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Social pension brings smile to indigent seniors

Eighty-one years old Teodosia Domingo, from Brgy. Poblacion beams with pride and happiness after receiving her social pension for the first time.

“Masaya ako na makatanggap ng tulong na ito (I am happy for this assistance)”, Aling Teody expressed.

She has heart ailment and arthritis but because of financial difficulty, she is unable to sustain her medication.  She buys medicines only when she has extra money.

She earns a living from invitations of her neighbors to lead prayer offerings for their family and being paid P500 for her service.


“Mag-isa lang ako sa bahay kasi may mga pamilya na rin ang dalawa kong anak, (I live alone because my two children have their own families),” Aling Teody added.
Thankful for the pension
“Ang natatanggap kong pensyon ay ibinibili ko ng bigas at ulam at pambayad sa tubig at kuryente, pero unti-unti lang ang pag gastos ko para hindi agad maubos (The pension I am receiving is being spent on food and utility bills, and I am cautious in spending it),” said German Barsolaso, 80 years old from Addition Hills, Brgy. Welfareville, Compound, Mandaluyong City.

German or Mang Boy as he is fondly called also lives alone in a rented room in Welfareville Compound.  He has two children who have their respective familes in Malolos, Bulacan.  He sells candies in the neighbourhood for a living.

“Nagtitinda ako ng mga kendi kung may kapital para mabuhay pero nauubos din kaya walang natitira sa akin (I sell candies when I have capital but the proceeds are also exhausted),” Mang Boy narrated.


While waiting for his turn to get his pension during the pay-out in Mandaluyong City last January 16, he keeps on telling that he is thankful for the pension he receives regularly as it is wholeheartedly given to indigent seniors like him.

Despite his old age, he patiently waited for his turn to claim his fourth quarter pension of P1,500.

When it was his turn to claim his pension, he happily shook hands with all the DSWD and LGU staff who were managing the pay-out.  On his exit from the line, he smiled, tapped the shoulders and shook hands with his fellow pensioners, to show that he successfully hurdled the long queue.

First time recipient

Aling Teody and Mang Boy are  two of the 5,419 beneficiaries of Social Pension Program in the National Capital Region (NCR) who are receiving monthly pension on quarterly basis.  Of these, 228 are from Mandaluyong City.

The payment of social pension for indigent senior citizens is provided for under Republic Act No. 9994, also known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act (ESCA) of 2010. It provides a monthly assistance or subsidy of P500, given on a quarterly basis, to the pre-identified indigent senior citizens who are frail, sickly and disabled, without any regular source of income and/or support from any member of the family, and not receiving other pension benefits from government and private agencies.

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Pasko ng Batang Pinoy Project treats 1,500 Metro street kids

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) treats some 1,500 street children from 17 local government units in Metro Manila through its Pasko ng Batang Pinoy Project, held yesterday (December 19) in two venues, San Andres Sports Complex in Malate and at Malacañang Palace grounds.

The event at San Andres Sports Complex was filled with fun, games, foods and entertainment. Children participants also showcased their talents in a friendly singing and dancing competition.


In the afternoon, President Benigno C. Aquino and DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, together with other cabinet secretaries welcomed the children participants at Malacañang Palace grounds.

President Aquino, with his cabinet secretaries personally distributed the Noche Buena packs and bags of school supplies to the 1,500 street children as their ‘pamasko’ from the President.

The President was also joined by the street children in the ceremonial lighting of the Malacanang Palace Christmas tree.

Meanwile, Secretary Soliman led the awarding of prizes to winners in singing, dancing, and parol and belen making contest.  Winners received cash prizes which shall be used to augment the funds in the implementation of activities in activity centers.

DSWD-NCR Regional Director, Ma. Alicia S. Bonoan said that this annual event is one of the alternative activities that DSWD implements for street children in Metro Manila to prevent them from carolling and begging along major thoroughfares and roads.

Under the Paskuhan ng Batang Pinoy Project, street children participate in various developmental activities such as singing, dancing, theatre arts, arts and crafts, belen and parol making, among others.  These activities are conducted in LGU or NGO designated activity centers.

DSWD also provides hot meals to these street children while they are in activity centers.  “We encourage volunteers and partners to assist us in the implementation of this project by facilitating developmental activities and by provision of support services to street children to keep them off the streets,” said Bonoan.

Bonoan added that the Pasko ng Batang Pinoy Project is part of DSWD’s comprehensive program for street children, street families especially Bajaus that provided complete package of social protection services for immediate relief of their condition.

The comprehensive program offers balik-probinsya assistance to families and individual adults, educational and food assistance to in-school street children and Bajaus, livelihood assistance and cash for work.

It also offers incentives to the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) in acknowledgment of their efforts to lessen the incidence of street dwellers and children in their area of jurisdiction and in maximizing barangay support to the address concerns on street children and dwellers. ###

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Community service project for ‘batang hamog’

Peer pressure, struggle for power and survival.  These are just some of the reasons why some children, commonly called by media as ‘batang hamog’ prefer to stay on the streets.

Rolando, 15 years old from Las Piñas City has made the street his home and his playground for almost a year now. He was lured to street dwelling because of peer influence and defiance to his parent’s advice.  He goes home when he wants to.

On the street, Rolando has been exposed to factors that led him to commit crimes.  He found friends that he calls his gang.  They frequently got into trouble, such as throwing of stones to other group, stabbing their opponents and solvent sniffing.

Rolando was apprehended by police operatives for snatching.

Under Republic Act 9344, no child 15 or younger may be charged for a criminal act. Minors above 15 but below 18 may be held criminally liable only if they are shown to have acted with discernment.

In the case of Roland, he was not jailed.  Instead, he was turned over to the Social Development Center of the city of Las Piñas under the supervision of the City Social Welfare and Development Office to undergo diversion program.

Now, Rolando has been part of the recently launched Cash for Work Project for street children of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the National Capital Region (DSWD-NCR).

DSWD-NCR Regional Director, Ma. Alicia S. Bonoan said that the project aims to provide opportunity to street youth to develop positive skills and experience community service by rendering certain number of hours of work with appropriate supervision of local social workers and authorities.

Bonoan explained that children on the streets like Rolando are more prone to become children in conflict with the law (CICL) because the risk factors are higher than protective factors.  This means that their found peers would drive them to commit offenses and their limited life skills, lack of love and attention from caring adults make them more vulnerable.

“This is one way of diverting the children to prevent them from committing street crimes, begging, scavenging and vending on the streets,” Bonoan added.

At least 157 identified street children from 17 LGUs in Metro Manila known to the community as ‘batang hamog’ will benefit from this project.

Youths will render four hours of community service and shall be paid with P303.00 per day for 30 days.

“Under this project, the youths shall render community work such as street sweepers, garbage collectors, assistants in activity centers, and volunteer in community sports fest activities among others.

Rolando has learned a lot of lessons from his diversion program. He shared that the hardships in life are challenges and that God helps us overcome them.

“Ang lahat ng pagsubok ay bigay ng Diyos.  Huwag lang mawawalan ng pag-asa dahil hindi naman Siya nagpapabaya, basta magsumikap lang ang tao,’ Rolando shared.

He sees that this project is an opportunity for him to change for the better and be an active member of society. ###

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EGV clients and staff hold yuletide performance in malls

The choral group of Elsie Gaches Village which is composed of fifteen (15) upper trainable clients and eight (8) staff serenaded the mall goers with their own rendition of Christmas songs last December 8 & 9, 2012 respectively.

Mall goers and shoppers of Alabang Town Center and Festival Tent in Alabang, Muntinlupa City were delighted by the performances of the choral group.

Ms. Elizabeth Panambo, Head Social Worker of EGV said that event organizers of the Alabang Town Center and Festival Tent invited their clients to perform in their respective events.

She added that the activity served as venue for the clients to showcase their talents and for the center to advocate for support in meeting the needs of its mentally challenged clients. ###

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DSWD-NCR discourages public from giving alms to street children

The Department of Social Welfare and Development in the National Capital Region (DSWD-NCR) discourages the public from giving alms to street children and enjoins them to help in its campaign to prevent the children from street begging and carolling.

DSWD-NCR Regional Director, Ma. Alicia S. Bonoan said that more children and indigenous people go out of the streets, especially during Christmas season to beg and carol in the busy streets of Metro Manila because they believe that people are more generous during this season.
“We are discouraging the public from giving alms to these children and IPs because tolerating their acts will make them more vulnerable to road accidents and various forms of abuses and exploitations,” said DSWD-NCR Regional Director, Ma. Alicia S. Bonoan.


Bonoan also appealed to LGUs to strengthen its Barangay Council for Protection of Children to ensure that the rights of children are promoted and that child welfare laws are implemented.

She further reminded the parents to be responsible in safeguarding their children and provide them their much needed support.

She also encouraged the public to help report sightings of street children in Metro Manila through DSWD twitter account @savestreetkids (  To tweet, simply key in savestreetkids/complete name of street/intersection/city/nearest landmarks and time of sightings.

“The DSWD closely coordinates with the local government units in addressing the concerns on street children.  Reported cases through twitter shall be responded by our reach-out team, in coordination with the concerned LGU or barangay.  The reached-out children will be brought to Reception and Action Center (RAC) or Social Development Center (SDC) of LGUs or to DSWD run institutions for provision of appropriate services and interventions,” Bonoan added.###

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DSWD-NCR urges LGUs, NGOs, and CSOs to use NHTS-PR database

The Department of Social Welfare and Development- National Capital Region (DSWD-NCR) urges the Local Government Units (LGUs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to use the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) database in identifying beneficiaries of their social protection programs.

In a dialogue held at Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City on Thursday, NHTO Director Vincent T. Leyson urged the participants to acquire a copy of the NHTS-PR data by entering into a Memorandum of Agreement with DSWD and use the data in targeting the beneficiaries of their respective organization or agency’s social protection programs.

“We stand to our tag line that our database is “Sigurado, Kumpleto, Totoo,” thus the beneficiaries that you will identify from this list are rightful beneficiaries who are in need, Leyson said.




At present, the cities of Makati and Malabon have entered into Memorandum of Agreement with DSWD and are now utilizing the NHTS data.

As of July 31, 2011, DSWD-NCR has enumerated a total of 697,443 households in the National Capital Region covering 16 cities and one municipality or 1,705 barangays.  Of this number, 316,823 households were identified as poor.

These households were assessed through interviews by trained enumerators using a two-page Household Assessment Form (HAF). The HAF contains verifiable indicators that are good proxies of income, such as family composition, employment, education of household members, housing conditions, access to basic services, ownership of assets, and health conditions.

The dialogue also served as venue for the participants to clarify issues and concerns on the use of the targeting system.

The sharing of NHTS-PR database is pursuant to Executive Order No. 867 issued in March 2010 directing all National Government Agencies (NGAs) to adopt the results of NHTS-PR in identifying prospective beneficiaries for their social protection programs nationwide.###


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DSWD-NCR Male employees support campaign to end VAW

In support to the observance of the 18-Day Campaign to end Violence against Women (VAW) from November 25-December 12, 2012, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the National Capital Region (DSWD-NCR) will conduct series of activities to raise public awareness on issues affecting women and to promote women’s rights and freedom.


In a kick-off activity held during its Monday flag raising ceremony, male employees of the Field Office had a simultaneous blowing of whistles to express their support in the elimination violence against women.

Mr.Boyet Selva, President of Men Oppose to Violence Against Women Everywhere (MOVE), NCR chapter said that VAW should not be tolerated but rather condemned because it does not only leave scars on abused women but also violates their human rights.


Activities lined up include the distribution of flyers about women related laws to commuters along Legarda Street in Manila and likewise, enjoining the support of motorists to the campaign by blowing their horns last November 26; exhibition ball games for men and women employees of DSWD-NCR from November 12 to November 29, simultaneous candle lighting on December 3 and tree planting on December 12.

“This initiative raises the awareness of all men to be involved in the elimination of VAW since violence against women happens every day inhomes, in the workplace and in schools which causes trauma, mental disorder, dysfunction and other related illnesses to women victims,” said Ma. Alicia S. Bonoan, DSWD-NCR Regional Director.

MOVE NCR chapter spearheads the implementation of series of activities anchored to this year’s theme which is ‘VAW Free Society in Times of Peace, Conflict and Calamity.”###


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Family camp for 900 homeless families in NCR

A total of 900 family-beneficiaries under the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF) project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will experience a three-day family camping activities which aims to develop their overall emotional, social and physical strengths.

To be held at Island Cove in Cavite City, the homeless street families were grouped into three (3) batches with 300 families or 1,500 individuals per batch coming from 13 cities in NCR.

The first batch of families had their camping last November 7-9 while the second and third batch will be on November 14-16 and November 27-29, respectively.

“With this family camp, surely, it will be a meaningful experience for the homeless street families as different programs and outdoor activities were prepared for them which will discover their talent, skills and interests,’’ said DSWD Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera.
Cabrera added that this event will let them even temporarily forget their everyday struggle on streets and hopefully experience a real family life.  It will enable them to actually do something in order to make their family, especially their children free from risks and vulnerabilities of the streets.

The implementation of Modified Conditional Cash Transfer for Homeless Street Families (MCCT-HSF) project expands the coverage of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program by targeting the homeless street families who were not included in the Pantawid Program because of their mobile lifestyle and indefinite residence,’’ Cabrera explained.



The project provides a complete package of assistance to the street families which are not limited to education and health grants, but also include safe and responsive housing assistance with access to social services and economic opportunities for the improvement of their living conditions.

Similar with the beneficiaries of the regular CCT, the homeless street families under the MCCT project also receive monthly cash grants for health and education, provided that they comply with the modified conditionalities.

The conditions that they should comply are: parents should ensure their children do not stay or work in the streets; parents/guardians should participate/attend the Family Life Education and Counseling, and Family Development Sessions conducted in their locale; children should be attending any mode of learning, either regular school, Alternative Learning System (ALS), School on Wheels, Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP; parents/guardians should bring their children to health centers for immunizations, weight and height monitoring and preventive check-ups; and household beneficiaries must stay in alternative residences after identification, relocation and/or provision of shelter assistance for them. ###

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