Empowering Grassroots towards Strengthening Resilience

September 13, 2021 Monday


MANILA, 13 September 2021 —  The 61st episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Change Pathways” featured the stories and narratives of people strengthening their efforts and implementing risk resiliency programs to address the impacts of climate change in their communities through the Cash-for-Work project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
 
The online conversation conceptualized and hosted by three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda, with co-host Atty. Ipat Luna, was joined by guests, Asec. Rudy Encabo of DSWD; Jenny Gandaloza Ontok, President of the Muslim Women’s Rural Worker Association in Matalam, North Cotabato; Ma. Victoria P. Morelos, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) from Bulakan, Bulacan; Jayson Salenga, Site Manager of Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetlands; and Jowey C. Celzo, MSWDO from Anda, Pangasinan.
 
Asec. Encabo introduced the DSWD’s Risk Resiliency Program through the Cash-for-Work modality, which aims to increase the adaptive capacities of the poor families in disaster-prone and affected communities.
 
"Ang Risk Resiliency Program through Cash-for-Work ang pangunahing programa ng DSWD na tumutugon sa pangangalaga at pagpapahalaga sa kalikasan. Kabilang sa mga gawaing kaakibat ng programang Cash-for-Work ay ang food farming, reforestation, mangrove rehabilitation, at iba pa. Hindi lamang ito isang programa na naglalayon na mabigyan ng pansamantalang trabaho o pagkakakitaan ang mga pamilya sa mga vulnerable na lugar, bagkus, ang mga programa at proyektong ito ay nagtuturo at nagsasanay kung paano makapaghahanda at makaiiwas ang mga komunidad sa sakuna na dulot ng pagbabago ng klima," said Asec. Encabo.
 
The featured communities shared how short-term income-generating interventions, through the Cash-for-Work project, has opened opportunities for them to be more resilient to the adverse effects of disasters and climate change through planting trees, mangrove reforestation, establishment of community food gardens, and exploring sustainable livelihood opportunities.
 
“Lumalaki at lumalawak po ang Muslim Women’s Rural Worker Association. Nagtatanim po kami ng turmeric, gabi, at iba’t ibang gulay at prutas. Pina-process po namin ito at ibinebenta ‘yung mga produkto sa market,” said Ontok.
 
“Ang amin pong proyekto ay ang Katuray Tree Planting. Base sa pag-aaral, ang Bulacan ay mataas na ang level ng chloride. Ito ay nakukuha sa pagtatapon ng mga plastic, mga likidong lumalabas sa mga pabrika, heavy metals, at iba pang chemicals. Ang layunin ng aming proyekto ay mapangalagaan ang kapaligiran at mapanatiling diverse sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng natural na pamamaraan. Ang pagtatanim ng puno at halaman na may kakayahang mag-absorb ng contaminant tulad ng heavy metal sa lupa at sa tubig ay tinatawag na phytoremediation. Ang puno ng Katuray ay isang katutubong puno o native tree sa Pilipinas. Napag-aralan at napatunayan na ang punong ito ay may potensyal sa phytoextraction. Kaya ang punong ito ang ginagamit sa rehabilitasyon at pagsasaayos ng mga nasira, polluted, o contaminated na lupa, gaya ng sa Bulacan,” said Morelos.
 
“Ang bayan ng Sasmuan ay located sa Manila Bay area, at base sa ating hazard map ay 897 hectares ng coastal barangays ang prone sa storm surge. Ang isa pang kinahaharap namin, dahil sa pagbabago ng klima, ay ang subsidence o pagbaba ng kalupaan. Dahil dito ay nabuo ang mga programa at inisyatibo para matugunan ang mga sakuna. Mayroon tayong IEC campaign, mangrove assessment, at mangrove planting,” said Salenga.
 
“Ang bayan ng Anda ang nag-iisang bayang isla ng Pangasinan. Dahil sa Cash-for-Work, lalo naming nabigyan ng pagpapahalaga ang pangangalaga sa kalikasan – through coastal cleanups, mangrove planting, tree planting, at establishment ng aming vegetable gardens. Nagkaroon din kami ng karagdagang kaalaman, lalo na ang mga beneficiaries, tungkol sa climate change issues. Higit sa lahat, nagkaroon ng dagdag na kita ang mga workers,” said Celzo.
 
Legarda vows to further help and support the communities implementing the Cash-for-Work modality, which, aside from an additional source of livelihood and a measure to adapt to the impacts climate change, can also improve mental health especially of those people affected by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
"Itong Cash-for-Work program ay dapat i-institutionalize natin, so we grow our own food. At ang pagtatanim at pagiging plantita ay hindi lang para sa kalusugan natin, sa pagkain, kung hindi maging sa emotional at mental health din natin," Legarda emphasized.
 
As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, "Stories for a Better Normal" aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.
 
This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation.