Hey! Finally, I was chosen to be one of the bloggers to join the 3-day tour for Ikot sa CALABARZON 2018 – DSWD Learning Visit Tour, immersing with the communities who are recipients of the agency’s 4Ps, SLP & Kalahi-CIDSS Programs. Hooray for me for accepting the invitation! Check my blog application here Ikot sa CALABARZON Blog entry.
Less expectations means more surprises and that was true for me. The 3-day visit to various communities who are recipients of the DSWD Programs is an eye opener. It was a fun, informative learning experience plus I got to visit different towns and attractions of Laguna and Quezon.
Find out more as I share to you my experience and insights of this tour. I will write this experience on 3 Parts from Day 1 to 3 with additional blogs of our Tour visits. Follow me and read along 🙂
DSWD or Department of Social Welfare and Development is the agency who hosted this project called IKOT SA CALABARZON – DSWD Learning Visit 2018. They have called on bloggers/vloggers to immerse and see for themselves the different programs of DSWD – its implementation, the benefits and the social impact on the personal lives of the recipients. Recently, negative feedback and posting are circulating in social media saying that these Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) recipients are just encouraging laziness, and making these indigents dependent on the government’s benefits. Is this true? Is the rumors valid? Personally, I wanted to validate and see for myself the different programs of the agency, and how can it be beneficiary for our Cooperative who also have indigent members. Read on…
The 3-day tour was held last November 15 -17, 2018. We convene at the DSWD Field Office Region IV-A office at Alabang Zapote Road, Alabang. I arrived at nearly 7am, just in time and we waited for a few minutes for the other bloggers/vloggers to arrive. The team had 2 vans rented for the tour. I was greeted by Sir Joseph Constantine Arceo, the Regional Information Officer (RIO), and introduced me to the rest of the team. And the journey to surprises began —
There are a total of 7 participants (2 bloggers, 4 vloggers/youtuber, 1 video editor). I will feature them on Day 3 of this blog, so stay tune!
DSWD Learning Visit – DAY 1 – PAETE, LAGUNA
We had a brief orientation with Sir Joseph & Ms. Nica regarding DSWD’s programs and services and of the communities that we are going to visit, what to expect, what to know about and other protocol.
After 2 and half hours travel, we arrived at the colorful, and artistic town of Paete, Laguna. We were welcomed at the Municipal Hall and was greeted by the town Mayor himself – Mayor Rojilyn Q. Bagabaldo. I was amazed by the simplicity and humbleness of this town’s leader, it is my first time to meet a Mayor who are hands-on when it comes to showcasing his town’s projects and programs. He is also well-versed on the conditions of the community we will visit. And he even followed and show us around Sitio Papatahan, Brgy. 9 Ibaba Del Norte.
It was an hour ride from the Municipal Hall going to Sitio Papatahan. The community is located atop of a mountainous terrain. Going there is like going up to Baguio, wherein the roads are steep and narrow , with dangerous curves and colliding with a bigger vehicle is a common possibility. Though the town placed reflective mirrors on every sharp curve to warn if there’s an incoming vehicle. Going to the community at Sitio Papatahan would take a 15 minute walk (if you’re fast), but it took me about 35 minutes of trekking to muddy soil. Yes, it is slippery wet and muddy. The distance from the jump off location to the Baranggay is about 3 kilometers. There are only 2 public jeepneys going in and out of Sitio Papatahan and only on 2 schedules: 9am (Brgy. 9, Ibaba Del Norte to Paete Town/4pm Paete Town to Brgy. 9). So the residents will have to catch these jeepney schedules to travel.
We even encountered a school boy handling a snake, at first we thought it was a toy, but up close it is snake the boy said has a venom. We could understand most of the people here have no gadgets, no access even to regular call or text, no network signal is available in the area. So I think, kids here play with what is available from nature (even if it is dangerous).
At Sitio Papatahan we were introduced to 4Ps Parent Leader Jocelyn Acueza. We got the chance to interview Mrs. Jocelyn and talked about the Pantawid Pamilya Program.
On Focus – DSWD Program: PANTAWID PAMILYANG PILIPINO PROGRAM (4Ps)
A human capital program that provides opportunities for poor families to break the intergenrational cycle of poverty through investing in the health and education of poor households particularly of children age zero to 18. The program provides families with cash grants in exchange for their compliance to their co-responsibilities with the program such as monthly preventive health check-ups, 85% monthly school attendance of children and attendance to monthly Family Development Sessions. – def. by DSWD
Parent Leader Mrs. Jocelyn is a mother of 9 children. She said the 4Ps program offered a big help to aid her family on their education. The grant received from the program she often used to buy uniform, school supplies and sometimes food for her children. Her husband suffers from asthma and seldom get hired for work because of his sickness. Her 2nd child stopped schooling and work as a household helper, and just finished Grade 6 in order to help with the families financial needs. Mrs. Jocelyn’s main source of income is through growing of organic vegetables which she sells around the Sitio. She usually earns P3000/month + 25kgs. of rice from tending these vegetables. 4 of her children already finished College through the aid of a scholarship, and the other 4 (3 Highschool, 1 Senior HS) still in High School Level. She receives P5,200 every 2 months as a grant for the 4Ps Program. The breakdown of this allowance is as follows:
- 1 child = P500/month x 4 children = Total P2,000/month
- Rice subsidy = P1,200 every 2 month
Life before the 4Ps Program was difficult as relayed by Mrs. Jocelyn. During those times there were instances that they cannot buy medicine and cannot send her children to school. Mrs. Jocelyn narrated her story with a teary-eyed and graciously expressed her appreciation of the benefit of the program to her family. We asked her what can she say of the negative issues connected to 4Ps beneficiaries like encouraging recipients to be lazy. First she said, she wasn’t aware of the issue, since obviously their Sitio didn’t have a network signal (no signal for all networks). Second, since now that we informed her, she said she was hurt with these issue, and said this was not true of their situation. As I qoute her “Nasasaktan ako sa balitang ito. Paano kami magiging tamad, ay kada 2 bwan lang naman ang dating ng 4Ps, anong kakainin namin sa naunang bwan na walang biyaya. Hindi kami maaring maging tamad dahil walang makakain ang aming pamilya.”Now that one of her daughter already work as a Teacher in Siniluan College, her wages provided a big help for her other children who are still studying.
Under her care, there are 21 families. Her duty as a Parent Leader is to monitor each family and make sure that they are going to attend the monthly FDS.
What is FDS or Family Development Sessions?
The FDS is a component of the Pantawid Pamilyang Program that gathers parent-grantees monthly for family enhancement topics including improving marital relations, children’s rights, and financial management. Each session has a different topic and activity for the beneficiaries. The FDS is often conducted by City/Municipal links, LGU Links, or other volunteers from civil society organizations. – DSWD
I asked her if aside from DSWD, what other help does the community already received. She said the LGU provided them with livelihood program like hog raising and provided them capital to start, but eventually the hogs caught diseases and died, and they still have to make way to raise the loan and pay for the losses.
We also met Sir Rolly, the OIC of the High School Department of the children of the 4Ps beneficiaries. He is in charge of the monitoring of attendance of students and transferring the attendance to DSWD forms. The 4Ps Program helped raised school attendance, and there are no record of drop-outs. The 4Ps students won Top 5 in Brigada Eskwela competition, they created a school pathway using natural resources available within their community.
I admired the teachers who were assigned here, majority of the teachers are coming from Paete town and will have to endure the long, rough travel though some opted to stay in the school premises and only come home every weekend. They are truly heroes sacrificing their own needs to reach this community and teach. The Sitio Papatahan though remote is surprisingly complete from K-12. Agriculture is the course being offered at Senior High which I can say is feasible and is encouraging the students to cultivate the vast land and study organic farming. Mind you, this community is surrounded with vast land (most of them just filled with grass because of the acidic nature of the soil) and some folks grows plants that eventually made into “walis tambo”(indoor broom). Oooopps, I forgot to ask what kind of plant it is, but I got a shot of “manong” doing a native “walis tambo” which he sells for P100 (when around the Sitio), and sells it at P150 downtown.
The teachers prepared lunch and some native dessert during our stay called “minatamis na kamoteng kahoy” or sweetened boiled cassava.
It is now time to leave, and we trekked another 40 minutes going down to our vehicle. As usual, I was so exhausted, but the good thing is I DIDN’T SLIPPED on the road, Hooray for me! On those slippery mud, I got to hold on to a local who happened to pass by and I was glad they are eager to assist me. If not, who knows I could fell anytime haha!
So I took a picture of the place (see the blue roof – this is the school where we came from). About 3 kms. to our vehicle, roads leading here is not passable to vehicles (cars and vans).
I salute Mayor Bagabaldo for coming all the way up here via motorcycle, he have no bodyguards, no fancy clothes he came in as simple as jeans and collared t-shirt. If you hardly know him, you will think he’s an ordinary local, he knows every corner of the community and knows what needs to be done by heart. I told him “Mayor, it is a challenge improving this place huh?” He answered “Yes, it really is!”
Brgy. Ibaba Del Norte 4Ps Statistics
- 130 household-beneficiaries
- 6 parent group
Going back to the Municipal Hall, we had a courtesy call at the Tourism Office. We had a very delicious refreshment while watching the Tourism Office Presentation. Here is one of the episode we watched: CNN Coverage Paete, Laguna.
More of our Paete Tour on this link —https://thetransportqueen.com/2018/11/21/a-quick-view-of-the-carving-capital-of-the-philippines-paete-laguna/
We were assisted by Ate Arnie Santos, the local LGU counterpart of the MSWD. We headed to Brgy. Maytoong to visit the production of Papier Mache and interact with members of the Taka Ladies also called “Samahan ng mga Kababaihan sa Bayan ng Paete” (Taka Ladies SLPA).
These are group of ladies who are also beneficiaries of 4Ps Program. They were called to organize a minimum of 20 members to receive the SLP (Sustainable Livelihood Program) of DSWD.
What is SLP or Sustainable Livelihood Program?
SLP is conducted alongside the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to ensure self reliance and self dependency of qualified beneficiaries.
Under the micro-enterprise development track, these program participants undergo leadership training, organization building and financial management. They are provided with capital assistance to ensure the longevity and sustainability of their individual or group enterprises.
In Paete, there is a total of 111 program participants who are engaged in hog raising, rice retailing, and paper mache-making. – DSWD
Brgy. Maytoong Statistics
Samahan ng mga Kababaihan sa Bayan ng Paete
- 25 members
- P250,000 capital assistance
PAETE, LAGUNA Statistics
- 708 household-beneficiaries
- 29 parent groups
- 25000 Total Population
The Taka Ladies are also recipients of the 4Ps Program and then soon they were offered to form a group for SLP. At first they were almost a hundred to begin with, but since due to documentations the Program wasn’t granted as fast as the others expected. So from about 100 members, it went down to just 20 and those who continued with the project. They were given P200,000 grant or P10,000 each, start up capital to buy their needed materials. Each week they re-pay the “loan” for capital build up and some portion were kept for savings. These were then deposited to the bank of the organization and is being monitored by DSWD. After a year, if they are able to complete the initial P200K they are already eligible for renewal of loan. The Taka Ladies were already 2 years in the program. And said it helped them a lot in their livelihood.
Paper Mache- Making Process
- Molded sculpture – these are hard made of steel molded sculpture usually made by men of Paete, price ranges from P300 and up depending on size
- Newspaper, old books, magazines, brown paper
- Homemade paste
- The initial process is the pasting of paper on the mold (ex. horse), there are 8-12 layers of paper needed for each figure
- Then layers of brown paper is used to cover (most of their clients order bulk of clean-browned figures)
- Local market
- International market thru export
- For part timers, potential income range from P2,000-2,500 per week
- For full timers, potential income range from P4,000-10,000 per week
- Incomes are based on how fast they produce the paper mache figure
- Incomes are based on per piece or by group sharing
- Paper mache of all kinds – carabao, horses, Santa Claus, rabbits, rhinoceros, giraffe, dwarfs and others
- Boxes for clothes and other things
Check more about the Taka Ladies and their products;
- Visit their fb page Magtataka sa Bayan ng Paete
- Contact their President Aurelia Lee Bernardo at 0950-5766261
After visiting the Taka Ladies, we roamed around the little town of Paete, Laguna. Read more on my blog https://thetransportqueen.com/2018/11/21/a-quick-view-of-the-carving-capital-of-the-philippines-paete-laguna/ . We headed next to Pagsanjan Falls Laguna Lodge, had dinner and tried the warm pool before basking in to a goodnight’s sleep. Ready for the next day’s community visit and adventure.
Click FOLLOW and see what adventures we had on our Day 2 & 3 of our IKOT SA CALABARZON – DSWD Learning Visit 2018. My views, insights and more!
The Transport Queen