We want the DSWD to be the Voice of the Poor in the Duterte Gov’t -Taguiwalo

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) held its second and last of its two annual meetings, dubbed as National Management Development Conference (NMDC). This second meeting was held in Baguio City, and is attended by all the national and regional officials of the DSWD from all over the country, including the program and bureau directors. Role in fighting poverty DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo shared with members of the media the agency's thrusts and priorities for 2017 which are all in line with three points in Pres. Rodrigo Duterte's 10-point socio-economic agenda, namely: Item 7: Invest in human capital development, including health and education systems, and match skills and training to meet the demand of businesses and the private sector. Item 9: Improve the social protection programs, including the government's Conditional Cash Transfer program to protect the poor against instability and economic shocks. Item 10: Strengthen implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable poor couples to make informed choices on financial and family planning. "The DSWD will implement these points in the National Agenda through the assiduous practice of its core values of respect for human dignity, service excellence, and integrity. We reaffirm and emphasize the necessity to treat the poor and marginalized with respect and compassion. We are servants of the Filipino people, and they expect no less from us," said Sec. Taguiwalo. "The DSWD will build on the gains it has achieved in improving the level of well-being of Filipinos and reducing the vulnerabilities of the poor, marginalized, and disadvantaged sectors in the society. Its organizational plan and budget will focus on carrying out its mandate and vision by extending prompt, adequate and caring service to the Filipino people through inter-agency and multi-stakeholder collaboration," she explained. A new vision; a new mission As 2016 closes and as 2017 will soon begin, the welfare secretary also said that the agency will adopt a new vision and mission which also takes off from the Duterte government's Ambition Natin 2040, the government's 25-year long-term vision for the Philippines. "At the DSWD, we will also set a new vision: we envision all Filipinos free from hunger and poverty, have equal opportunities, enabled by a fair, just, and peaceful society. We are one with the Filipino people. Our vision is a vision for all of us. And because we have a new vision, so will we also carry a new mission: the DSWD will spearhead social welfare and development programs with government agencies, partners, and the Filipino people. The DSWD will serve as the voice of the people in the government, able to articulate their welfare and development needs, and provide substantive policy inputs for the government's achieve poverty reduction plan," said Sec. Taguiwalo. Sec. Taguiwalo said that the department's vision and the way to achieve it will be based on actual people's needs. "We will execute our social protection mandate not just through cash transfers, but with policy alternatives for the well-being of the people. We have to sharpen our saws to achieve our vision. Our organization, too, should be resilient. We will improve the welfare of the DSWD workforce. We will exercise due diligence to ensure that MOA workers and Job Order (JO) workers are given the dignity of labor. They must receive benefits due their work. I want to see emerging leaders in the DSWD. We have to propagate our expertise to the younger social welfare professionals in our department," she said. Assessing the impact on the poor The welfare head also said that under her leadership, DSWD will conduct an impact evaluation of its social welfare programs. "We will develop our research agenda to meet this end. We have been burdened with routine work that we have forgotten to measure our impact on the lives of our people. We need to see the concrete impact of the supplementary feeding, social pension, educational assistance, and other programs. What we want is to make sure that our collective efforts have meaning in the struggle against poverty of the Filipino people - that none of our time, efforts, and resources are going to waste or not being maximized. We are in the DSWD to serve the poor - we have to make sure that we are performing this duty without fail," she said.

Source: Philippine Information Agency