BUTUAN CITY- As the agency recognizes the important role of media in disseminating correct information to the general public, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office Caraga recently concluded the conduct of Stakeholders’ Media Forum on November 14, 2019 at Almont City Hotel, this city.

Assistant Regional Director for Administration Ramel F. Jamen welcome the participants of the Stakeholders’ Media Forum.

The forum which aims to update the media on the status of the on-going 3rd round household assessment and to answer queries related to Listahanan, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Unconditional Cash Transfer, Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens, and Disaster Response, was attended by media outfits from Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.

Present during the forum were representative/s from Manila Bulletin, Philippine News Agency, PTV 8 – Agusan del Sur, Brigada News FM, Magik FM, Real Radio, Hope Radio, Butuan City Public Information Office, RMN DXBC, Radyo Trumpeta, and Mindanao Centro Daily.

The DSWD contingent was headed by Assistant Regional Director for Operation Nerisa T. Murih; together with the different Division Chiefs, and Program Focal Persons. Also present were DSWD National Household Targeting Office (NHTO) Director Andrew Ambubuyog and Operations Division Chief Aljo Quintans who were more than eager to answer queries from the media.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) also graced the forum, and was represented by Local Government Operations Officer Ednon John Aparicio. DILG reiterated its support, together with the LGU’s commitments to the Listahanan 3 implementation during the forum.

DSWD Assistant Regional Director for Administration (ARDA) Ramel F. Jamen welcomed all the participants by delivering the message on behalf of Regional Director Mita Chuchi G. Lim, who was able to visit the event during the open forum after attending prior commitments.

“Media plays an important role in informing the public of what is happening in the region, and even outside of the region. Media could easily bridge the communication gap that we have with the rest of the region. This way, we can assure every Caraganon that they have equal opportunities to the programs and services of the Department,’’ Jamen said.

DSWD sees the impact of the programs being aired and published news from media in the region. This is why the field office has been partnering with national and regional tri-media to be able to disseminate pertinent information to the public.

“We want to strengthen our engagement with our local tri-media that is why we are conducting the Stakeholders Media Forum as we want you to update on the implementation of our programs, specifically, regarding on the on-going Listahanan 3rd round household assessment, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, Unconditional Cash Transfer as well as our augmentation support to the Disaster Relief Operations in Southern Mindanao,’’ he added.

During the forum, Mr. Quintans discussed the Listahanan overview, while Regional Field Coordinator Aldie Mae Andoy reported the updates on the implementation of Listahanan 3 in the region.

Based on the report as of November 5, 2019, a total of 160,261 households were already assessed by the enumerators – 426 barangays have already been assessed. There are 115 barangays with on-going household assessment, while 770 barangays are scheduled for assessment in the following days.

“The barangays that are not yet covered will have its schedule based on the deployment plan of the Listahanan Area Supervisors that is why our households need not to worry as we will ensure that all will be assessed,’’ Andoy said.

NHTO Director Andrew Ambubuyog answer queries raised by the media-partners.

After the presentations, media partners addressed their questions, concerns, and suggestions to the panelist during the open forum which was facilitated by Regional Information Officer Marko Davey D. Reyes.

Some of the questions raised from the media are concerns on the conduct of the assessment, especially on the safety concerns in the assessment of households in GIDA and critical areas. The media also raised the issue of the timeline for the household assessment, which is supposed to run for 45 days, covering all possible households in the region.

There were also questions raised regarding the Social Pension Program implementation. Participants wanted clarification of the reassessment done to cleanse the list of beneficiaries. Pantawid Pamilya was also a hot commodity among media partners. The pending issue of the conversion of the cash grant allocation for rice subsidy to actual rice rations was asked, and the MCCT implementation was also tackled.

Manila Bulletin Chief Mike Crismundo asks the panelist about Listahanan on-going 3rd round household assessment.

Augmentation support for the quake incidents in Southern Mindanao was also tackled during the open forum. The DSWD staff present provided appropriate answers to the questions raised, leaving a good impression among the media practitioners.

Assistant Regional Director for Operations Nerisa T. Murih closed the activity, conveying the agency’s appreciation to the participating media outfits.

 “We thank everyone for being with us today so that you can help the Department in disseminating accurate and fresh data and information on what DSWD is doing for the benefit of the poor people in Caraga. We are looking forward for another discussion like this in the near future,’’ Murih said.