DSWD Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian (center) and other officials meet with the delegation of the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, headed by Ambassador HK Yu PSM (6th from right) on Wednesday, at the DSWD Central Office.

Gatchalian joins PBBM in giving aid to shear line-affected Bicol fisherfolk

March 18, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 91 views

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr, together with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian, spearheaded the distribution of family food packs (FFPs) and cash assistance to the fishermen affected by the shear-line in the Bicol Region, during his visit to Camarines Sur on Thursday.

Aside from the FFPs, some 1,000 beneficiaries received Php5,000 each under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program of the Department to help them cope with the effects of the continuous heavy rains on their livelihoods.

In his message, the President ensured that the government will continue to provide necessary assistance, such as AICS, as the country is still experiencing the effects of the pandemic.

“Kaya’t kailangan tuloy-tuloy ang pagbigay namin ng inyong – ‘yung ayuda, ‘yung AICS, ‘yung TUPAD, lahat po ‘yan na aming ginagawa” (Therefore, provision of assistance, like AICS and TUPAD, shall continue, that’s all we’re doing), the President said.

Other government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority also provided livelihood grants, financial assistance, loan approval for micro, small and medium enterprises, reinforced plastic boats, and electrical tool kits, among others, to the other beneficiaries in the region.

On the same day, Secretary Gatchalian also joined President Marcos as the Chief Executive brought the ‘Kadiwa ng Pangulo’ to the municipality of Pili in Camarines Sur. The President and the Secretary visited some of the sellers’ booths and stalls of different agencies showcasing their unique local products.

The President, likewise, expressed his gratitude to Secretary Gatchalian for supporting the Kadiwa ng Pangulo.

“Kaya’t maraming salamat sa inyong lahat na nakilahok. At kasama natin diyan ang Department of Agriculture, kasama natin diyan ang Department of Trade and Industry… at siyempre nandito ang ating DSWD Secretary, Secretary Rex Gatchalian na busing-busy. Hindi ko akalain makakaalis siya sa [Oriental Mindoro] dahil marami siyang ginagawa doon dahil doon sa oil spill. Pero nandito siya para magbigay tulong, magbigay ng suporta dito sa ating programa na ito” (Thank you very much to all of you who participated. We are joined by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Trade and Industry… and of course our DSWD Secretary, Secretary Rex Gatchalian is here who is busy. I did not expect him to leave [Oriental Mindoro] because he is doing a lot there because of the oil spill. But he is here to give help, to give support to this program), the President said.

For the DSWD, beneficiaries of its Sustainable Livelihood Program showcased their food and non-food products such as dried fish, dinailan products, citronella candles, abaca slippers, abanico, and wallets made from recycled plastics, among others.

The Kadiwa ng Pangulo is an initiative of the Office of the President that aims to promote and bring local products of farmers, fisher folks, and small-scale business owners closer and directly to the market.

The occasion marked a historic event in the lives of the Bicolanos, especially for the people of Camarines Sur, as this was the first visit of the President to the province since assuming the Presidency.

Aside from the AICS distribution and Kadiwa ng Pangulo launching, the President also graced a series of events in the province such as the Groundbreaking of the Pambansang Pabahay Para sa Pilipino Housing (4PH) Project and distribution of various government assistance.

DSWD partners with Australian gov’t to strengthen disaster response, social protection efforts

Gatchalian met with Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu PSM and the Australian Embassy delegation on Wednesday, March 15, to discuss ways on further improving the Department’s disaster response mechanisms, community development initiatives, and social protection efforts.

During the meeting, the Secretary mentioned that one of his priorities is to strengthen the disaster response system of the DSWD. The Australian Embassy representatives shared the Strengthening Institutions and Empowering Localities Against Disasters and Climate Change (SHIELD) Program, a disaster preparedness program supported and funded by the Australian government. The SHIELD program is being implemented with 11 local government units in the country. The embassy delegation committed to share with the Department their disaster response framework and best practices.

Secretary Gatchalian also mentioned the plan of the Department to revitalize the Social Welfare and Development Center for Asia and the Pacific (SWADCAP) as an academy that will offer short-term courses and certificate programs to further equip and train the social service workforce, especially the social workers, non-governmental organizations, local government personnel and other service providers involved in the implementation of social protection packages to the vulnerable and disadvantaged sector.

Ambassador HK Yu PSM, in her response, expressed the Australian government’s full support to provide technical assistance in crafting training packets or pathways for continuing professional development programs as well as conducting training of trainers for the academy.

The DSWD continues to build and expand its partnerships with international organizations to better improve the quality of services for the benefit of Filipinos.