Cordillera Administrative Region- Despite the common hustle and bustle in the Crisis Intervention Section (CIS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development – Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD-CAR), Ate Marissa remains calm and committed.
With the mandate to handle requests for immediate assistance during crises situation, Ate Marissa can handle the situation while providing efficient and effective service to the clients of the CIS.
Best in what she does
Marissa Sabado Fortes has been in the Department for five (5) years now. As a Social Welfare Officer II under the CIS, she specializes in providing interventions to walk-in and referred clients in crisis such as financial, food, transportation, medical and burial assistance, psychosocial first aid, and other services.
To serve in the Crisis Intervention Section is a challenge. Every case is treated with utmost sensitivity and urgency. For them to provide the appropriate assistance, Social Workers conduct interviews, home/hospital/ jail visits, case counseling and case conference management. These are essential to gather collateral information for the preparation of social case study reports of clients. Aside from this, they also coordinate with local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs), and People’s Organizations (POs) and other agencies and institutions to facilitate the client’s cases. Social workers also need to accompany clients in some circumstances. On an average, the section handles around 30 to 50 clients a day.
But that does not stop Ate Marissa from providing the best service to her clients. This was affirmed when she was named as one of the two Best Social Worker Awardees during the DSWD Anniversary Celebration under the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE).
Her dedication to fulfill her commitment to her profession goes beyond the regular functions inside the Section. She willingly shares her time augmenting to other programs needing her service such as assisting during Social Pension Program pay-outs, providing technical assistance during special events, and monitoring of communities under the provision of Assistance to Communities in Need in the region.
Her experience in handling persons with disability and adept knowledge in sign language and braille reading and writing has made her an expert on the said topics. This has made her more than eligible to handle clients with special needs. Aside from being a subject matter expert on this, Ate Marissa also serves as the alternate focal of the Regional AIDS Assistance Team where she coordinates with partner agencies to serve persons living with HIV referred to the DSWD.
She has exemplified the “maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo” of the DSWD by ensuring that she is able to provide holistic service to the clients she serve.
In DSWD-CAR, Ate Marissa is one of the personnel who often receive commendations from clients visiting the office.
“I am very satisfied with the help of Ms. Marissa for her immediate response on my concern. Keep up the quick response of their clients’ needs. Thank you very much,” said one of the clients she served.
Another client said “Ma’am Marissa agyaman kami. Mabilis ang pagasikaso yo kadakami. Adaan ti kastoy sakit me sapay koma pagpalain kayo ng Panginoon. Maraming salamat sa tulong. (Thank you Ma’am Marissa. You immediately assisted us. We are sick. May God bless you. Thank you for the help.)”.
“Naranasan ko kung gaano kahirap humingi ng tulong. Minsan nakakahiya. Nakikita ko yung sarili ko na dating ako yung tinutulungan, kaya ngayong ako ang binigyan ng pagkakataon na tumulong, ginagawa ko ang makakaya ko para makatulong sa kapwa. Masarap sa pakiramdam ang makatulong dahil ginagamit tayo ng Diyos as an instrument na makatulong sa iba”, Ate Marissa shared.
Strength from Others
Aside from being a dedicated public servant, Ate Marissa is also known for her positive outlook in life. From her smile, no one may guess the challenges she had to face as a daughter, wife, and mother.
“Noong bata ako, ayaw na akong pag-aralin ng mga magulang ko dahi babae naman daw ako at mag-aasawa rin. Kaya naman noong nabigyan ako ng pagkakataon na maging scholar, I grabbed the opportunity.” Ate Marissa said. In 1998, Ate Marissa became a Registered Social Worker.
Shortly after, she became a wife and a mother. She was not exempted from the challenges of life but everything became more tolerable with her husband and children by her side. Even without her immediate family as she already lost her parents and sibling, she found comfort and love from her Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Concepcion family.
But on October 2018, Ate Marissa lost her husband due to aneurism. She was left with her three children, youngest of which is 7 years-old.
“Hinuhugot ko yung lakas ko sa mga anak ko. At acceptance is the key. Alam ko na God has a reason for everything. Siguro para maging malakas ako uli. Dahil din sa social worker ako, alam kong kaya ko kasi nakatutulong akong i-solve ang problema ng iba, sa sarili ko pa kaya”, she said.
“Malaking bagay din na nakikita kong nag-eexcel ang mga anak ko sa school. Sweet sila at very independent. Hindi ko sila prinoproblema”, Ate Marissa proudly shared.
Even with the trials, Ate Marissa remains to be fully committed to serve. “Kaya ako nag sisilbi sa client kasi utang na loob ko sa clients ang trabaho ko, kaya dapat laging pag-igihan ang pagsisilbi sakanila”, she said.
Ate Marissa is just one the Social Workers in the Department of Social Welfare and Development who have proven that no difficulty will stop them from serving with passion and excellence. She is a woman and a mother in charge of how she will make a difference in the life of her family and the community she is in. #DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva