MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) admitted that the increase in self-rated poverty incidence in the Visayas and Mindanao, manifested in the recent Social Weather Sta¬tions (SWS) survey result, could be attributed to two disaster-related incidences in December, 2011, and February, 2012.
"The latest result of the survey conducted by SWS indicating a rise in the number of Filipino house¬holds considering themselves poor poses more of an opportunity to serve the marginalized sector and has not dampened our com-mitment as implementer of social protection programs," DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said.
She noted that the increase in self-rated poverty incidence in the Visayas and Mindanao regions can be attributed to the earthquake that hit Negros Oriental in February, and to typhoon "Sendong" in December, where thousands of families were affected and still reeling from the impact of these disasters.
"While government interventions kept pouring in, it will take time before the affected families can settle and lead normal lives," she pointed out.
Soliman also explained that more poor Filipino households, at least three million families at pres¬ent, are now benefitting from the government's poverty alleviation program dubbed Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.
"We would like to emphasize that to sustain the gains of the conditional cash transfer pro¬gram in providing cash grants, sustainable livelihood through micro-enterprise management and guaranteed employment will be given to households who will graduate from Pantawid Pamilya," Soliman said.
She also pointed out that families who want to engage in micro-enterprises will be given capital assistance of P10,000 each, while those who want to have jobs will be accessed to various agencies.
Likewise, indigent senior citizens will continue to receive their P500 monthly pension, while poor children in day-care centers will be provided with supplementary feeding of hot meals and viand.
The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …