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DSWD, other gov’t agencies vow to restore governance among members of Socorro Bayanihan Services

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Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Monday (October 16) vowed to restore governance among members of the controversial Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. as this will pave the way for the provision of assistance to children who were being deprived of their rights to education.

“The national government will bring back governance in the area. Life and governance must go on inside the premises of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc,” Secretary Gatchalian said during an inter-agency meeting at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.

Secretary Gatchalian said a composite team consisting of personnel from the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), and the DSWD will be established to collect baseline data on the health and literacy of children, expectant mothers, and nursing mothers at the Socorro complex located in Sitio Kapihan, Socorro town, Surigao del Norte.

These baseline data, according to the DSWD chief, will include the children’s literacy status for proper educational intervention, immunization records for tracking malnutrition, and other health-related interventions.

“These will serve as the foundation for the government’s strategy on how it would begin to appropriately intervene on behalf of the Socorro Bayanihan members’ livelihood, health, and educational needs,” Secretary Gatchalian pointed out.

Under the direction of the DOH, the DSWD will oversee the intervention on human development component by using its Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI CIDSS) program to create learning and health facilities in the area as part of the KALAHI-CIDSS infrastructure project.

In addition to the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) TUPAD or Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced workers, the DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood program (SLP)and Cash-for-Work program will be used to provide livelihood opportunities to the Socorro residents.

“The DSWD’s goal in working with other line agencies is to restore human life in the area with dignity through livelihood, health, and education,” Secretary Gatchalian said.

Based on DSWD data, a total of 909 households or 3,184 individuals are listed as members of the Socorro Bayanihan Services, Inc.

Of the 3,184 individuals, 1,173 are minors with 554 females and 619 males. The balance of 1,967 are all adults with 980 females and 987 males.

Secretary Gatchalian made it clear that a national approach is underway to improve the human life index of the Socorro members during the inter-agency meeting attended by representatives from the DepEd, DOLE, DOH, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Gawad Kalinga (GK).

As part of the program, child psychologists from the DSWD will provide further assistance to child victims, particularly in the parent effectiveness program of the agency, to help them normalize their lives.

The DSWD has also enlisted Gawad Kalinga’s assistance in forming the necessary values and expediting the victims’ coping mechanisms.

Adult victims will receive training from TESDA, while victims who have not yet registered will receive help from PSA regarding their birth and marriage certificates.

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