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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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4Ps Exemplary Child gives relief goods to neighbors

For 13-year old Jhon Rhod Amodia, it is not a hindrance to share blessings to others regardless of age and status in life.

Sa panahon karon, nakita nako nga daghan nagkinahanglan tungod halos kasagaran trabaho naundang man sama sa mga drivers, construction workers ug mananagat mao naka-hunahuna ko isip usa ka batang kristiyano nga motabang ko bisan sa ginagmay nga pamaagi kay matod pa sa pulong sa Ginoo nga mabasa sa bibliya sa Mateo 22:39 Higugmaa ang imong isig katawo sama sa imong kaugalingon (During this time, I saw that there are many who are in need because most of the jobs have to temporarily stop like the drivers, construction workers and fishermen and that is why as a Christian child, I need to help them even in my small way because as the word of God in Matthew 22:39 says, You shall love your neighbor as yourself),” said Jhon Rhod.

Jhon Rhod Amodia gives relief goods to his neighbors. He bought these goods using his savings.

The 2019 Exemplary Pantawid Pamilya Children regional winner who hails from Barangay Gabi, Cordova, Cebu, is the eldest son of Teodulfo and Jonalyn Amodia. His younger and only sibling is Jose Rodulfo, 9 years old.

Teodulfo is a project-based construction worker. When there is no available work, he drives a “trisikad” while Jonalyn helps her husband put food on the table by managing her own “sari-sari” store. She also occasionally sells food in their neighborhood.

Recently, Jhon Rhod decided to make a relief drive for his neighbors using his savings in his “alkansiya”. His mother Jonalyn also added some money to fulfil his plan.

Pinaagi sa tabang sa Ginoo, nakuha nako ang maong kantidad nga igong ikapalit sa relief goods ug nagpasalamat ako nga natubag ang akong mga pag-ampo kay dako gayud ang akong tinguha sa akong kasingkasing nga makatabang ako sa uban nga nanginahanglan sama namo (Through the help of God, I was able to gather the amount that is enough to buy relief goods and I was grateful that my prayers were answered because in my heart I am determined to help others especially those who are in need, like us),” explained Jhon Rhod.

Fifty neighbors including their churchmates were the recipients of Jhon Rhod’s relief drive.

The relief goods included 2 kilos of rice, 2 noodles, 2 canned sardines and 4 eggs wrapped in a plastic container.

Activities during quarantine

While the classes have to suspend by mid-March 2020 due to the community quarantine, Jhon Rhod did not just idle around and waste the time to pass.

He made an effort to help his parents in their household chores while following safety protocols against the corona virus disease (COVID-19).

Nagtabang ko sa akong Papa sa pagpamisbis sa mga tanom ug nagtanom kami kuyog sa akong manghod og utanon sulod sa kaang sama sa kamatis, alugbate, talong ug ampalaya. Importante pud nga pirme limpyo imung panlawas ug palibot aron makalikay ta sa sakit (I helped my father in watering the plants and together with my younger brother, we planted vegetables in pots like tomato, spinach, eggplant and bitter gourd. It is also important that we are also clean in our body and our surroundings to avoid getting sick),” said Jhon Rhod.

During his break time, he also finds time to play with his younger brother and neighbors.

Emergency Cash Subsidy

 Jonalyn also shared that by the time they received their regular cash grant in 4Ps and the emergency cash subsidy under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), she immediately secured their basic necessities like food and vitamins.

Pagkadawat nako kay gipalit jud nako para sa among konsumo sama sa usang sakong bugas, vitamins ug gatas sa mga bata ug gi-budget ang nahabilin para pang-sud-an (By the time I received the cash grants, I immediately purchase items for our basic needs like one sack of rice, vitamins and milk for the children and I budgeted the remaining money for our viands),” said Jonalyn.

She underscored that the cash grants in 4Ps and the emergency cash subsidy under SAP helped their family during the community quarantine since her husband has to stop driving the “trisikad”.

Jonalyn also emphasized that saving money is important because people can have something to use in time of need.

Isip 4Ps beneficiaries kinahanglan kabalo ta unsaon pag-gamit sa hinabang gikan sa gobyerno aron kung adunay mahitabo dili nata maglisod og kuot ug dili magpataka gastos sa dili importante nga mga butang ug motabang ta sa uban nga nagkalisud na gayud (As 4Ps beneficiaries, one should know how to use the assistance provided by the government so that during troubled times it would not be difficult for us because we have savings, we should not spend money to unnecessary things and help those who are in dire need),” added Jonalyn. ###


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Online forum for Child adoption and Foster Care

The global pandemic COVID-19 has made the lives of many difficult, yet worse for those who are already impoverished and vulnerable like the abandoned, neglected and surrendered children who are in need of foster parents and care during these unprecedented times.

Adoption Resource and Referral Section (ARRS) staff prepares the materials for the webinar or online forum for Child Adoption and Foster Care this Friday, June 5, 2020.

To respond to the situation, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-7 through the Adoption and Foster Care services under the Alternative Parental Care program will conduct a webinar on Pre-adoption and foster care counseling.

The purpose of this online seminar is to help those interested adoptive and foster parents to better understand the steps in legal adoption and foster care. This is also a requirement in adoption.

Legal process of adoption ensures children’s welfare as they will be placed permanently to a family environment giving both the adoptive parents and adoptee equal rights and obligations similar to those enjoyed by biological parents and their children.

Foster care on the other hand is providing planned temporary substitute parental care to a child by a foster parent or a foster family for them to grow in a family rather than in a residential care facility.

The Pre-adoption and foster care online conference will be conducted on Friday, June 5, 2020 at 1:30 PM. Interested applicants may email at or contact Ms. Lairisa Ballaso, Adoption Focal at 09192284854 and Ms. Rachel V. Solatorio, Foster Care Focal at 09770136354.

Children need love and care now more than ever. Thus, a loving family whether biological or not, is the best gift we can provide for a child. ###


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LGU Loboc: Exemplary LGU in SAP implementation

Known as a premier tourist destination in the Province of Bohol, the Municipality of Loboc was catapulted in local and foreigners list through its magnificent Loboc River. The winding river plays host to cruisers on board small bancas or floating restaurants and visitors are treated to an idyllic setting of tropical vegetation such as nipa palms, coconut and banana trees.

With tourists pouring in the quaint town of Loboc, it boosted its local economy and provided jobs to the tourism sectors like floating resto operators and workers, cultural dancers, tourist drivers, rondalla musicians among others.

However on March 16, 2020, the entire Bohol was placed on a community quarantine to stop the further spread of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) thereby, closing iconic tourist sites including the Loboc Tourism Complex and the Loboc Eco-Adventure Park.

To address the food and non-food basic needs of the people, the national government created the Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One” Act implemented by the different government agencies including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The DSWD has provided, among others, an emergency subsidy ranging from 5,000 to 8,000 pesos per family to about 18 million low-income poor families who have been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Such subsidy represents the minimum wage rate per region meant to provide the poor households an additional resource to allow them to purchase basic necessities such as food, medicines, vitamins and hygiene essentials.

For Central Visayas region, SAP beneficiaries have received an amount of Php 6,000.00.

The Preparation

Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan shared that upon the directive of the national government, he immediately convened the entire Local Government Unit (LGU) including the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO), various department heads, members of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), Sangguniang Bayan (SB) and the Vice-Mayor.

With a total target of 2,610 family beneficiaries, it was agreed that they will equitably distribute the number of target beneficiaries to the 28 barangays, targeting to 62% of their total number of families.

After finalizing their allocation, each barangay scrutinized every household using the criteria and eligibility of the program.

Dako akong kalipay ug mapasalamaton sa national government tungod niining programa sa pangpahatag og ayuda pinaagi sa DSWD aron matagaan ang pinakalabaw’ng lisud nga igsuon natong Boholano. Aron madali ang pagsumiter sa mga listahan, atong gitahasan ang atong mga barangay officials nga muhatag sa 62% sa mga pamilya sa ilang barangay ug ang ilang mga gisumiter i-validate sa atong MSWDO ug DSWD staff (I am happy and grateful to the national government through DSWD because of their program that gives cash aid to our Boholano less fortunate brothers and sisters. To fast track the submission of list of beneficiaries, we ordered the barangay officials to cover 62% of the families in their barangay and the list of beneficiaries that they would submit has to be validated by the MSWDO and DSWD staff),” said Mayor Calipusan.

Before the actual payout, the LGU initiated consultation meetings and technical assistance with the Barangay Officials and oriented them on the guidelines including how to fill-out the SAC forms.

Beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) in Loboc, Bohol receive their emergency cash subsidy while observing physical distancing. PNP and AFP personnel secure the area for an orderly payout.

To fast track the SAP payout, LGU Loboc made a simultaneous payout to its 28 barangays using the eleven (11) payout teams it has created composed of the following: a Team Leader who also serves as the disbursement officer, 2 validators who check the completeness of the documents, a checker who double check the documents and ensure that there is signature in the payroll, a photographer who took the photos of each beneficiary and security personnel composed of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

After the simultaneous payouts, the LGU also conducted a house-to-house delivery of cash subsidy to 16 senior citizen recipients.

To address complaints on exclusion errors, Mayor Calipusan established a Grievance Center

to cater public concerns and Ms. Analou Luayon, MSWDO head, serves as the overall grievance officer. Complaints posted on social media were also captured and Mayor Calipusan assigned the school administrator of the Loboc Learning Center for Excellence (LLCE), LGU run vocational school, to be the media officer to address all queries from the local media.

Mayor Calipusan also created 28 validation teams for those identified ineligible beneficiaries and identified under the “left-out families” which composed of the following: a Department Head who serves as a team leader and members who is a teacher, LGU staff, DSWD-7 staff and from a representative from the Civil Society Organization (CSO) in the area. ###


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DSWD-7 COVID-19 Initiatives

Known for its #MayMalasakit or compassion and caring service, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII proves that it is more than just a branding. For it is the bloodline of the agency to care as well its employees and staff. Hence in these trying times, the office has instituted various safety and preventive measures to protect the DSWD employees from possible COVID-19 infection.

DSWD accounting staff wears the face masks provided by the office.

According to Assistant Regional Director for Administration Antonio R. Dolaota, the office has formed a task force composed of the administrative division heads including the Human Resource Division who laid out some strategic plans to ensure the safety of its employees while providing service to the public.

Installation of COVID-19 infographics

To spread awareness about the safety measures to cut the spread of Covid-19, the office has installed COVID-19 Health Advisory recommended and issued by the Department of Health (DOH) in the hallway. A signage reminding the employees to observe 1-meter social distancing was also posted almost every corner in the office.

Aside from physical distancing, Dolaota said, “we are always encouraging the staff to follow the protocols issued by DOH such as to practice good hygiene like proper handwashing using soap, use alcohol and other disinfectants, eat healthy food and proper diet, have a good sleep, drink a lot of water, and to take Vitamin C to boost their immune system.”

Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Thermal Scanners

At the onset of the declaration of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Central Visayas, the office immediately provided some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for free to its employees. To date, about 779 pcs of washable face masks, 5,717 pcs of surgical masks, 361 pcs of face shields, and 1,259 pcs of surgical gloves have already been distributed. In addition, the office prepared personal protective suits in case a positive case will be reported.

Forty-eight (48) thermal scanners were also procured and distributed to the different offices including centers and institutions to check employees’ body temperature everytime they come in and out of the office. The security guards are the ones assigned to do thermal scanning to the staff.

Office Disinfection 

Security guard disinfects one of the office vehicles earlier in the morning.

The service provider of the office disinfects the interior and exterior of the building every fourteen (14) days. Apart from that, the General Service Division also disinfects the office vehicles, open surfaces, hand rails including the exterior part of the office daily. Foot baths were also placed in the hallway and entrance door, while a total of 431 bottles of alcohol in different sizes are already distributed per division so the staff can sanitize their hands frequently.

Provision of Vitamin C Supplements and Psychosocial Intervention

To boost employees’ immune system while performing their responsibilities, the office has already procured and distributed 1,080 pieces of Vitamin C supplements (Sodium Ascorbate) to the staff.

When it comes to employees’ mental health, the Human Resource Division through the Social Welfare Section initiated a psychosocial intervention particularly stress debriefing to help the staff cope up from stress at work especially to those who have experienced threat, harassment and other security concerns while doing their jobs both in the office and in the field.

Free Transportation and Accommodation

Due to unavailability of transportation, the office has provided free transportation to its employees since the start of ECQ until it will be lifted. Aside from DSWD’s own vehicles, the office also rented four (4) vehicles to ferry the staff who live in the northern and southern part of Cebu every morning to pick them up and every afternoon to take them home.

Since there are employees whose residential area is already at risk of Covid-19 infection, the office has decided to offer free accommodation to its staff who are no longer safe to go home. And since the existing dormitory in the building cannot accommodate everyone, the centers and institution facilities are temporarily utilized while still ensuring the safety of its clients. Currently, 69 staff are provided with free accommodation at the various DSWD 7 facilities: Center for Women and Children (CWC); Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC); Home for Girls (HFG); Regional Haven for Women (RHW); Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC); Regional Rehabilitation for the Youth (RRCY); and in the dormitory building.

Security guard is checking the body temperature of the DSWD staff at the entrance door of the office.

These are among the COVID-19 initiatives of the Office. However, these would not be realized without the support from the Central Office. Through the 1 million allocation fund provided by the DSWD Central Office through its Protective Services Program aside from the additional funds sourced out within the office, the department was able to purchase these PPE and other needed supplies.

From securing employees’ safety against this pandemic to ensuring their mental health, the office truly shows that it cares for the people inside and outside of the office. ###


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