Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury for International Markets and Development, Marisa Lago, recently visited Barangay Ligtong III in Rosario, Cavite to meet and interact with the partner beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Accompanying Assistant Secretary Lago were Ben Cushman, the US Department of the Treasury Financial Attaché for Southeast Asia, and Robert Orr, the US Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Also part of the visiting contingent were Yukiko Ito, Halliday Hart, Leah Gutierrez, and Joel Mangahas of the ADB.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Vilma Cabrera, Kalahi-CIDSS Director Chi Redaja, Region IV-A Regional Director Leticia Diokno, Region IV-A Assistant Regional Floreceli Gunio accompanied the delegation, along with staff of the DSWD.

Malou San Bueneventura, one of the Project beneficiaries, discusses the community's gains from Kalahi-CIDSS with  the US Department of the Treasury Assistant Secretary Marisa Lago and Robert Orr, the US Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and key officials of the ADB and DSWD

The visit was intended for the delegation to observe the implementation of Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Pantawid), two of the major poverty alleviation programs of the DSWD.

Kalahi-CIDSS uses the community-driven development strategy, an approach that seeks to combat poverty and improve local governance by strengthening the capacity of citizens to identify and implement local solutions to poverty issues. The program’s implementation in Barangay Ligtong III is realized through a grant from the Japan Social Development Fund-Livelihood Opportunities for Vulnerable Urban Communities (JSDF-LVUC) to improve employment and livelihood opportunities for urban poor communities through community grants for labor-intensive, small-scale development projects and community enterprises through business advisory services. Pantawid, on the other hand, is the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of the DSWD. It provides financial assistance so that poor households can invest in the health and education of their children.

The delegates participated in a focus group discussion with the Kalahi-CIDSS volunteers, who talked about their experience in participating in the program. Maria Lourdes San Buenaventura, one of the volunteers, shared, “Dito po namin naranasan ang community-driven na project. Dito po namin naranasan na maging kabahagi talaga ng barangay. Naging bahagi po kami sa solusyon sa problema ng barangay with the help of Kalahi-CIDSS [Through this, we were able to experience community-driven development. We got to feel what it’s like to truly be part of the village. We became part of the solution to solve the problems of our community with the help of Kalahi-CIDSS].”

Annaliza Asma, another Kalahi-CIDSS volunteer and one of the Pantawid Parent Leaders in Barangay Ligtong III, shared, “Nakatulong po ang Kalahi-CIDSS sa kanila kasi marami po sa kanila ang walang pinagkakakitaan. Nagkaroon po sila nang pinagkakakitaan para po sa kanilang pamilya. Dahil po sa Kalahi-CIDSS at Pantawid madami pong tulong ang naibigay sa amin [Kalahi-CIDSS has helped our village because a lot of the residents do not have a source of income. They were able to get employment through this, so they can now earn for their families. We have received a lot of help through Kalahi-CIDSS and Pantawid].”

Assistant Secretary Marisa Lago was impressed with the stories shared by the community volunteers. As she said, “I’m just so struck by your leadership, and it is leadership from within the community that makes projects successful.”

Ambassador Orr was likewise impressed by the residents of Barangay Ligtong III. He thanked the community, saying, “I just want to thank you for inspiring us. It’s inspiring to see leaders like you give your time at the local level. It’s the local level that makes the national leadership, and you demonstrated that today, so thank you very much.”

For his part, Rosario Mayor Jose “Nonong” Ricafrente extended his gratitude to the US Department of the Treasury and ADB for visiting his municipality. He thanked the DSWD for implementing Kalahi-CIDSS and Pantawid in Rosario. He said, “We are lucky we have been chosen as the beneficiaries of the Kalahi-CIDSS project and the conditional cash transfer program. We have been visited by calamities recently, [such as] flooding these past weeks, and the oil spills. Without these programs, I don’t know how we could have coped with these, but now, we could cope with man-made and natural calamities.”

Aside from the interacting with the Kalahi-CIDSS volunteers and the Pantawid partner beneficiaries, the delegation also observed an ongoing Family Development Session (FDS), an innovation of the CCT implementation of the DSWD, wherein parent beneficiaries of Pantawid are taught principles and practices that will develop their knowledge, skills, and values as better parents to their children. The delegation also visited a day care center and a health center in Barangay Ligtong III, both of which are used by the Pantawid beneficiaries.

Kalahi-CIDSS and Pantawid implementation in Barangay Ligtong III

Barangay Ligtong III is a community that benefits from both Kalahi-CIDSS and Pantawid.

Barangay Ligtong III chose the dredging and desilting of 560 linear meters of Malimango creek and the construction of a line canal as their infrastructure community projects in Kalahi-CIDSS. Through the program, interested residents of the said barangay also underwent dressmaking, shield metal arc welding, and buri bag making trainings. The number of trainees were 55, 15, and 53, respectively. Forty of the trained beneficiaries are now employed at the Cavite Export Processing Zone (EPZA). The other trainees are being linked with the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), another poverty alleviation program of the DSWD.

Pantawid, meanwhile, covers 2,658 households in the municipality of Rosario, Cavite. In Ligtong III, it has 373 household beneficiaries.

Originally designed to operate in rural poor communities, Kalahi-CIDSS has recently started piloting CDD implementation in urban poor communities. Ligtong III in Rosario, Cavite is one of its first pilot urban CDD sites, along with three communities in Malate, Manila. Recently, DSWD has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Laguna, Cavite, Malabon, and Muntinlupa for the implementation of urban CDD.

Pantawid, Kalahi-CIDSS, and SLP make up the Tatsulo, the Convergence strategy of the DSWD to generate greater impact on poverty reduction.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Cabrera said, “This [visit] shows how convergence works. It’s not only convergence within DSWD, but also with the LGUs. It says a lot if we converge our projects, because it shows shared responsibility, together with the communities.”