As she is sworn in by new President Rodrigo Duterte as the incoming Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), erstwhile University of the Philippines professor Judy M. Taguiwalo said that her administration in the government’s sixth biggest agency in terms of its cut in the budgetary pie will focus on Tunay na Malasakit sa Mahihirap (genuine compassion for the poor) by extending prompt, adequate and compassionate service to the Filipino people, especially the poor.
This is in line with President Duterte’s pledge that his administration is in the service of the people, especially the poor.
Sec. Taguiwalo explained that specifically, the DSWD will: 1) Continue to extend financial assistance as well as other forms of immediate assistance and relief to the marginalized and vulnerable sectors of the country. These will be complemented with initiatives to enable the poor to stand on their own feet through jobs, asset reforms and other economic initiatives that will be done in coordination with other government agencies; 2) Ensure the timely and adequate response to emergencies and calamities and in safeguarding the donations and other relief goods and materials entrusted to the department for distribution to the communities; 3) Improve and strengthen the capabilities and facilities of DSWD-run centers and institutions responsible for addressing the immediate needs of the poor and the special sectors of senior citizens, persons with disabilities, children and youth and women, among others; 4) Exert full efforts to address and remedy the impact of military operations on the livelihood, safety, security, schools and welfare of farmers and lumad; provide for the needs of evacuees; and most importantly help displaced lumad return to their ancestral lands; and 5) Develop and strengthen among DSWD personnel an ethic of service to the people which has no room for corruption.
Sec. Taguiwalo emphasized that in her first 100 days of office, she and the members of her transition team with the help of independent parties conduct a review of the DSWD’s programs and policies.
The focus of the review will be in areas of management and implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme; the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP); the Kalahi-CIDSS program; the disaster relief efforts made to address the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda which hit the country in 2013; and the centers run directly by the DSWD.
Sec. Taguiwalo also said that she is also determined to address the issue of widespread contractualization in the department.
To get a more concrete picture of the situation of the DSWD as an institution and its capabilities of reaching out to the poorest sectors of society, Sec. Taguiwalo will also conduct consultations with the DSWD’s 18 regional offices, as well as the department’s partners in the public and private sectors.
“We will work towards a more transparent DSWD, and a department that will be able to maximize its resources to assist the poor not only survive but to stand on their own feet as productive members of the community,” she concluded.
Sec. Taguiwalo attended the turnover ceremony at the DSWD on July 1.