Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo vowed to the public that the Department will continue improving its programs to ensure that the needy sectors have equal opportunity to avail of its services.
In a press briefing to report on the first 100-day accomplishments of DSWD, the Secretary emphasized that programs must also be immediately provided, especially in cases of dire and urgent need like the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) program for disaster-affected families.
Under her leadership, Sec. Taguiwalo emphasized that the DSWD is geared towards providing compassionate and genuine service to the needy, with no hint of corruption and inequality.
She said that DSWD wants all those who are in need to have equal access to the Department's programs. This is why DSWD issued Memorandum Circular No. 9 which became an issue with some members of the House of Representatives as the policy noted that referral letters can be accepted but are not part of the integral process.
The Secretary explained, "We clarified that we are merely stating that referral letters will be accepted but the DSWD social workers will still decide on the assistance to be provided based on their assessments."
Sec. Taguiwalo further cited the issue raised by one reporter regarding the clamor for ESA of some families affected by the Zamboanga siege. Apparently, there are families still in transitional shelters three years after the disaster.
The Secretary said, "Hindi dapat ganun na three years na after, naghihintay pa din sila. Ang ganitong pangangailangan ay immediate, kaya yan ang pagtuonan natin ng pansin na hindi na mangyari ulit (That should not be the case. The need of disaster victims, especially for shelter is immediate, thus, the DSWD will work on ensuring that such will not happen again)."
Given the numerous public clamor, the Department sent teams to assess and validate the programs and services provided during the Typhoon 'Yolanda' disaster operations, particularly in Regions VIII and VI.
The Secretary also said that the Department is in support of President Rodrigo Duterte's thrust of ensuring that the poor and the needy will not have difficulty in accessing the services and programs due them.
Asked if she thinks Pres. Duterte's pronouncement of independent foreign policy will affect the donations of international donors especially on disaster operations, Sec. Taguiwalo responded, "Ang message ni Pres. Duterte on Indpendent Foreign Policy is very clear. We do not want to deal with countries that treat us as mendicants, treat us as 2nd class citizens, or treat us like little brown brothers, but we are open to building a relationship based on mutual benefit and non-interference in our internal affairs. Dapat yan ang palakpakan natin. Matagal na yan natin hinihintay yang Independent foreign policy (This is what we need to recognize. This has been a long overdue independent foreign policy that we have been waiting for)."
The Secretary added, "I think we should also note that the President was the one who immediately gave the instruction for the concerned agencies to form a humanitarian mission and look into the plight of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia. He showed true public service and compassion for the OFWs who had been stranded and abused in the Middle East for over a year already."
The other notable 100 day accomplishments of DSWD under Sec. Taguiwalo's leadershipinclude: the immediate assistance to the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as part of the humanitarian mission of Government; the efficient disaster response to the victims of'Habagat' and Typhoon Ferdie; simplification of the accreditation process of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs); in-depth monitoring of the 'Yolanda' disaster operations; and the review and improvement of the core programs of DSWD.
Sec. Taguiwalo also highlighted the assistance provided by the DSWD to the Lumads, as they go back to their ancestral homes.
She added that DSWD will hold a dialogue with the Lumads and other Indigenous Peoples in the coming days as "dapat natin tulungan ang mga IPs dahil sila ang unang nagtaguyod at lumaban sa pananakop ng ating bayan. Ang mga IPs din ang pangunahing nag-aalaga ng ating kalikasan kung kaya't dapat natin silang alalayan (we must help the IPs as they were the first ones who fought for our land. Also, they are the primary caretakers of our natural resources so we should support them)."
Source: Philippine Information Agency