The City Convergence Action Team of Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur secures a spot in the 2020 Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) PRAISE Awards nomination. This is an annual recognition of the best performing offices/individuals at the Department, given during the DSWD Anniversary celebration.

Nagkahiusang Bayuganon” (United Bayuganon) is the tag line that would best describe the CAT of Bayugan City.

Dubbed as the “city of rice, corn, and flowers”, the City has a total population of 103,202 according to the 2015 census, with a number of 1,171 households under survival in economic sufficiency based on 2015 Social Welfare and Development Indicator (SWDI) result.

To give comparison on the SWDI results, last 2015 there are 43 households under survival level, 4,410 households under subsistence and 1,842 households with self-sufficiency level of well-being. For 2019 SWDI partial result, there are 10 households under survival, 2,038 households under subsistence and 3,426 households with self-sufficient level of well-being. This enunciates that the program is greatly helpful and the team has been performing their tasks to help the beneficiaries in augmenting their level of well-being.

This resulted to obtaining consistent level 3 (Pinakamatatag na Kalipunan) which echoes that all convergence structures are in place, convergence deliverables/outputs/mechanisms are in practice and ensured, and convergence implementation of programs and services are guaranteed efficiently and effectively. This performance was manifested through the convergence efforts of the team with the harmonious coordination with the partner stakeholders.

However, the year 2020 is no-doubt one of the most challenging times for the program implementation. Due to Covid-19 pandemic, most of the regular ways of operations especially in the field are no longer applicable. The established plans and targets have to be altered and program implementers have to shift gears in order to continue the delivery of social services needed by our partner beneficiaries.

Like most of other localities, March 2020 marked the beginning of quarantine period in the City. This made it more difficult for partner beneficiaries especially in their economic endeavors because most of the establishments were closed.

To this reason, the efforts of implementing staff focused on Social Amelioration Program (SAP) through Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) and Livelihood Assistance Grant (LAG) during the quarantine period.

The LGU imposed strict observation of health protocols and allocating funds for the provision of goods to each household. SAP was then implemented by the National in order to aid the needs of eligible households during the crisis. Non-4Ps household was given 5,000.00 cash and 3,650.00 for Pantawid Pamilya households. The SLP-DSWD also implemented LAG to aid the eligible small scale businesses affected by the pandemic through cash assistance amounting from 6,000-15,000.00 and served 306 business owners.

The LGU had been very supportive in all programs and services of DSWD. For the last three calendar years, the LGU have granted a total of Two Hundred Ninety Thousand (290,000.00) pesos for 2018 to 2019, and Three Hundred Fifteen Thousand (315,000.00) pesos for year 2020 allocated for the operation expenses of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Sustainable Livelihood Program. It has also provided services to the partner beneficiaries, to cite some:

*Bayugan City Government On-Wheels. It is an initiative of the LGU that aims to deliver the different programs and services at the barangay level especially the upland and geographically isolated areas, participated by various local and national agencies.

*Rice Subsidy. Residents from all 43 barangays were given 2 sacks of rice during the start of the Covid-19 quarantine period (April & May 2020).

*Convergence Day. A one-day activity where partner beneficiaries showcase their beauty, talents, and products through these three competition: Pantawid Got Talent, Gng. Pantawid, and Pantawid Product Display.

*Bisita Eskwela. The activity is done in school which aims also for the parents to appreciate and see the entire ground and have an ownership as the second home of their children. This also aims to strengthen the relationship and turn the weaknesses into strength between advisers, parents and students, discouraging judgmental points.

*Pantawid Na Gamit Para Magandang Kinabukasan ay Makamit. This innovation aims to provide necessary school supplies for Pantawid students-in need. Nagkahiusang Bayuganon decided to help and excited to extend help and share blessings.

*CCAC Field Visit. In this activity, the City Links invoked the CCAC partners to get involve to help barangay officials in pursuit of sufficiency of every Pantawid Pamilya household within the barangay.  The responsibilities in the pursuit to increase the level of well-being of the household were being shared.  Part of the activity was house to house spot checking of the availability of cash cards, 4Ps ID, backyard garden, emergency go kit and toilet.

*Cash Card Monitoring/Sealing. The Pantawid Pamilya Program encoutered grievances about the Cash Card issues, in which some of the beneficiaries are able to loan their grants and the Pantawid Pamilya documents used as collateral. The 4Ps beneficiaries under cash card mode of payment will have their cards sealed in a paper with the signature of the City Link in the front and grantee’s full name and barangay will be written at the back of the “mini envelope”.

*Cash Card Sealing. *Kilos-Unlad (KU). This employs case management approach with the City/ Municipal Link working directly with the families to better their level of well-being.

For the year 2020, the City Convergence Advisory Committee was able to conduct two (2) CCAC Meetings. One was on February 19, 2020, all issues and concerns raised were properly addressed without requiring for resolution formulation. The attending members mostly questioned on program policies and were answered accordingly.

Though the program implementation was challenged because of the pandemic, the CAT Bayugan remained true in their commitment to serve the constituents of the city. These are testaments of how far can a partnership reach if all the sectors are actively involved. With all these mentioned, it is beyond cavil that the LGU of Bayugan City can be worthy of PRAISE Award– Best Convergence Action Team.

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