The House committee on appropriations on Tuesday resumed its scrutiny of the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), amounting to P137.8 billion.
DSWD officials led by Officer-in-Charge and Undersecretary Emmanuel Leyco took turns in answering queries from lawmakers, who are expected to begin plenary discussions on the 2018 national budget next week.
Committee vice chairman Rep. Oscar Richard Garin Jr. (1st District, Iloilo), who presided the hearing, said the pre-plenary session is conducted to discuss issues and concerns that were not covered during the first hearing on the DSWD budget, to ensure the agency's allocation is responsive to the needs of the people.
We re-assure the agency of our full support to its programs and we hope this will bring to fruition the President's vision of bringing a lasting change, Garin said.
Leyco said the DSWD's proposed budget for 2018 contains programs and projects which seek to address the needs of the poor Filipinos.
Ang panukalang tustusin na ito ay naglalaman ng mga programa at proyekto na nilalayon naming makatulong upang tumugon sa mga pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan na kasalukuyan ay nalulunod sa kahirapan, Leyco said.
Ang mga proyektong ito ay naglalayon na magbigay ng maagap na tulong at puhunan upang makatawid ang ating mga kababayan sa mas maunlad na pamumuhay, Leyco further said.
Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan) thanked the DSWD for its continuing services, especially in his district, and reiterated his support for the agency's initiatives and its proposed 2018 budget.
He urged the agency to promote its program of legal adoption as a means of providing compassion and love to abandoned and neglected children, which, Bataoil said, is one of his advocacies, being an adoptive parent himself.
Rep. Makmod Mending Jr. (Party-list, AMIN) also thanked the agency for its efficient and effective initiatives in Marawi City, which helped ease the sufferings of many people, especially the evacuees.
He raised the issue on the juvenile delinquents, asking if the DSWD has enough personnel to address the needs of youth offenders.
Leyco said the agency increased the allocation for the juvenile justice system in its proposed 2018 budget to address concerns regarding youth delinquents.
Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte (2nd District, Camarines Sur) raised concerns regarding the DSWD's disbursement of its calamity fund.
He stressed that the basic premise of emergency is quick response and appealed to the DSWD to trust the local government units (LGUs), which are competent and efficient in utilizing their disaster relief fund.
Rep. Henry Oaminal (2nd District, Misamis Occidental) informed the DSWD officials that the House sub-committee on correctional reforms, of which he is the chairman, polished the strengthening of the juvenile justice law because of the inputs provided by the DSWD.
He said that the agency's insights helped the sub-committee in coming up with a substitute bill that is acceptable to all stakeholders.
Oaminal asked the DSWD to provide guidance regarding the department's program called Assistance to Individuals on Crisis Situations.
Rep. Joey Salceda (2nd District, Albay), senior committee vice chairman, asked if the DSWD is doing enough to reduce poverty, saying that its primary mandate is to take care of the poor and that it is the reason for the agency's existence.
Leyco replied that he is not satisfied with the agency's intervention in reducing poverty.
Salceda also questioned the DSWD's implementation of its programs and asked for reports on the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program or 4Ps, social pension for indigent citizens, supplementary feeding program, among others.
Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo (2nd District, Lanao del Norte) queried the DSWD on the effectiveness of its programs in reducing poverty, such as the 4Ps.
He urged the department to ensure that the assistance provided to the poor families and individuals really reach its intended beneficiaries.
Source: House of Representatives