Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

DSWD: 6,000 evacuee families return home

Around 6,000 families displaced by the armed conflict in several areas of Mindanao have returned home as the situation begins to normalize, Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral said Tuesday.

“We hope that the situation will continue to improve,” Cabral said during an interview after speaking at the 3rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) forum at the Manila Hotel, which her agency hosted, Tuesday morning.

The forum brought together social welfare departments and NGOs from Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam. There was also a representative from the politically unstable Thailand.

Cabral said the number of families in evacuation centers monitored by the Department of Social Welfare and Development had gone down from the original 18,000 to 12,000 as of last week.

Still, Cabral said: “Our relief operations continue.”

The DSWD is not only providing basic goods but also toys for children in Mindanao this Christmas. Cabral said the DSWD has partnered with two foundations to collect toys in Metro Manila.

“What we want is to see how the governments and NGOs can work together for better and faster delivery of social services in each respective country,” Cabral said of the forum’s purpose.

She said the forum aims to put together a “consortium” of neighboring countries to provide each other examples of excellent social welfare practices to learn from.

For instance, she said the country can learn from the welfare programs for the elderly of Singapore. She admitted that the Philippines has not paid much attention to taking care of the elderly.

“We can always learn from the experiences of others,” Cabral said.

However, she said the Philippines has strong programs for the protection of children and for providing livelihood support, which representatives from Indonesia and Nepal have already learned from.

“In the Philippines, the collaboration between the government and the NGOs is quite effective and close. The government recognizes that NGOs are effective social service partners,” Cabral also said.(By Edson C. Tandoc Jr.
; INQ.net)

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