Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Regional Director Minda B. Brigoli together with the twenty (20) volunteers from Civil Society Organization (CSO) from Caraga and some Pantawid Pamilya staff went to Region 8 particularly Ormoc City on December 18-21, 2013.

The 20 volunteers were from the 6 different partner CSOs of DSWD namely NACHPHIL, PANGKALAMBUAN, PASCRES Caraga, SNPIDA, HCDI, and WAMPNCO.

“Our active CSO partners will help our city/municipal links Officers (C/MLOs) augment in Region 8 in locating, identifying and validating Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries from among the displaced households due to the typhoon Yolanda,” Director Brigoli said.

The data collected will be used as reference in updating their Pantawid Pamilya database. Validation of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries is vital to ensure continuity in receiving the casg grants due to them.

The CSO volunteers were divided into five (5) teams together with the C/MLOs as the team leader and were deployed in Ormoc City. Within two (2) days the teams were able to validate 5,784 Pantawid Pamilya families from the 97 barangays of Ormoc City. The teams conducted community assemblies and house to house visits.

Temporary IDs were issued after validations; this also serves as an acknowledgement receipt that is used during payouts.

According to the CSO volunteers they were warmly welcomed by the survivors, and their questions were honestly answered by them. They saw the fighting spirit of the typhoon victims, that despite of the damaged houses and lost loved ones; they can still smile, accept the situation and move on carrying with them the hope that tomorrow would be a brighter day.

Crislea Celeste, Pantawid Pamilya focal person said, “I will never forget Amparo Codog, a dedicated Parent Leader of Ormoc. Her words reached the very core in me. She told me to take life positively and I have to be strong for God is with me. I never thought that such survivor of a huge disaster can still throw words of encouragement to the people who are helping them.”

While Pastor John Micah Masadya of NACHPHIL, Inc. said that “We are very happy that we were given a chance to interact with the typhoon Yolanda victims, the validation may be tiring but being able to talk to them and see them smile and hear their stories gave us the feeling of satisfaction.”

DSWD Caraga was the first DSWD Field Office to have CSO volunteers in the typhoon Yolanda affected areas. ### (Social Marketing Unit/Stella Maris Barcelon)

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