DSWD, partners rescue child victim of online sexual exploitation

As one of the lead agencies responsible for protecting the children, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII responded to the call of rescuing a child victim of exploitation in spite of its huge task in implementing the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

DSWD-7 Staff together with the WCPC- VFU team rescue a 13-year-old victim of online sexual exploitation in Cebu City.

The operation started when the grievance team of DSWD-7 Operations Action Center received a message from the DSWD-7 official Facebook page about kids being exploited online during these Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and while the SAP payout is ongoing. The reports were forwarded immediately to the Women and Children Protection Center – Visayas Field Unit (WCPC- VFU) of Philippine National Police (PNP) for investigation.

After days of surveillance, the alleged online exploitation of a child was confirmed. On May 28, 2020 together with the WCPC- VFU team led by PLTCOL Mary Grace R. Madayag, the DSWD-7 rescued a child, who is a victim of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) in Sitio Rio, Brgy. Lahug, Cebu City.

According to one of the rescuers, the 13-year-old girl, from a humble family has been photographed naked since 2018 and these pictures were sent online in exchange of money. The pimp is a neighbor and a close family friend so she was never suspected. This pimp sent the child’s nude photos to her husband, an American who is currently living in US.

Right now, the girl is under the custody of DSWD-7. She is provided with temporary shelter, food, psychosocial counseling and hygiene kit while the case is ongoing. ###

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SWDAs ready to help DSWD in SAP validation

In region 7, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) already started the validation of SAP for the second tranche.

As an initiative to help fast track the validation process, Assistant Regional Director for Operations (ARDO) Shalaine Marie S. Lucero through the Standards Development Section (SDS) invited The Social Welfare and Development Agencies (SWDA) to volunteer for this cause.

ARDO Shalaine Marie S. Lucero and the staff of Standards Development Section held an online conference with the representatives of some SWDAs who volunteered to help DSWD in the SAP validation.

“We really appreciate your willingness to spend your valuable time for the validation of SAP for free,” said ARDO Lucero through an online conference.

The online conference was held to brief the volunteers about the SAP program, grievance mechanism, qualifications and other information about SAP and for them to ask for any questions or clarifications about SAP implementation.

The proposed validation team will be composed of 1 DSWD staff, 1 LGU staff and 1 member of the community (such as BHW or parent leader).

The volunteers may choose to be assigned in the validation or encoding of the SAP form. They will be endorsed to the mayors to be recognized as partners or part of the validation team.

ARDO Lucero clarified that apart from PPE, these volunteers will not get anything in return and only those who have attended the online orientation or endorsed by the DSWD will be accepted as a volunteer. However, the volunteers can work on their preferred time and place of volunteering.

The following SWDAs offered to volunteer: Holistic Community and Initiative Incorporated; International Care Ministries Foundation Incorporated in Dumaguete; Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated (RAFI); Pagtambayayong- A foundation for mutual aid Incorporated; Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation – Integrated Development Center Incorporated; Arcanys Early Learning Foundation Incorporated; Children of Asia; and Visayas Primary Healthcare Services Incorporated. ###

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From basket weaving to hog raising

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program has brought changes to a lot of Filipino families with not just financial but also substantial support which sparks hope and determination to families to see circumstances with a silver-lining and alleviate their lives out of poverty.

Dimna Terol and her family is one of the family beneficiaries of 4Ps in San Remigio, Cebu aspired to use the cash grant they received monthly to support their family’s needs.

When Dimna and her husband Melvin started their family in the early 2000s, they got hired in a basket weaving industry crafting different designs, forms and shapes of basket products from the indigenous materials found locally.

It is one of the common community livelihoods in their area where these local products were exported and sold in the international market.

Dimna said that while working as basket makers, she and her husband earn one thousand a week, that is equivalent to four thousand a month which is not enough because they have children to feed and send to school.

The Terol couple has three children namely: Charity Mae, the only daughter and eldest child; Jemson, the middle child; and, Melvin Jr., the youngest in the family.

Sauna lisod gyud kaayo mi, maglibog mi unsaon paggamit ug pag-budget sa amoang kwarta aron dili makulang,” exclaimed Dimna.

Mao nagpasalamat gyud ko nga naapil ko aning 4Ps kay dako kaayo siya og natabang sa among pamilya, nakatabang gyud siya sa among kalisod,” added Dimna.

Dimna said that they are grateful that they qualified to become a beneficiary of the program after they were identified by the DSWD staff in the survey conducted approximately ten years ago.

Tungod sa 4Ps, nakapaeskwela gyud mi sa among mga anak gani naa nami anak nga ni graduate pag 2017 og pagkamaestra,” Dimna said that her eldest got a scholarship in college from Expanded Students Grants in Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) while her other children is second year college taking up Graphics and Design and the other is an incoming grade 10.

Because of 4Ps, Dimna said that she was able to save money to start a new livelihood which is to sell pork products until they were able to accumulate their savings and expand their business.

Dimna Terol with one of the two female hogs their family have for their livelihood. She said one swine could produce more than 10 piglets from each pregnancy.

Ang pagka-4Ps namo nakatabang-tabang gyud aron kami makatigum og makasugod ug laing panginabuhian,” she said.

It was also then the family decided to shift their livelihood and focus on hog raising because it provides them better income.

Currently, Dimna and her family depend on their two female swine and native chickens while his husband works now as a construction worker.

Dimna said that she made sure that the cash grant they received from the government will be spent well in things that they are purposely given to.

Dapat tarungon gyud nato og gasto ang kwarta og gasa gikan sa gobyerno sa maayo na butang,” Dimna said while pointing out the hogs they have because of her savings and spending their money wisely. ###

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The secret of Lolo Jose in reaching the big 100

Reaching a hundred-year-old may be hard to achieve these days, given the kind of lifestyle that this generation is having. But there are still some who made it to the big 100-year-old and beyond. And the question left hanging, is there really a secret to a longer life?

Lolo Jose’s firmly holds his Php 100,000 gift from the government.

A simple answer from Lolo Jose (not his real name), when asked about his secret why he reached 100 years old, “utan ug isda ra gyud, (only vegetables and fish).” Lolo Jose added that keeping a positive view in life is one of the factors why he reached this age.

A hardworking man in his younger years, he was able to support his children’s’ education.  Hearing the news, Lolo Jose could not contain his excitement upon knowing that he would be receiving the said amount.

When asked what to use with his money, he cheerfully answered “ipalit ug bugas ug sud-an (I will buy rice and viand).” Lolo Jose also plans to renovate his room as he is living with his youngest daughter’s house in the midwest part of Cebu.

Some Centenarians may not be as healthy as Lolo Jose, but their faces exuded joy when they received the centenarian cash gift.

The Republic Act No. 10868 or Centenarian Act, Filipinos who reached 100 years old will receive cash gift worth Php 100,000.00 through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), this is the government’s way in honoring the centenarians.

Aside from the cash gift, the centenarians also received a letter of felicitation signed by the President of the Philippines.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, the DSWD Region 7 continues to distribute centenarian gifts to beneficiaries. As of June 2, 2020, the agency has already paid 47 centenarians across Region VII. ###

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