DSWD continues to protect, empower women

As the nation celebrates National Women's Month this March, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as the lead agency in social protection, continues to implement rehabilitative and protective programs for women in especially difficult circumstances (WEDCs) to help them move forward.

This year's celebration with the theme, "Juana, Desisyon Mo ay Mahalaga sa Kinabukasan ng Bawa't Isa, Ikaw Na!" aims to pay tribute to all women leaders who passionately lead and continue to advance women's advocacies. Their key roles and accomplishments in positions of leadership, power, and decision-making are being highlighted in order to influence and break the conservative mindset and belief that politics and leadership are not for women.

In her message of support, DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman focused on the unique zest and strength brought by women to Philippine society.

Sec. Soliman said that for DSWD, there are ordinary women who have become symbols of change in their families, communities, and in this country, such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program partner-beneficiaries Marisel PeAa and Elizabeth Olero.

Marisel, who never had any formal schooling, became a jueteng collector to provide for her family. Being a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilya changed her values and mindset, and she became determined to raise her children the right way. She is now a Parent Leader in their community and owns a sari-sari store. Moreover, she learned to read and write through the program.

Elizabeth, a partner-beneficiary of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program for Homeless Street Families (MCCT- HSF), used to live in the streets with her family. Since becoming partner-beneficiaries, Elizabeth and her husband are now striving to improve their lives through their small business venture.

"Marisel and Elizabeth are just two of the many 'Juanas' who in their own way became instruments of change in society, through the help of the government," Sec. Soliman enthused.

Programs and services

In 2014, the Department assisted a total of 150,391 cases of WEDCs who were victims of violence, abuse, exploitation, illegal recruitment, human trafficking, and armed conflict.

The DSWD provides these women with gender-responsive case management and appropriate services such as, but not limited to, temporary shelter, psychosocial support and healing sessions, medical services, self-enhancement sessions, livelihood skills development sessions, counseling services, legal assistance and witness preparation, escorting of clients during court hearings, and referral to concerned agencies for other appropriate interventions.

The DSWD manages 22 residential care facilities for disadvantaged women and girls. These are: Haven for Women located in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, and in Regions I, II, III, IVA, VI, VII, VIII, and XI; Marillac Hills, also known as National Training School for Girls in Alabang, Muntinlupa City; and Group Home for Girls located in Regions I-XII.

Likewise, After Care Services and community-based support services are also given to these women by the Local Social Welfare Development Offices (LSWDOs) once they are discharged from the centers and are re-integrated with their families and communities.

Aside from protective and rehabilitative services, the DSWD also implements poverty reduction programs such as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services National Community-Driven Development Program (KALAHI CIDSS-NCDDP), and PAMANA project for armed-conflict areas. Women play a major role as partner-beneficiaries in the planning and implementation of these programs.

As of February 25, a total of 3,989,180 or 89.76% of the Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries are female.

On the other hand, a total of 263,955 women are Kalahi-CIDSS NCDDP volunteers who participated in the implementation of community projects.

Under the SLP, 244,617 women have been given capital assistance and are now managing their livelihood projects.

For older persons, there are 27,903 women-beneficiaries under the Social Pension Program. In 2014 there were 260 women senior citizens served in DSWD-managed centers, such as the Haven for the Elderly in Tanay, Rizal.

From 2012-2014, there were 676 women with disabilities out of 1,916 persons with disabilities (PWDs) who availed of community-based services, while there were 2,732 women with disabilities out of 4,119 PWDs served in DSWD-managed facilities.

These services include Tuloy Aral Walang Sagabal (TAWAG), Training on Early Detection, Early Intervention and Education (EDPID), Access to Information, Communication and Assistive Technologies, and livelihood assistance including self-employment.

For women in disasters, particularly from typhoon 'Yolanda'-affected areas where Women-Friendly Spaces were pilot-tested, a total of 36,579 women and adolescent girls were reached through a wide range of welfare services, education sessions, and livelihood training activities.

These services were provided through the concerted efforts of various humanitarian actors and LGU service providers.

Under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) Program through the Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU), out of 79,499 recipients, 53,607 are women who received direct cash assistance from the Department.

Out of 2,060 trafficked persons, 1,445 are women-survivors who availed of services from the Department. (DSWD)

Source: The Philippine Information Agency

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