A substantial number of women are extremely poor and yet they stand at the forefront of the poverty alleviation programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, thus, they were recognized and very much appreciated by DSWD Secretary Corazon Soliman.
“As the country celebrates Women’s Month this March, the DSWD recognizes the active participation of women-beneficiaries and volunteers in the implementation of poverty reduction projects. We are encouraged by the positive feedback and success stories that we receive on how our women-beneficiaries managed to turn their lives around, regained their dignity and self-worth and achieved economic independence,” Soliman said in a statement.
More than half of the “soldiers” of DSWD’s anti-poverty campaign like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) and Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) are women.
One of the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries since 2009 from Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City, and a DSWD volunteer was Celyn Morales.
Morales said she was happy with being both a beneficiary and a volunteer of anti-poverty programs of DSWD because she has been able to assist her fellow poor women.
She works as a babysitter and moonlights as a laundry woman during weekends.
Her husband is a shoe vendor at Commonwealth Market.
The couple has four children, who are able to continue their studies with cash grants they receive from the DSWD.
Aside from being a parent leader, Morales is also an active vo lunteer of Oplan Balik Bahay Sagip Buhay (OBBSB), which aims to comprehensively address the prevalence of children, unattached individuals and families at risk on the streets.
On top of that, she also was able to be part of the SLP’s livelihood training and employment through Cash-for-Work, as well as training for parent leaders on financial literacy and urban and vertical gardening.
Like Morales, Soledad Esquillo also from Barangay Commonwealth, is a parent leader and an OBBSB volunteer.
Esquillo’s husband is a tricycle driver.
They have 10 children.
Because of extreme poverty, the couple availed of the 4Ps, which they described as a blessing from God.
“Dahil sa Pantawid Pamilya, nakapagpatapos ako ng dalawang anak sa kolehiyo ]Because of Pantawid Pamilya, I was able to send my children through college],” Esquillo said.
She added that the 4Ps empowered and enabled her to help her fellow beneficiaries and neighbors.
“Nakakatulong din ako sa mga kapwa ko benepisyaryo at kapitbahay sa pamamagitan ng pagbabahagi ng tamang inpormasyon. Halimbawa, kapag mayroong may sakit na nangangailangan ng tulong medikal, o yung mga namatayan na walang pangpalibing, sinasabi ko sa kanila ang mga requirements para makahingi sila ng tulong sa DSWD [I am able to help my fellow beneficiaries and neighbors by providing them the right information. For instance, when somebody is sick and needs medical assistance, or those whose family members died and have no money for burial, I tell them the requir ements so they can request assistance from DSWD),” Esquillo explained.
According to Soliman, being the lead agency in social protection, the DSWD has been at the forefront in the delivery of programs and services geared toward women empowerment, which have improved the lives of women-beneficiaries.”
"Sila ang nag-aaruga at nagkakalinga sa kanilang mga kapwa benepisyaryo [They take care of their fellow beneficiaries],” she said.