DSWD appeals to Congress to help poor access social services

During the congressional deliberations on the 2017 budget, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said that the department will unite with members of the House of Representatives in providing much needed emergency financial services to their constituents.

She said that the DSWD will coordinate with local government units (LGUs) to determine the poverty incidence levels in the various cities and municipalities to also determine the scope of assistance the DSWD needs to provide through its protective services programs (PSP).

"What we want is to more effectively and efficiently provide services to the neediest sectors of our people. We want to remove the roadblocks that stand in the way of our processes of service delivery and to make them easier for Filipinos needing help. We ask the help of our local government officials, our lawmakers to make this possible," she said.

Sec. Taguiwalo clarified misconceptions that Memorandum Circular No. 9 aims to shut out congress from its role in delivering services to the public. She explained that Memorandum Circular No. 9 was crafted and released in following with the Supreme Court's decision declaring the unconstitutionality of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Commission on Audit's March 1, 2016 guidelines on the treatment of referrals of potential beneficiaries to programs of the national government, local government units, and government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCC).

"It seems that there was some kind of misappreciation of the DSWD's message with the issuance of MC 9. MC 9 was not aimed at relegating to the sidelines the prerogatives of the members of this body to give referral letters to their indigent constituents who seek to avail of DSWD programs nor was it intended to shut the doors of DSWD cooperation with legislators, government officials or private individuals. It was, however, aimed at democratizing access to services - one of its stated objectives being, "to promote a fair and equitable implementation of the DSWD's Protective Services Program or PSP," she said.

Sec. Taguiwalo also explained that the MC 9 was not designed to permanently ban fund releases or assistance outside DSWD offices/premises. She called the attention of lawmakers to Page 3 of MC 9 where it is expressly stated: "Special guidelines will be issued clarifying when and how payment outside DSWD offices/premises may be made."

"We have no illusion, as it may have been wrongly perceived, that we at the DSWD can do it all or that we are shutting our doors to assistance or cooperation from members of this body or from any official or group outside DSWD," she said.

"MC 9 seeks to uphold the dignity of our social workers and personnel in the implementation of the PSP. MC 9 likewise seeks to ensure adherence to the Supreme Court decision and COA Guidelines as these are all designed to eliminate corruption," she concluded.

Source: Philippine Information Agency