DSWD Field Staff Nagbahagi ng Family Food Packs sa GID Area sa Kabila ng Malakas na Buhos ng Ulan

Cabarroguis, Quirino – Nagbahagi ng Family Food Packs ang Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2) sa mga residenteng nasalanta ng Bagyong Ompong sa Sitio Potia, Brgy. Dibibi.

Sakay ng isang dump truck, matagumpay na nakarating ang Municipal Action Team (MAT) ng Cabarroguis kasama ang ilang opisyal ng lokal na pamahalan sa Sitio Potia.

Ang naturang sitio ay isa sa mga itinuturing na Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area (GIDA) na pinaninirahan ng mga Indigenous People (IP).

“Agyaman kami ti adu sir, madam ta uray rabiin ken madama bagyo ket niranta da kami nga inikkan ti relief goods. Ti ammuk mabisinan kami tatta rabii ta han kami nakasagana (Kami ay nagpapasalamat na sinadya ninyo kami dito para bigyang ng relief goods. Ang alam namin magugutom kami ngayong gabi dahil hindi kami nakapaghanda),” pahayag ni Marites F. Miguel, isa sa mga residente ng Sitio Potia.

Bagaman gabi na at malakas ang buhos ng ulan, hindi ito inalintana ng mga field staff ng DSWD upang mapuntahan at mahatiran ng tulong ang mga residenteng nasalanta ng bagyo.

“Matatawag itong serbisyong publiko kung isasantabi mo ang kapakanan ng iyong pamilya para sa ikakabuti ng mga mas nangangailangang mga tao. Sakripisyong hindi matatawaran sa mga ngiting naidudulot nito na sumisilay sa bawat taong naabutan ng mga tulong mo,” sabi ni Ruth L. Taccad, Social Welfare Assistant ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program sa naturang lugar.

“Ang mga ngiti at pasasalamat mula sa ating mga benepisyaryo na napagsilbihan natin ay nagbibigay ng hindi maipaliwanag na kasiyahan na tanging mga lingkod bayan lamang ang makakaramdam,” dagdag pa nito.

Sa kabuuan, 800 Family Food Packs ang naibigay sa mga nasalanta ng Bagyong Ompong sa Cabarroguis, Quirino. ### By: Margaret G. Arao, Listahanan Information Officer

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Field Workers Go Through Treacherous Tracks to Give Aid to Typhoon-affected Families

Sto. Nino, Cagayan – Days of sunlight allowed field workers in this town to finally reach Barangay Lipatan, which was unreachable for days because heavy rains made the river that connects the town to the barangay dangerous for boats to cross.

Members of the Municipal Action Team (MAT) of Sto. Nino had to load family food packs into boats that had to cross the river just to reach the intended recipients.

Upon reaching the other side, the team had to climb a muddy steep with the assistance from residents of the barangay.

The team tapped the assistance of residents to help them transfer the family food packs from the boat to the top of the steep that leads to the barangay.

The team also had to load the family food packs to carabao-drawn carts before reaching the destination.

Ms. Lanie Claire Aquino, the Municipal Link for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in the municipality, said that while the trek was tough and risky, the team was determined to reach a place where food and other basic necessities have become scarce in the days following the typhoon’s exit from the land.

“Medyo mahirap yung daan lalo na yung bangka na sasakyan para mahatid yung mga relief goods kasi medyo mataas pa yung tubig pero kailangan dahil nangangailangan mga tao na nabigyan ng food packs,” Ms. Aquino said.

She also said that seeing how glad the people were with the assistance that they received was worth all the hardship that they endured.

“Sulit ang pagod kapag nakikita mong may mga taong masaya sa tulong na iyong ibinibigay,” Ms. Aquino added.

There was a total of 233 families composed of 922 individuals affected by the typhoon in the municipality.

The field office prepositioned a total of 300 family food packs before the storm and an additional 500 after the typhoon as augmentation for the municipality. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit

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Additional Relief Assistance Arrive in the Municipality of Enrile, Cagayan

Enrile, Cagayan – Members of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02’s (DSWD FO2) Municipal Action Team (MAT) was able to reach Sitio Naruang in Barangay Lanna, the farthest place in the area and one of the hardest places to reach in the municipality to distribute additional family food packs to Typhoon Ompong-affected families.

Mr. Danny Celso D. Quilang, Project Development Officer (PDO) II of the field office’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), led the team that went to the area to distribute a total of 33 food packs to the residence.

“Malayo yung lugar pero kinaya naman ng ating sasakyan at sa pagtutulungan na rin ng ating MAT at ng LGU (Local Government Unit). Masayo tayo na nabigyan na natin sila ng assistance kasi talagang kailangan nila ito.” Mr. Quilang said.

Lola Irene Galindon, 73, one of the residents of Sitio Naruang, was elated with the assistance given as her family had been living with scarce resources for a couple of days since the onslaught of the typhoon.

“Maski ararayu yaw sitio mi, magayayak kami nga inyan nga nakakadek nga unfun nga nagafu kang DSWD (Even though our place is far, we are glad that DSWD was able to reach it to give us assistance),” Lola Irene said.

The field office prepositioned 300 family food packs to the municipality before the landfall of Typhoon Ompong last September 15, 2018 and also augmented an additional 500 food packs after the storm.

To date, 22 barangays of Enrile were affected by the typhoon which includes 9,850 families or 36,856 individuals. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit

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Courage in Times of Adversity

Time check, September 13, 2018, 7:00 PM.

Murmurs turn into loud noises as field office staff struggle to keep things in check for the start of the disaster duty for Typhoon Ompong. People in the field office have been doing this for quite some time but there is an air of difference this time around.

Learnings from previous disaster experiences have made staff hyper-alert about what to do and how to get things done. No longer are they clueless about how to approach things, they seem to know what to do.

But knowing what to do and actually doing it are quite different, just as promising things is different and much easier to do than living up to your promises. But then again, this is disaster duty, and people in the field office are required to live up to their words because people’s safety is at stake.

In the middle of all of this is Constancia Domingo of the Disaster Response and Management Division (DRMD). The diminutive lady with an iron will was tasked to consolidate the reports coming from the different Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) offices regarding pre-emptive evacuations and the like.

September 15, 2018, 1:40 AM

The typhoon started battering through structures, and in the process, destroying the newly-built warehouse and multi-purpose gym of the field office. The main building’s third floor wasn’t spared either. The ceiling collapsed under the pressure of the searing winds.

Soon thereafter, electricity was shut. No longer did Ms. Domingo have the means to communicate to people from the satellite offices to consolidate data.

“Mahirap noong oras na iyon kasi nawalan ng kuryente. Mahirap kumuha ng data at wala ring paraan para magpadala ng impormasyon sa taas (central office),” Ms. Domingo said.

But she couldn’t sleep too because someone had to man the Quick Response Team (QRT) that night. She thought that maybe the winds would die down soon so she could continue consolidating reports for submission afterwards but it didn’t. The winds continued pounding the building like there’s no tomorrow. It became horrifying.

Ms. Domingo started thinking about the safety of her little kid and husband whom she had to leave that night so she could report to the office. Her husband wasn’t feeling alright too. He was earlier diagnosed with a heart condition that needs to be operated as soon as possible.

She thought about leaving the office to check on them but the winds and the threat of debris falling on her were too dangerous to ignore. She couldn’t call or text them too.  The problems continued piling on.

But just like a soldier who continues to march on despite the obvious danger, Ms. Domingo soldiered on with her task. She prayed and gave everything up to her God.

September 15, 2018, 12 Noon

The winds were no more and the people in the field office were allowed to go outside to check the remnants of Ompong. The destruction was apparent and Ms. Domingo couldn’t believe what she saw. Buildings, trees, posts and houses were devastated. Some roads were blocked by debris. There were blots of flooded areas and ruined rice and corn fields. She thought of the people who were affected. She had a moment of grief, and at the same time, a very strong urge to immediately respond to their needs.

Despite the traumatic evening, service is passion for Ms. Domingo, so she continued doing her job with vigor – coordinating with people, consolidating reports and the like. She says that no amount of money can compensate the fulfillment she gets from being able to serve the marginalized.

“Humuhugot tayo ng lakas sa mga taong tinutulungan natin. Hindi naman kalakihan ang sahod sa ginagawa natin pero ang pagtupad sa ating tungkulin at ang pasasalamat na natatanggap natin sa ating mga natutulungan ay sapat na,” Ms. Domingo said.

It is during these times that a public servant’s heart is tested. Those who serve wholeheartedly come out stronger and wiser, while those who lack the passion end up quitting. Ms. Domingo, who surpassed typhoon Ompong feeling braver and more equipped, says that she will still continue to render service no matter how strong the future typhoons can get. ### By: Chester Carlo M. Trinidad, Social Marketing Unit

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