The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) highlighted the agency’s accomplishments for the past six years under President Benigno S. Aquino III’s administration in the areas of social protection as a priority agenda, enhancing and increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the bureaucracy, demand-driven expansion of programs, quality response in the context of the “new normal”, and sustainability of the gains
According to DSWD Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman, the Department made significant gains in prioritizing social protection programs which include Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), and the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS).
“The Department was able to harmonize the implementation of the core poverty reduction programs to more effectively reach and assist intended beneficiaries,” Sec. Soliman said.
Through its convergence strategy, the Department continues to empower and develop the capacities of program beneficiaries toward resilience benefitting 4,409,819 million Pantawid Pamilya households, some 144,895 of whom are parent-leaders; and, a total of 491,992 community volunteers.
The Social Operational Framework was likewise approved in 2012, defining social protection and its components which constitute policies and programs that seek to reduce poverty and vulnerability to risks and enhance the social status and rights of the marginalized by promoting and protecting livelihood and employment, protecting against hazards and sudden loss of income, and improving people’s capacity to manage risks.
For more effective targeting of poor households, the Listahanan database which shows who and where the poor are was launched and operationalized. In its second assessment conducted in 2015, Listahanan established that 1.5 million Pantawid Pamilya families were able to move up from poverty.
Mainstreaming and strengthening delivery mechanisms and processes through decentralization and the use of Information Technology (IT) also simplified implementation and monitoring of social protection programs.
Towards a more effective bureaucracy
Another milestone is enhancing and increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the bureaucracy through financial re-engineering to meet the growing demands, restructuring the bureaucracy, workforce development, and performance management, embedding the Matapat, Mahusay, Magiliw leadership brand, embracing IT as a management tool and strengthening integrity management.
Moreover, the status of workers was improved through the creation of 11,000 contractual positions.
Demand-driven expansion of programs
To give children beneficiaries a fighting chance for employability, the coverage of Pantawid Pamilya was extended to cover 15-18 years old in accordance with the K-12 curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd) which adds two years to basic education. Approximately two million children were included in the program.
Likewise, Pantawid Pamilya achieved its 4.4 million target coverage based on Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and created the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT), an innovation to reach out to the most vulnerable sectors including the homeless and indigenous peoples.
To help Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries and other poor families have a sustainable means of livelihood, the Self-Employment Assistance for Kaunlaran (SEA-K) revolving fund was expanded to Employment Facilitation and Microenterprise Development tracks of the Sustainable Livelihood Program.
From January 2011 to May 2016, SLP served a total of 1,279,572 families where 1,095,836 are Pantawid Pamilya families and 183,736 are non-Pantawid families assessed as poor through the Listahanan.
Of this total, 864,015 Pantawid Pamilya families were served through microenterprise development. The remaining 174,784 Pantawid Pamilya families were facilitated for employment. Micro enterprise or small–scale business enterprise include hog, chicken and goat raising; rice farming, buying and selling of charcoal, agri-tourism, and multi-grains retailing.
Meanwhile, the Kalahi-CIDSS National Community Driven Development Program (KC-NCDDP) was enhanced from an agency program to a national government program. A total of 5,098,617 households have benefited from 21,102 completed sub-projects.
Further, a greater number of senior citizens are now benefitting from the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens through lowering of the age requirement to 60.
As of May 2016, a total of 938,530 beneficiaries have already received social pension. The Department is targeting 1.3 million beneficiaries for this year.
The DSWD also strengthened and enhanced policy frameworks for vulnerable sectors through the attached agencies and sectoral programs.
Responding to the “new normal”
For more effective and efficient response to the increasing severity of disasters brought about by the “new normal” phenomenon, the Department came up with initiatives such as, clearer and documented standard operating procedures, linking of disaster response to early recovery and rehabilitation, conduct of Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA), and deployment of Quick Response Teams (QRTs) in areas affected by disasters.
Likewise, through partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (UN-WFP), the DSWD launched the Mechanized Repacking System, a modernized repacking system which speeds up the production of emergency family food packs. The system is now operational at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City and the recently-inaugurated Visayas Disaster Response Center in Mandaue City, Cebu.
The Assistance for Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) has assisted 1,570,390 clients with P4.72 billion disbursed for medical, educational, and other financial assistance to help beneficiaries cope with their emergency needs.
Sustaining the gains
The Department has been actively lobbying the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) legislation to ensure that the gains achieved by Pantawid Pamilya will continue to be pursued.
“We are already seeing these gains with the first batch of CCT and Expanded Student’s Grant-in-Aid Program (ESGP-PA) graduates. In 2015, a total of 13,469 out of 333,673 Pantawid Pamilya high school students graduated with honors, while 93 out of 3,138 ESGP-PA scholars reaped academic excellence awards including one magna cum laude and 59 cum laudes,” Sec. Soliman stated.
Other initiatives include mainstreaming the community-driven development (CDD) strategy in local governance, programming for the 1.5 million near-poor as assessed by Listahanan, partnerships with civil society organizations (CSOs) through the Bantay, Tulay, Gabay, Kaagapay Framework, and strengthening of the accreditation guidelines.
The Department is also pursuing data warehousing through the National Household Targeting Office (NHTO) and Information Communication and Technology Management Service (ICTMS).
“This will enable program implementers to efficiently monitor the progress made by beneficiaries,” the Secretary added.
Overall, Sec. Soliman is confident that all these gains achieved by the Department under the leadership of Pres. Aquino will serve as a strong foundation that can be used as leverage of the incoming administration to meet the continuing challenge of breaking inter-generational poverty and improve the rigor and vigor of the bureaucracy.