Gov’t maps out action plan as more Pinoys return from Sabah
In an effort to track and ensure that services are provided to families returning from Sabah, 50 representatives of government agencies in Region IX and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) met recently in Lantaka Hotel, Zamboanga City to draft an action plan which will include all contributions and possible programs from the different line agencies that could be implemented and provided to the returnees.
Based on the April 5 report of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Disaster Risk Reduction and Response Operations Office (DSWD-DRRRO), some 5,349 persons have returned from Sabah.
“The need to converge and pool our resources as well as synchronize our activities is a demand that we need to address,” DSWD Undersecretary Parisya Hashim-Taradji, who presided over the meeting, stated.
One action plan is to issue a Family Access Card to displaced persons from Sabah upon disembarkation to any point in Mindanao. The Provincial Social Welfare Officers (PSWOs) of the three provinces of ARMM – Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Basilan, will provide color-coded cards to displaced families to entitle them to services being provided by the national and local governments and to prevent duplication in the availment of the services.
Undersecretary Taradji explained that the access cards will systematize provision of relief, transportation, and shelter assistance, and cash-for-work to the displaced families.
She added that the DSWD will also deploy twelve social workers to Sabah today, April 8, to reinforce the efforts of staff currently assisting the affected Filipinos.
Undersecretary Taradji also disclosed that the DSWD will deploy a four-man team to Tawi-Tawi and Sulu on April 9-13 to undertake needs assessment and contingency planning for the continued arrival of displaced Filipinos from Sabah.
To date, a total of P10.4 million worth of humanitarian aid was provided to the affected families through the combined resources of DSWD (P10.4 million) and NGOs (P4,100). The aid includes relief packs, hygiene kits and transportation assistance.
One-Stop Processing Center continues
The One-Stop Processing Center (OSPC) in Taganak, Tawi-Tawi is another mechanism set-up by the government to facilitate long-term interventions. The process flow involves two phases - Phase I which DSWD is tasked to handle and Phase II where the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) comes in.
Phase I includes the arrival of displaced families to the Philippines, where they are immediately attended to as well as interviewed and assessed for appropriate intervention. Phase II highlights the provision of needed assistance to the displaced families which covers three options such as the processing of papers for return to employers in Malaysia, the reintegration process for wage employment, and the provision of livelihood assistance (self-employment).
The OSPC mechanism was implemented in 1997 when the Federal Government of Malaysia strictly enforced its Immigration Act. Thousands of Filipinos were deported due to expired work papers, lack of documents and illegal residency status. ### (DSWD-Social Marketing Service) April 8, 2013
51 PWDs earn AVRC skills certificate
Fifty one persons with disability (PWDs) received their diplomas after successfully completing their respective courses along vocational skills at the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center III.
Ruben Gamalando, who was awarded as Most Outstanding Trainee this year, during his testimony shared some of his life’s challenges. Orthopedically handicapped, due to a tragic incident at a construction site where he worked, he refused to let the incident be a hindrance to his thirst for education. “Di ko man naabot pa ang aking pangarap na makatapos ng kolehiyo, ito ay isa na sa mga daan na magdadala sa akin sa aking pangarap.”
Ruben, along with the others, undergone trainings on various skills at the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center, which is facility managed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Said facility was established to cater to PWDs in capacitating them to become productive individuals, capable of taking care of themselves through the skills that they have acquired.
DSWD IX TEAMS UP WITH ARMM HEADS IN PREPARATION FOR AFTERMATH OF SABAH CLASH
March 8, 2013/ZC-- DSWD IX Asst. Regional Director Riduan Hadjimuddin confirmed that coordination with concerned agencies is underway to ensure efforts are organized and synchronized in anticipation of the massive deportation of Filipinos from Sabah.
As a result of a meeting with ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman last Tuesday , DSWD IX committed to provide manpower and fund support to the ARMM Region. Todate, DSWD has transferred the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos as augmentation support to DSWD ARMM . A team of social workers well-versed with the local dialects of Sulu and Tawi-tawi was organized and ready to go in case reinforcements are requested by the ARMM Provincial Social Welfare Offices (PSWO).
Ms. Hania Aliakbar, Social Welfare Head of Tawi-tawi, revealed that schools were identified as evacuation centers considering the availability of facilities such as comfort rooms. Systems that will help facilitate smoothly the transfer and processing of the deportees such as the “Task Force Tabang’ are already in place through the initiative of Governor Hataman and his cabinet members.
Gov. Hataman said that with the crisis in Sabah, the pooling of resources and efforts by the public and private organizations is a priority. (nzb)