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DSWD Chief welcomes the First Lady to Elsie Gaches Village

First Lady Marcos and DSWD
First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo meet the children residents of one of the cottages at the Elsie Gaches Village, a residential facility managed by the Department.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo warmly received First Lady Marie Louise ‘Liza’ Araneta-Marcos in her visit to Elsie Gaches Village (EGV) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City on Saturday, October 15, 2022.

EGV is a residential care facility of the government managed by the DSWD which caters to individuals aged 7 to 59 years old, with intellectual or developmental disability and other neurodevelopmental disorders, and were abandoned, neglected or abused by their own families.

During her visit, Secretary Tulfo showed to Mrs. Marcos the hand-crafted artworks and paintings done by the residents of the EGV. A short program followed with a dance performance of the selected children in the facility. The Secretary then led the First Lady to one of the facilities to see the situation and condition of the abused women and children housed in the center.

A champion of genuine service

In his message, Secretary Tulfo lauded Mrs. Marcos for being a champion of genuine service, advocating the act of kindness in the provision of excellent public service. He also thanked the First Lady for extending her warmth and care to the residents, providing gifts and some equipment which can be used as part of the residents’ recreational activities.

The Secretary also boasted that “the E-G-V has become a center of hope for the residents here. At EGV, we try to make the residents experience having normal lives.”

He added, “The center gives them an opportunity to make their lives fruitful and meaningful through the services provided to them, which include social, health, educational, health, psychological, productivity, recreational, development and spiritual services. Music, art, and sports also abound here to facilitate the healing of residents.”

First Lady Marcos and DSWD
The First Lady giving her gift to one of the residents of EGV with (from left) Muntinlupa City Mayor Ruffy Biazon; Secretary Tulfo; Benguet Lone District Representative Eric Yap; and an EGV staff.

As proof that a disability is not a hindrance to success, the Secretary shared that some EGV residents won first runner-up at the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Football Tournament in Australia in 2013.

Moreover, the Secretary acknowledged the dedication and kind heart of the DSWD staff as well as the volunteers of the EGV who provide compassionate care to the residents.

Looking at the situation of the EGV residents

In a simple message, the First Lady shared, “In one of our meetings, we discussed with Secretary Tulfo the possibility of me visiting the residential care facilities in order to see the conditions and identify the needs, and hopefully, the assistance, because we all need the help right now.”

She shared that the EGV has come a long way from the time it was started when an American couple, Samuel and Elsie Gaches donated their 16-hectare lot rest house to be used as a shelter for the needy in 1964. Now, EGV has become a haven for those in need.

Moreover, the First Lady added, “In behalf of my husband, he would like to convey his warmest regards and well wishes to the residents of EGV and to all the DSWD personnel and the volunteers for their hard work, and all the effort you put in to take care of the residents. I know it is not easy and it is, indeed, a labor of love.”

During a visit in one of the cottages which houses some of the residents, she also personally thanked the house parents for their dedication to the job, as well as reiterated her commendation for the hard word of all staff and volunteers who are instrumental in helping the residents’ lead normal lives.

The First Lady also committed in helping to explore the provision of night differential for the center staff.

Meanwhile, Secretary Tulfo stressed that the Department will continue to fortify its efforts to enhance all its centers and residential care facilities towards the goal of having these certified as centers of excellence.

The First Lady was joined by Muntinlupa City Mayor Ruffy Biazon and Benguet Lone District Representative Eric Yap.

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