Butuan City – The Department of Social Welfare and Development ( DSWD) FO Caraga in the implementation of its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program conducted a Potential CSO Partners’ Forum last March 19, 2014 held in Balanghai Hotel, Butuan City. It was to invite more CSO partners in the program implementation and for them to become helping leverage in raising the well – being of the program’s served households into the aspired self – sufficiency.

The one (1) day forum was participated by all invited fifteen (15) CSOs operating in the region with a total of twenty (20) representatives. The said CSOs are apart from the existing pool of program CSO partners. Provincial Links of all five provinces were also present in the activity along with key technical staff of the Regional Project Management Office headed by the Regional Program Coordinator, Alma Sy – Patron.

Ms. Golda V. Pocon, Regional CSO Focal Person / Standards unit Head welcomed the participants and set the tone of having CSOs as partners of the Department. She encouraged them to help fulfil the Department’s mandate in the most participatory manner as possible.

Crislea D. Celeste, PDO II – IPD / CSO Focal Person of Pantawid Pamilya presented the objectives and course outline of the activity.

RPC Alma Sy – Patron, presented the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. She delivered to the participating CSOs the overview of the program and enlightened them on their confusions of the latter. As the main objective of the forum, the Situationer of Caraga Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries based on the Social Welfare Indicator (SWI) turn – out was presented by Elsa Alcuetas, one the Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Officers. On Supply Side Assessment (SSA ) situationer, Lyra Viajar, SSA Focal presented the data.

Regional Director Minda B. Brigoli, in her message emphasized the DSWD – CSO engagement through the logo of DSWD and Pantawid Pamilya. She explained that the two hands of DSWD logo represent DSWD on one hand, CSOs on the other hand. The heart on top of the hands is the Pantawid beneficiaries.

RD Brigoli reiterated that partnership with the civic group is highly encouraged especially in this recent time when the society now has it so called “ NEW NORMAL”.

She heightened that it is difficult to carry the heart (beneficiaries) with only one hand, thus, the Department needs more helping hands. She recognized the significance of the DSWD – CSO Engagement of the CSOs’ presence and claimed that they all now addition to the pool of the DSWD partners.

After the presentations, an open forum was conducted to provide CSOs the venue to air their comments, issues, and concerns into the committed setting workshop.

The participants were given the opportunity to interact and discuss matters clearly and to come up with joint action towards aspired goal of synergized interventions.

It was agreed in the activity that the Potential CSO will submit their commitment, based on the presented SWI result. Signed and filled – out commitment will be submitted. The result of the consultation will be coordinated and cascaded per provinces based on the target area of the CSOs.

CSOs expressed their gratitude having invited in the activity since they were enlightened on the purpose of the program and now clearer picture of the program.

DSWD, in its fullest sense of efforts has been pulling its full resources and means to attain social development and welfare of the poor, vulnerable, and the disadvantaged in the society. Hence, the department needs more helping hands to fulfill its vision. This idea dwelled on the high expectations that CSOs are experts on the development work. It is believed that tapping them as partners help increase the impact of developmental interventions provided by the department in its focused clientele and therefore increases the possibility of success and truer development thru participatory government will be attained. ### ( by: Crislea D. Celeste, PDO II – PD CSO FO Caraga & TDB/ Social Marketing Unit)