Good hearts

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - February 11, 2014 - 12:00am

Here’s a good story to warm hearts and lives. The United Nations Children’s Fund and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have  signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will give cash grants amounting to $6 million to vulnerable households affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

This is an  emergency measure to provide quick relief to affected children and their families. The  cash grant is part of UNICEF’s long-term strategy to help the government’s social protection program.  In communication sent us,  UNICEF’s analysis of the situation of children in the Philippines reveals that children suffer multiple deprivations arising from three major causes: urbanization, armed conflict and natural disasters. By providing this emergency intervention after a disaster, vulnerable households are able to rebuild their lives quicker, while the government develops capacities and adjusts its current cash transfer program to include newly affected households.

Angela Kearney, UNICEF Philippines representative, says, “By making this cash grant available to the most disadvantaged, we intend the families to feel empowered and take charge of their own healing and recovery. Mothers with young children will be able to provide for their nutritional needs, and families who are hosting separated children are provided with an added means to support them.”

Emergency cash transfers, says Kearney,  have proven effective in helping families recover immediately after a disaster, as evidenced by the experience during in Zambia and Somalia. Experience has shown that in any emergency, households spontaneously use the money received to cover their basic needs.

Around 10,000 families from Tacloban City and municipalities along the upland areas will be selected. Eligibility criteria will include the most vulnerable sectors including pregnant and lactating women (PLWs), children suffering from moderate/ severe acute malnutrition (MAM/SAM) or at risk of malnutrition, persons with disabilities (PWDs), persons with chronic illness, elderly persons, single female-headed households, child-headed households and households hosting separated children. Each target beneficiary-household will receive $100 or around P4,300 every month for a period of six months.

 â€œMany families were affected by the recent calamities and while we are still on our long way to recovery, we make sure that the most disadvantaged are not left out. Social protection includes everyone and this partnership with UNICEF will ensure that this recovery covers them,” said DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman.

 The cash transfer will be implemented by international NGO Action Contre la Faim (ACF) which has demonstrated expertise on cash distribution, and will involve community consultations, coordination with humanitarian organizations, monitoring and post-survey. Those enrolled in this program will be included in the Family Development Sessions (FDS) and will be evaluated for possible inclusion in the list of regular recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of DSWD.

 UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of children. It partners with organizations to fulfill that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children.

Visit  UNICEF Philippines websiteFacebook and Twitter.

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 I received a lot of emails praising my good words about the Upsilon Sigma Phi Fraternity of the University of the Philippines which held “Arangkada 2014,” a global reunion in Manila last week. I mentioned certain actuations of the good brods, and forgot  a source of wonderment, i.e., every time the guys meet at a gathering, they “dump” their wives or girlfriends in a corner, and they gravitate to their barkada for practically a whole evening of fun and frolic. When it’s time to go, they remember their dates, dance with them a couple of times, then head for home.

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“Arangkada 2014” sa Manila  was a partnership between the Upsilon and the Sigma Delta Phi Alumna Association (SDPAA)  whose president is Eliza Beth Bacungan-Macaibay. Beth  entered the sorority in 1982. She says there are presently three chapters of the SDPAA — one in Los Banos, and the others in  Washington D.C. and California —  although there are sorority sisters around the world. Among the famous Sigma Deltans   are the late Betty Go-Belmonte, one of the founders of the Philippine STAR, Joy Virata, Winnie Monsod, Celia Diaz-Laurel, Nora Daza, Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Charito Planas, Ces Drilon and Frances Rivera (a two-time Emmy award winner).

The sorority’s next project is on February 15, at 3 p.m. at the U.P. Executive House in Diliman, Quezon City. It will be a Zumba session led by US-based certified Zumba instructor, Lynn Francisco ‘82. An auction will be held, with  proceeds going to the U.P. Tacloban students displaced by typhoon Yolanda. The sorority is partnering with the UPAA board in staging “Kalinga lay Isko at Iska” for these students.

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The Jack Jones dinner-concert at the Manila Hotel Tent will be on Valentine’s Day, February 14, not February 15, as I erroneously stated in a previous column. Blame it on senior moments!  The evening will be fun, as we wine and dine and listen to romantic ballads by the legendary musical artist. The Manila Hotel concert is sponsored by Newsmakers, which is headed by the glamorous and lovable impressario Elizabeth Sison Tagle, whose son, by the way, is George Tagle, originator of The Angelos, an award-winning performing group which has been touring Asian and US cities. If you want to read about Jack Jones’ life and loves, refer to last Sunday’s  Philippine STAR article by Ricky Lo, who interviewed Jack in person and on the telephone.   

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Talking about Valentine’s Day celebrations, I’m reminded of the differences between  yesterday’s and today’s courtship practices. In our mother’s and our time, the boys serenaded, bringing guitars and singing love songs as the girls peered through slits of closed windows. The boys borrowed our books and inserted love letters between the pages; the girls dropped handkerchiefs on the ground; double dates were arranged. Love letters (sometimes copied from books) were written by hand, social telegrams sent.  Scented handkerchiefs and leaves and flower petals were  inserted in mailed letters.  Then as communication modes progressed, the telephone has been used. Boys asked friends for the numbers of girls they took a liking for — and that caused a lot of headaches for parents who had to pay for long-distance bills used by their  lovestruck youngsters.

 At midnight, the phone would ring, and a voice at the end of the line would ask, “Pwede magpone pal?” It’s likely the voice of bored security guards. And, of course, we have house helpers with the cell phone pasted to their ears, agreeing to meet and have affairs with guys they meet on the cellphone for the first time.

The courting has moved to the Internet — to dating sites and through kilometric-e-mails. Office executives, secretaries, students and maids meet potential lovers through any kind of social media — Facebook and Twitter, and what have you.

Whatever the mode, what is sure is that the courting goes on. Roses are sent, missives exchanged. Yes, the world will always welcome lovers, as the song goes.

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks! See you at the Jack Jones show at the Manila Hotel.

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