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40 PWDs and CNSPs graduate from Vocational Skills Training of DSWD-7 AVRC II

A total of 40 Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and Children in Need of Special Protection (CNSP) or those who are victims of abuse, neglect, exploitation, cruelty, discrimination and violence and were turned over to the DSWD-7 Regional Haven and Home for Girls have completed a one-year vocational skills training were all heads high on their processional march during the 42nd Graduation Exercises of Area Vocation Rehabilitation Center (AVRC) II of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – 7 on April 26, 2018, Friday.

PWDs and CNSPs who are graduates of vocational skills training of DSWD-7 Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC II) hold their hands as they sing together their graduation song entitled ‘Give me a chance’ during their graduation ceremony.

Massage Therapy, Consumer Electronics, Commercial Arts and Crafts, Basic Cosmetology, Commercial Cooking, Dress and Apparel Technology and Computer Technology are the various vocational skills trainings that the 40 graduates have successfully completed.

To recognize the achievement of trainees, certificates of recognition and basic tools for their vocational courses were given to five model trainees for the exemplary behavior they have showed. There were also four visually impaired graduates who received certificates of recognition for passing the Licensure Examination for Massage Therapist administered by the Department of Health (DOH) in 2017, while three orthopedically impaired graduates have received certificates of recognition as well for passing the ALS Accreditation and Equivalency Exam.

The graduates also brought home with them valuable takeaways from the inspirational messages of different guest speakers during the ceremony.

As one of the guest speakers, Mr. Mateo Quilas, a Massage Therapy graduate and Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) Focal in Bohol has shared his secret formula of success and the importance of radiating positive attitude and quality service in the workplace.

On behalf of the DSWD-7 Regional Director Ma. Evelyn B. Macapobre, Ms. Rosemarie Salazar, Protective Service Division Chief also shared her experiences while working in AVRC II. She reminded the graduates to always give respect to people who have been instruments in making them a well-rounded and productive individual of the community.

The ceremony was concluded with an emotional giving of chocolates and flowers as token of gratitude by the graduates to their families, friends and teachers who have become a great part of their milestone. ###


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DSWD-7 reminds beneficiaries to be vigilant and active this barangay election

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII reminds its partner-beneficiaries to be vigilant and active this coming barangay election.

“Our program partner-beneficiaries are free to decide, choose and express their beliefs and rights on issues concerning their lives and their communities,” said DSWD Regional Director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre.

Director Macapobre further said that Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries are empowered individuals and are aware of their rights as citizens of this country and they are free to choose someone whom they believe epitomizes their principles.

Pantawid Pamilya continues to implement its election-related campaign which aims to promote and strengthen active citizenry. Beneficiaries’ empowerment are further fortified through the monthly Family Development Session (FDS) with the good governance and active citizenship module and information campaign on election related matters that will affect them in the coming election.

“We would also like to clarify that DSWD programs and services are not directly or indirectly coursed through barangay officials or their offices,” Macapobre added.

Director Macapobre appeals to everyone to refrain from spreading false information that they can, for instance, remove or have community residents removed or de-listed from the 4Ps or any other DSWD programs if these residents do not vote for them,” Macapobre said.

Moreover, DSWD personnel are not allowed to support and campaign for their own candidates.

“Let’s all pray and work for a clean, orderly, peaceful and honest election,” Macapobre concluded. ###


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Johanna Heart Genon inspires other students at the Araw ng Pagkilala 2018

Johanna Heart Genon shared her life story and inspired other K to 12 senior high school graduates during the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Araw ng Pagkilala 2018 held at the SM North EDSA Skydome in Quezon City last May 7, 2018.

Johanna Heart Genon gives her speech during the Araw ng Pagkilala 2018 at the SM North EDSA Skydome.

She introduced herself to the 1,000 participants of the event which include senior high school graduates and Expanded Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) graduates from various regions of the country but mostly from the National Capital Region (NCR).

“My family and I used to live inside the Chinese Cemetery in Barangay Carreta, Cebu City. It became my playground together with my siblings and other children living there,” Johanna Heart said as she began in her speech.

Noon po, nahihiya po akong sabihin sa mga kaklase ko kung saan kami nakatira dati pero hindi ko po ikinahiya kailanman ang pamilya at ang mga magulang ko (In the past, I would be embarrassed whenever my classmates asked me where I lived but never did I get ashamed of my family and my parents),” Johanna said as she recalled the discrimination she went through.

“However, that experience has encouraged me to study and strive hard to reach my dreams in life. As early as 14 years old, I already dream of becoming an Engineer so that I will be able to build our own house,” Johanna added.

In 2014, her family became one of the partner-beneficiaries of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) of the DSWD and started receiving the cash grants, which has helped sustain Joanna Heart and her two siblings’ education.

“From a bullied homeless lass to a fine and decent young lady, I’m standing here to fight for my future and I feel secured and blessed with this opportunity,” Johanna Heart said.

“After reading and learning my story, the University of Cebu (UC) provided me a full scholarship and now I’m currently enrolled as an incoming freshmen taking up Civil Engineering course,” Johanna Heart underscored as she strongly believes that education is the key to uplift from poverty and towards success.

DSWD Usec. Virginia Orogo (center) and Johanna Heart Genon (left) turn over the list of Pantawid Pamilya senior high school graduates to CHED Commissioner Ronald Adamat (right).

Johanna Heart vowed that after finishing her course, she will also help other homeless families.

DSWD Officials and representatives from partner national government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) also joined the celebration.

“There is no doubt that education is a powerful tool to fight poverty. While there is much more to be done to curb poverty, we are taking concrete steps to fight it. We hope that these children will continue pursuing their dreams and with their academic achievements they can build the foundations for a better future,” said DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco said in his keynote speech.

“We all have a role and responsibility in addressing poverty. We are thankful that we have different government agencies and members of the private sector working hand in hand with us so that we do not only provide assistance, but also give these children access to other services and opportunities to sustain their efforts to improve their lives,” concluded OIC Leyco.

Aside from Johanna Heart, ESGP-PA grantee Josephine Sibelo also attended the event. Josephine is from Dumanjug, Cebu who graduated Bachelor of Elementary Education major in Pre-Elementary and Technical Livelihood Education in the Cebu Technological University (CTU) Main Campus.

Johann Heart was interviewed by reigning Miss Universe Philippine Catriona Gray together with other selected graduates from other regions. Gray will write their stories and it will be published in a national newspaper.

Miss Universe Philippines 2018 Catriona Gray interviews Johanna Heart Genon.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a program of the national government implemented through the DSWD together with the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Health (DoH,) and other national government agencies. The program invests in the health and education of poor households primarily of children aged 18 and below. ###


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4Ps partner-beneficiaries in Cebu City receive their EMV cards from Landbank

About 2,991 Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Progral (4Ps) partner-beneficiaries in Cebu City received their EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) chip-enabled cards from Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) last May 5, 2018.

DSWD-7 staff check the documents submitted by the Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries before receiving their EMV chip-enabled cards from Landbank.

Cebu City is the pilot city in region 7 for the 4Ps EMV migration and only seven barangays were included in this pilot testing. These barangays were Brgy. Carreta, Duljo-Fatima, Ermita, Inayawan, Kalunasan, Labangon and Mambaling.

EMV is the global standard for credit, debit, and prepaid card payments using the chip card technology. Cards with EMV chips were deemed more secure than the traditional magnetic stripe payment cards.

This shift from magnetic stripe technology to EMV chip-compliant cards is in compliance to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) circular no. 808.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII staff helps in facilitating the 4Ps partner-beneficiaries in receiving their EMV cards.

The  cash grants of 4Ps are disbursed to partner-beneficiaries primarily through LBP. 4Ps partner-beneficiaries can claim their cash grants through a cash card or through offsite payments. ###


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Livestock peddler now a degree holder

Looking at her reflection on the mirror, neatly wearing (for the last time, before donning the toga) her well pressed school uniform with a good pair of black shoes on, Josephine can’t help but also see on the mirror an untidy eight-year-old kid on her crumpled-and-supposed-to-be-white blouse, faded skirt and an over-worn pair of slippers, carrying a dream of becoming a teacher.

Josephine spends most of her free time in school studying or reviewing lessons previously discussed in her classes.

Josephine Sibelo, 24 years old, the third child in the family and a native of Brgy. Bitoon, Dumanjug, Cebu could still recall how she was being laughed at 16 years ago for going to school untidy and not being able to wear a decent school uniform throughout her days in primary school.

Nag-Grade 1 hangtud Grade 6 ko usa ra gyud ka paresan akong uniform unya akong notebook usa ra pud kabuok kada tuig (I only had one set of school uniform from Grade 1 to Grade 6 and had used only one notebook every school year),” Josephine recalled.

Coming from a big family, simply taking shelter under a nipa house, with parents earning just enough to feed 8 mouths at home, Josephine had seen the dire need of her family an augmentation on their daily income for survival.

Thus, as early as eight years old, she started helping her mother peddling fish, live chickens, piglets, goat and other animals consigned to them by their neighbor. They would also participate in the auctions in Mantalungon Livestock Market in Barili every Thursday and in Dumanjug Livestock Market during Sundays while her father also worked as a laborer in a farm entrusted to them.

After finishing primary school, her struggles in wanting to pursue a good education continued as she stepped in her first year in high school. Not missing a single day in class, joining some campus activities and accomplishing school projects had been a constant burden to Josephine as her parents were still unable to financially support them in their studies.

She had tried her luck in Cebu City and worked as a house helper while pursuing her remaining 3 years in high school where she finally graduated and received a scholarship for college.

She was one of the recipients of the Cebu City Scholarship that provides Php 10,000 worth of scholarship cheque per semester to each student who will be entering college to sustain their pursuit of good education. Going back to her hometown with the scholarship she had, eager to pursue a degree, Josephine excitedly enrolled herself in the Cebu Technological University (CTU) Dumanjug Campus.

But finishing first year in college was an uphill struggle to Josephine. The educational subsidy unfortunately wasn’t sustainable. Her daily expenses in school, projects, books and the miscellaneous payments remain a steady ball and chain.

Trying to weigh things, thinking of her other younger siblings and the need of her parents of someone to help them in providing food on the table, Josephine felt the urge to go back to the city. She went back to Cebu City and for the second time has worked as an all-around house helper doing household chores, errands and even looking after more than 20 cats/dogs of her boss and taking the stewardship of the different plants for sale of her employer.

She has never been satisfied in the kind of job she had earned only Php 2,500 per month, which was totally inadequate for her daily essentials and for her family left in Dumanjug. Hence, two months after she decided to leave her employer.

Soon after, she got hired as a sales clerk in a lumber and hardware store in Talisay City. There was a free accommodation while she earned Php 3,600 a month and was still able to send some for her family and support financially her younger siblings in school. It was a relief for Josephine getting that job which aide her constantly supporting her parents and other siblings.

It was also during that time, year 2010, that they became one of the beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, otherwise known as the 4Ps.

With the Php 500 monthly health grant, Php 600 monthly rice subsidy and a monthly education grant for her 3 siblings worth Php 1,100, Josephine couldn’t be any grateful how these aid have added convenience in their daily subsistence.

Knowing that her other younger siblings are already getting constant support for their studies from the Pantawid Pamilya and not experiencing the same hitches she’d undergone before, Josephine saw a glimmer of hope. A hope that her dream of pursuing a degree will soon be fulfilled. Maybe not by her, but by her other siblings.

Para man gud nako, ang edukasyon ang usa sa mga labing importante nga hinagiban kung mo sulong ka og gubat – gubat dili sa katilingban, apan gubat sa pagpakigbatok sa atong ka-kabus (Because for me, education is one of the most important weapons in a war – against poverty),” expressed Josephine.

Three years after working in a hardware store, Josephine’s boss has introduced and entrusted to her a new business. She vended a solar powered equipment which unfortunately didn’t click. Until one time, two strangers looked for her. She expected them to be her potential buyer of her product, but it turned out that they were looking for a house helper. She was promised that if she wants to finish her studies, they can negotiate with it.

Excited that it might be the opportunity she has been waiting for, tomorrow after, she accepted the offer. She started during the month of August and everything went well. She was well paid and well treated. Until such when she enrolled during the second semester of the school year at Saint Paul College Foundation in Talisay City, Cebu that she started another uphill struggle because all her salary is allotted for her tuition fee.

Every day she had to scrimp and save for her other expenses in school. The Php 50 daily allowance was basically not enough, and so she maneuvered her way to surviving every day in school despite the limited resources she had. With the permission of her boss, she would sell chili peppers from their backyard to restaurants or markets near her school or sometimes would trade them with food for her lunch.

Sometimes, if the restaurant would refuse to buy, I would go to a market and trade the chili pepper with food for my lunch,” Josephine amusingly recalled.

All those she had willingly done to make her way in chasing her desire to get a degree, as she wanted to improve the dire status of her family.

In 2014, her journey as an Expanded Students Grant-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) grantee commenced as she enrolled herself in Cebu Technological University (CTU) Main Campus in Cebu City and took up Bachelor of Education Major in Pre-Elementary and Technical Livelihood Education.

Her journey as a college student with the ESGP-PA assistance was a whole lot different. Her tuition and miscellaneous fees for four years were shouldered by the program and she was also provided with Php 3,500 monthly stipend. Apart from that, a lot of opportunities have been opened for her that molded her to be well-rounded individual worthy of emulation.

The chance of traveling to different places was unlocked, leadership trainings and seminars that directed to her personality growth were also opened and her passion of doing community outreach programs has been constantly utilized.

As the president of the pioneering ESGP-PA organization she established in the campus, she initiated different outreach activities realized by all of the ESGP-PA grantees in their university.

Among the community outreach activities, she initiated were the Feeding Program of 200 kids from Brgy. Carreta, Cebu City, a gift-giving activity to street dwellers entitled ‘ESGP-PA is coming to town!’ and the charitable giving of school supplies to students every year.

Josephine wanted to drill to her co-scholars a spirit of generosity and let other indigent people experience the delightful feeling of being blessed, the feeling they are presently enjoying.

“I was thinking how I could repay the government for the help they have given to me. Since the money given to us is from the tax of the people, I have to give back to other people. That’s why I strive to push through with our outreach activities,” she added.

Josephine believes a good education should not only be manifested intellectually but it should also be manifested in the kind of attitude that you have for the rest of the people around you.

With the support from the government scholarship through the ESGP-PA she was able to straighten her path towards achieving a good education which she believes a saving rope that would help them get out of poverty.

Now, looking at her name on the list of the official candidates for graduation, after the long years of perseverance and the roller coaster ride she’d been through, she couldn’t help but get emotional. Tears welled up in her eyes as she called her parents informing them that their soon to be teacher will be marching heads high very soon.

For Josephine, she believes that a way always seems to open up for a person who is will-powered with full valor to combat against adversities in the journey towards achieving a degree.

Kahibaw ko nga libre rang mangandoy. Kinahanglan lang gyud nako nga maningkamot para sa among kalampusan ug sa maayong kaugmaon dili lang para nako, but para sad sa akong pamilya ug sa nasod (I know that to dream is free. I just need to work hard for our success, not just for my future but for the future of my family and the nation),” added Josephine.

On April 9, 2018, after hopping in to different educational institutions and making unwanted pauses in pursuing her studies, Josephine has finally marched jubilantly waving her diploma with full pride wearing the glimmering smile of victory.

Josephine flaunts her glimmering smile of victory after receiving her diploma as she poses for a souvenir photo with her proud parents, Mr. Ricardo and Mrs. Marcelina Sibelo.

With her sheer tenacity, she finished her studies and bagged the Outstanding Officer award, recognizing her excellent leadership skill.

As she finished her degree in Bachelor in Elementary Education major in Pre-Elementary and Technical Livelihood Education she desires not just to inculcate academic knowledge to her students but to also inspire them how to survive in a bumpy road towards realizing a dream by sharing her life story.

She hopes that her desire to reach out and serve the public will continually be realized when she step in the door of the teaching profession. ###


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DSWD-7 steps up information caravan

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII steps up its information drive by going to the farthest rural communities in the region. The information caravan was designed to provide updates on the different programs and services of DSWD.

A resident in Brgy. Zaragosa, Badian, Cebu participates during the question and answer portion of the DSWD information caravan.

It also provides a venue where the public can inquire on how to avail of DSWD programs and services like the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Kalahi-CIDSS, Sustainable Livelihood Program, Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, Supplementary Feeding Program, Adoption and Foster Care, Disaster Response and others. The public can also ask questions or clarify issues during the caravan.

The DSWD held its first caravan during the “Biyaya ng Pagbabago” Cebu province launching held on April 21, 2018 at the Cebu Technological University (CTU) Main Campus in Cebu City. More than 500 participants visited the DSWD booth. The activity was organized by Kilusang Pagbabago in collaboration with the Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS).

The second leg was done in the mountain barangays of Alicia, Candijay, Guindulman, Duero and Sierra Bullones in Bohol province for the indigenous community of Eskaya. This information caravan was in partnership with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) which seeks to update the Eskaya tribe on their member data record (MDR) and how to avail of PhilHealth’s insurance coverage.

Pinaagi niining information caravan natubag na ang akong mga pangutana kabahin sa mga programa ug serbisyo sa DSWD ug sa PhilHealth (Through this information caravan, my questions were answered regarding on the programs and services of DSWD and PhilHealth),” said Maricel Busano, a 36 years old mother from Brgy. Tambongan, Candijay.

The third information caravan was held in Brgy. Zaragoza, an island barangay in the town of Badian, southwest of Cebu. Various information, education and communication (IEC) materials like brochures on DSWD promotive and protective services, Pantawid Pamilya rice subsidy flyer and the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) flyer were distributed to the participants.

On April 28, 2018, DSWD again participated in the Bohol province launching of “Biyaya ng Pagbabago” in Talibon, a northern town of Bohol.

The DSWD will bring the next information caravan in the town of Dalaguete, southeast of Cebu.  ###


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Almost 2k ESGP-PA students finish tertiary education

A total of 1,768 students from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) under the Expanded Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) recently finished their tertiary education. The ESGP-PA is implemented by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

The ESGP-PA graduates of Cebu Technological University (CTU) Argao Campus receive their Latin honors during their commencement exercise on April 11, 2018.

These students graduated from the five partner SUCs in region 7. These are Cebu Technological University (CTU) with 662 graduates followed by Bohol Island State University (BISU) with 619 graduates, Cebu Normal University (CNU) has 306 graduates, Negros Oriental State University (NORSU), 111 graduates and Siquijor State College (SSC), 70 graduates.

Out of the 1,768 graduates, 200 received Latin honors and leadership awards.

Ma. Evelyn B. Macapobre, DSWD 7 regional director congratulates the graduates for their achievement. “We also recognize the efforts and continued support that the families of these graduates gave them,” added Director Macapobre.

The program provided opportunities to 4Ps households who have children who are determined to pursue college education and qualified for the scholarship. A college degree for the children-beneficiaries opens an opportunity for them to access better employment and help them improve their lives.

“The DSWD recognizes that having a degree will not immediately improve the beneficiaries’ quality of life but provides the way to a better opportunities. Through the program, the DSWD has given these poor children and their families a chance to a better future,” said Director Macapobre.

Beneficiaries of the program are required to take up courses that are among those identified with the national development plans manpower demands. These include Information Technology (IT)-related courses in agriculture, education, science and math, engineering and health sciences-related courses.

The 4P’s or Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) is a program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households primarily of children aged 18 and below. It is implemented by the DSWD together with other government agencies to include the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Health (DoH).

It provides cash grants to compliant household beneficiaries with health grant worth Php 500.00 and educational grants worth Php 300.00 and Php 500.00 each to the children studying in elementary and high school, respectively. ###


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Convergence Big Day held

ESGP-PA graduates join the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) job fair during the Convergence Big Day in Lapu-Lapu City.

The Local Government Units of Lapulapu City, Cebu and Loon, Bohol recently conducted in two separate occasions their own version of Panaghiusa Festival which they called ‘Convergence Big Day’.

Panaghiusa Festival is the convergence of DSWD’s programs and services created to increase public awareness on the agency’s accomplishments and gains. This advocacy festival aims to showcase the positive impact of DSWD programs and services in the lives of partner-beneficiaries through their success stories.

The City Government of Lapu-Lapu spearheaded the activity on April 17, 2018 while the Municipal Government of Loon had their event on April 11, 2018.

About 1,500 Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries from barangays in Lapu-Lapu City flocked at the Hoops Dome for their first Convergence Big Day.

The City Action Team (CAT) of Lapu-Lapu composed of staff from various DSWD core programs like Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) presented their accomplishments to the participants during the program.

Selected Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries and SLP partner-participants shared their testimonies on how the programs of the government helped alleviate their lives from poverty. The SLP skills training graduates like security guard, welding, food and beverage, call center and housekeeping were likewise recognized during the program.

Expanded Students Grants-in-Aide Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) grantees who recently graduated in their college degrees were also recognized for their educational achievement.

The City Action Team also coordinated with the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) for the conduct of a job fair and with the Philippine National Police (PNP) for a free medical mission.

Isip lola sa akong duha ka mga apo, ganahan pud ko nga puhon maka-graduate sila sa college ug makapangita og desinte nga trabaho unya (As a grandmother to my two grandchildren, I would also like to see them graduate in college and find a decent work later on),” Elvira Valiente, 65 years old from Brgy. Mactan, shared how she was inspired by the testimonies especially the

Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries in Loon, Bohol flock in Brgy. Tangnan Covered Court for their Convergence Big Day.

testimony from the ESGP-PA graduate.

Moreover, the Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries in Loon, Bohol had their Convergence Big Day in Brgy. Tangnan Covered Court.

It was a festive day for them since they were able to showcase their talents and skills in different competing categories like jingle making contest, success story writing and draw and tell. The SLP partner-participants also displayed and sold their livelihood products inside the covered court.

DSWD-7 Regional Director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre commended the two LGUs for initiating this activity. She said: “Through the convergence strategy, we could be able to harmonized the implementation of our various programs and services.”

She also said that Convergence is not limited within DSWD but also with other stakeholders like the Local Government Units, other national government agencies, civil society organizations and people’s organizations. ###



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