Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Friday, April 29, 2016

Feature: 4Ps helps couple, family to uplift quality of living

LEGAZPI CITY , April 28 (PIA) – Couple Fe and Rowel Villaruel dreamt of having a simple living, a life full of happiness, stability, love, and strong faith in God much as they also want to see their children have a better lives in the future by providing better education.

The Villaruel couple from Crossing, Uson, Masbate has five siblings whose ages are 18, 15, 12, 10 and 6. Life for the family was not easy.

For the past 18 years, Fe and Rowel faced many challenges and trials especially when the children started to be in school. A small vulcanizing shop which was owned by Rowel when he was still a bachelor was the family's source of their jam and bread. However the daily income of P200 could not suffice to meet the daily needs of the family.

With a starting capital of P400.00, Rowel thought of a buy and sell of interior of exterior of a bicycle. He started for one set, sold it for P600 on installment basis. The project was doing well that the couple were able to put up a small sari-sari store just in their house.

Hard Work for the Family

 "Nguni't hindi pa rin  sapat ang aming kita para sa pangaraw-araw na pangangailangan ng aming pamilya kung kaya kailangan  humanap ng ibang mapagkakakitaan." sighed Rowel. He then left the management of the vulcanizing shop to his brother.

From a meager capital of P500, Rowel started to buy and sell of fresh fish. His daily routine started from waking up early in the morning, hire a tricycle then go to Barangay Del Carmen and in Dimasalang town to buy fresh fish. Then he would go around the town to sell the fish on a reasonable current price. While Fe is left at home to take care of the household and attend to her sari-sari store. She was determined to make her small business grow. She did not use the money she earned for the family's needs. Instead she relied on the income netted from her husband's selling business.

From a gross sale of P750, it helped improve the family's economic status. If there are fishes left unsold, Fe would dry them and sell the dried produce by piece. "May naiipon na rin kami" Rowel said. To find ease in his mobility the couple then acquired a motorcycle on installment basis.

It was in 2008 when the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program was introduced in the municipality of Uson, Masbate wherein the family of Villaruel where among those who qualified for the program. With the 500 cash grant for the health and 300 for education, the family is grateful for having been included in the program.

Before the program came to their lives, Fe and Rowel were having thought that they might not be able to send all their children to school. That the younger ones will temporarily stop to give way to the older siblings to continue their studies. But because of the poverty reduction program of the government, they can now see that their lives is better than before. For the family, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a heaven sent.

Fe as a mother has expanded her role. She became a Parent Leader of 25 members. Rowel and Fe both religiously attend the Family Development Session and they also comply with the conditionalities. "The Lord is really good to us, that is why we are actively involved in church activities said Fe. He, as a member of the Lay Ministry and both are active member of the Couples for Christ. Fe conveys that assurance that she and her co-beneficiaries will remain active, responsible grantee and will serve as a role member to other members.

 Going Through

 A sudden twist in the lives of the Villaruels. In 2011, Rowel was diagnosed to have acute anemia, stage 3. He was confined in the hospital for almost a month. He could not anymore earn for a living. The vulcanizing shop and the store is the only resources left for the family. The family savings is also depleted. To sustain Rowel's medication, Fe's biological mother asked the couple to go to Davao (Fe's place of origin). It was Fe's immediate family who supported the medical needs of Rowel.

In Davao, Rowel was advised by his physician to undergo dialysis but he refused. “ Ayaw ko nang magpadialysis. Malaki pa ang gagastusin dian. Meron naman  akong mga gamot na iniinom. Ilaan na lang ang pera para sa pag-aaral ng mga anak ko dahil ayaw ko silang matigil sa pag-aaral, di bale nalang na ako’y mamatay,”Rowel claimed.

Rowel was confined in the hospital for a week then just decided to stay home. He did not want to stay idle so he thought of looking for an alternative livelihood activity. But having no capital to start a business, he just ventured on shoe repair. Since Fe was once a resident of the place and has an acquaintances, she was able to get customers.

Luckily Rowel had an income of at least P40 to 100/per week. However after a year’s stay in Davao, the couple has to rush back home because of the death of Rowel’s uncle. Having been away from his hometown for almost a year, Rowel lost his buy and sell project. What was left as their source of livelihood is the vulcanizing shop and the small sari- sari store. This posted a problem to the Villaruels. To be able to find a job, Rowel engaged himself in farm work. But the work is tedious so that he had a relapsed.

Another blessing came to the family. The DSWD in coordination with the LGU invited the residents for a meeting most of whom were Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries. They were given orientation on the Sustainable Livelihood Program under the micro-finance of the DSWD. Residents were adamant. They thought that it is another false promises from the government.

During the meeting, there were heated arguments but the discussion was interesting. However, after series of orientation, 25 most of whom are Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries were qualified for the micro-enterprise and finally the SLP Association was organized. But nobody from the group would not want to get the position as president so Fe volunteered herself for the position.

Then came the cash grant of P10,000. For a while, the couple just kept the cash being hesitant to invest the business in farming as what Fe have proposed but due to the health condition of Rowel, they might not able to manage it well. Then one day, Rowel met a guy whom he did not even know personally. The person Ronelio Tarucan suggested to open a furniture shop and a small display area just adjacent to their house. .Fe remarkably said that they are now receiving orders. During this year's Rodeo Festival (2016) they joined the trade fair. They had a sale of 44,000 and this is aside from orders.

During the conduct of an interview with the couple, Fe could hardly articulate her profound joy.  As she expounded on the project's development, she almost burst into tears.

Today the couple is saving some money out of their earnings from their livelihood projects." We have high ambitions for our children's future. We have to save for their children's college education. “she confides. Yes, our house is small, and is made of light materials and even prone to natural calamities but its repair for now is our least priority. We have to sustain first our business, save more for the medical needs and for our children's future.

With the government's poverty alleviation program, the education of our children is assured and our stability on our source of livelihood. " Kapag may tiyaga may nilaga" Fe exclaimed. But all these will never be attained by my family without the intercession and blessing from God. This we praise Him.

Rowel said that guts and hard work always make sense.  (MAL/EEJ-DSWD5/PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211461890565/feature-4ps-helps-couple-family-to-uplift-quality-of-living#sthash.GqLi5Sif.dpuf

4Ps should be refined before institutionalized – PIDS expert

LEGAZPI CITY, April 28 (PIA) -- In response to calls to institutionalize the government’s conditional cash transfer program or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), an expert from state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) stressed that the targeting of the 4Ps should first be refined to   make it more effective in reducing poverty.

The move has somehow affirmed the series of campaigns staged in Bicol provinces calling for the institutionalization of the 4Ps to help marginalized families to cope up with the challenges of poverty.

In a briefing on the status of poverty, inequality, employment, and health in the context of social protection programs held at the House of Representatives, PIDS Senior Research Fellow Celia Reyes pointed out that institutionalizing the 4Ps will have massive implications on the national budget.

Thus, she asserted that policymakers should first refine the 4Ps by identifying areas in the program that need to be improved.

Reyes noted that programs like the 4Ps have produced encouraging results and was even ranked by the World Bank as one of the “best-targeted social safety net programs in the world” in its 2015 report.

“The proportion of children attending school has been increasing over time. This is something that is actually consistent,” acknowledged Reyes. However, she noted that the potential impact of such programs can be stunted when certain conditionalities are not fully considered.

“Initially, while the 4Ps was designed to assist children ages 6-14 years old, it has been noted that the school participation rate for that age group is already very high. It is really in the older group where you have the problem,” explained Reyes.

She also noted a huge disparity between the proportions of children aged 16-18 years old who are attending school in the poorest decile compared to children of the same age group in the richest decile.

“As we would expect, the average years of schooling would increase with income. So, that’s eleven years average schooling for those belonging in the richest decile, and only about five years for those belonging in the poorest decile. If you wanted to provide some assistance, you would really need to target the poorest,” suggested Reyes.

Aside from targeting the poorest, Reyes suggested shifting resources.

“If you want to finetune the program, we would need to shift the assistance from elementary to high school, and probably revisit the amount of grants that we give to high school,” recommended Reyes.

In relation to the need to help young and poor Filipinos attend high school, Reyes presented a comparison of average daily wage rates based on the level of education. It is no surprise that high school graduates earn higher income at about PHP 284 a day, higher than those who are not high school graduates at only about PHP 171 per day. Meanwhile, those who are college graduates earn around PHP 623 pesos per day while those who have completed post-graduate studies earn around PHP 1,216 per day.

Reyes clarified she is not recommending to extend the 4Ps to tertiary. However, she advised policymakers to explore ways to link up 4Ps recipients and broaden their opportunity of reaching tertiary level of education. She iterated looking at the possibility of shifting resources from elementary to high school and strengthening support at the high school level as a policy starting point.

Moreover, Reyes also emphasized that there should be different interventions or programs for chronic poor, or those people living in poverty over extended period of time, and for transient poor, or those who move in and out of poverty.

“Addressing the needs of the chronic poor requires structural and long term solutions like investing in education and human capital strategies. The transient poor, on the other hand, require a different and more specific approach, not to mention the policy input of other government agencies and sectors—like labor, finance, and disaster resilience—which are just as equally important to combating poverty,” Reyes said.

“Studies show that there has been a slight decline in poverty incidence in recent years, but the actual number of poor people has increased due to rapid population growth. Policymakers must tailor solutions to minimize the occurrence of poverty because poor people are not uniform and their needs are not uniform as well,” Reyes concluded.  (MAL/PIDS elease/PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211461891571/4ps-should-be-refined-before-institutionalized-pids-expert#sthash.3YmJeiBw.dpuf

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Livelihood Bazaar, Job Fair to highlight Labor Day observance in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY, April 28 (PIA) -- Labor Day observance in the Bicol region has kicked off with the “Kabuhayan, Kapalibutan Labor Day-Earth Month Trade Bazaar” starting today until tommorow that will feature creations produced by beneficiaries provided with livelihood assistance by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Bicol regional office.

The bazaar marked the opening the celebration of this year's Labor Day set on May 1 with the theme “Kinabukasan Sigurado Sa Disenteng Trabaho”.

DOLE Bicol officer in charge Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla has called on the populace to support the event and patronize products, including services, provided for by the beneficiaries of DOLE Bicol livelihood assistance program to help them market the products and increase their income.

“We need to help sell their products for them to have sustainable livelihood,” Trayvilla said.

The bazaar carries the theme “Marhay Na Kabuhayan Asin Kapalibutan, Samong Mayo Unong Pangiturugan”.

Further, according to Trayvilla, a simultaneous Labor Day Mega Jobs Fair will be held on May 1 at the ground floor of Ayala Mall and at the Atrium of Pacific Mall, both in this city, while another similar fair will be held on May 2 at SM Naga City.

The Job Fair will be held in collaboration with ABS-CBN and MOR Bicol. (MAL-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3211461224357/livelihood-bazaar-job-fair-to-highlight-labor-day-observance-in-bicol#sthash.vylMEOXj.dpuf

DOST to conduct technology forum on solar energy in Catanduanes

VIRAC, Catanduanes, April 28 (PIA) – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will conduct a forum on "Solar Energy and it’s Potentials” set on May 20 to promote technology on solar energy as a localized strategy on climate change adaption.

Jaime V. Cabrera, provincial director of the DOST Catanduanes, said the recurring power crisis prompted people in Catanduanes to look for other alternative source of energy.

He added that although the province is home to three hydroelectric power plants namely, the SUWECO hydropower plant in Solong, San Miguel, SUWECO Hydropower Plant in Hitoma, Caramoran, and NAPOCOR Hydropower Plant in Balongbong Bato, Catanduanes, the plants are still on minimal capacity to produce power during summer season

Said plants have a full capacity of 2.1, 1.8 and 1.8 (during rainy season) and a floating capacity of 0.5, 0.4 and 0.4 megawatts (dry season), respectively, plus outputs from fusi-fueled power generator system the present total power requirement is 5+ megawatts peaking to 8+ megawatts during summer.

Cabrera added that scores were inquiring about the potentials of photovoltaic generating energy systems in as much as recently there were international investors, believably from South Korea, offering to establish a solar farm through the LGUs. Thus, the activity will guide local communities to understand and assess the prospects of Solar Energy.

He also said that as a science agency and as a matter of moral obligation, the Department of Science and Technology is being pressed to go on board on this issue.

In the end of the forum, the participants are expected to understand better the technical nature, practical application and value of solar energy and be able to promote its use in the communities, businesses and researches.

Participants are from LGU’s, selected government agencies (including academe) and establishments from Catanduanes numbering about 50 people. (MAL/EAB-PIA5/Catanduanes)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/841461081818/dost-to-conduct-technology-forum-on-solar-energy-in-catanduanes#sthash.ELSB9sQN.dpuf

DSWD proposes establishtment of “Bahay Pag-Asa” in all local governments of Bicol

By Julius Embile

Legazpi City, Apr 28 (PIA)  – In the wake of increasing number of ‘children in conflict with the law’ (CICL) in the Bicol region, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Regional Juvenile Justice and Welfare Committee (RJJWC) are now urging the local governments of Bicol to establish a “Bahay Pag-Asa” in their respective communities.

“DSWD urges the local governments for the establishment of Bahay Pag-Asa in their localities in reference to Republic Act (RA) 9344 and amended by RA 10630, mandating operations of ‘Bahay Pag-Asa’ in every province and highly urbanized city.”, stated DSWD Bicol assistant regional director for administration Victoria Tagum.

The ‘Bahay Pag-Asa’ is a 24-hour child caring institution established, funded and managed by the local government units (LGU) and/or licensed non-government outfits (NGO). To date, there are twenty-one ‘Bahay Pag-Asa’ in nine regions across the country.

Its purpose is to provide short-term residential care for CICL’s between fifteen and eighteen years of age, while waiting for court disposition of their cases or transfer to other agencies. It is also a place where these youths, especially those below the criminal responsibility, are given necessary intensive interventions.

The establishments of ‘Bahay Pag-Asa’ also have the legislative backing.

Last April 21, DSWD and RJJWC held an orientation in Legazpi City, with the Provincial and City Social Welfare Officers, Budget Officers, and their committee members within Bicol, to discuss the guidelines on the operation of ‘Bahay Pag-Asa’.

The ‘Bahay Pag-Asa’ institutions have been given a nationwide budget of Php 400 million, and Php 5 million is to be allocated to the Bicol region. However, the program requires staffing and man-power composed of social workers, psychologists, medical doctors, nurses, and houseparent.

The provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur have been recommended to be prioritized for the said program due to high CICL incidences, as per the Social Welfare Office and RJJWC. Though there is already an existing Comprehensive Intervention Social Juvenile Program Plan in Naga City, the province is still in-need of the ‘Bahay Pag-Asa’, according to situational reports submitted to DSWD.

DSWD stated that they will continue their efforts in pursuing ‘Bahay Pag-Asa’s realization. The department also affirmed that more orientations and meetings will be held for this program after the National Elections this May.  (MAL/LBE-PIA5)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3241461808914/dswd-proposes-establishtment-of-bahay-pag-asa-in-all-local-governments-of-bicol#sthash.wR7qkmSp.dpuf