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DSWD holds national consultation with stakeholders for 2018 budget preparation

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – As part of of its efforts to uphold transparent and efficient public service, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conducted a consultation dialogue last week with members of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and representatives of media groups on the Department’s 2018 proposed budget.
The consultation dialogue is in line with the Department’s Open Budget Policy adopted by the Philippine Government starting in 2011 and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s 10-Point Socio-Economic Agenda which stipulates continued and maintained current economic and fiscal policies.
DSWD Undersecretary Emmanuel A. Leyco explained that the consultation is in support to President Duterte’s “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” brand of public service.
Addressing the participants, Usec. Leyco said, “Kayo ang tinig ng masang Pilipino at ang tungkulin namin ay hindi lamang makinig sa inyo kundi ang tiyakin na ang Kagawaran ay naglilingkod sa mamamayan (You are the voice of the Filipino people and it is our duty, not only to listen, but to ensure that DSWD truly serves the public),” Usec. Leyco said.
Through consultation dialogues, DSWD and CSOs are able to discuss and put together mechanisms to ensure that the programs of the Department are indeed “maagap at mapagkalinga sa mamamayan.” The DSWD is able to receive feedback from the CSOs about its weaknesses and failings when it comes to service delivery so it can improve its system.
Usec. Leyco stressed, “Ang mensahe ni DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo ay pagtulungan natin upang ang Kagawaran ay makapagbigay ng serbisyong walang puwang sa katiwalian. Pagtulungan ng DSWD at CSOs na abutin ang mga mahihirap at alamin kung ano ang kanilang tunay na kalagayan at tulungan silang tumayo sa sarili nilang paa (Help us so that the DSWD can continue providing service which has no room for corruption. Let us help one another reach out to the poor, know their real situation, and assist them to stand on their own).”
On the other hand, Director Rhodora Alday of the Policy Development and Planning Bureau, the organizer of the consultation dialogue, affirmed the Department’s mandate to provide genuine public service which is further echoed in its new vision to ensure that “all Filipinos free from hunger and poverty, have equal access to opportunities, enabled by a fair, just and peaceful society.”
Dir. Alday said that this vision can only be achieved through and with the stakeholders’ help in ensuring that the programs of the Department are truly responsive to the needs of the poor and marginalized sectors and are accessible.
DSWD Finance Director Deseree Fajardo presented the proposed 2018 budget of the Department which amounted to P131,356,133,000.
The bulk or P123,412,067,000 of the proposed budget is for the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) or the budget item for the implementation of programs and services. The remaining amount is intended for the logistical support which includes personnel services, capital outlay, and other financial expenses.
Of the total proposed MOOE , P77.5B is for the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, P17.9B for the Social Pension Program, P6.8B for the Sustainable Livelihood Program; P3.4B for the Supplementary Feeding Program; and P2.4B for assistance to victims of disasters and natural calamities.
The remaining P15.4B is for the other social protection programs of the Department like the Protective Services for Individuals and Families in Especially Difficult Circumstances, Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons, Comprehensive Project for Street Children/Street Families/Indigenous Peoples, among others, and services for vulnerable sectors like Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly.
Dir. Fajardo shared that no proposed budget was indicated for the anti-drug campaign of the Department as the fund will come from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), specifically the Pillar III of the National Drug Rehabilitation Program or the Aftercare, Transformation and the Reintegration of Drug Surrenderers.
The participants agreed to the proposed budget of the Department, and recommended that some items be increased like the budget for the assistance to families affected by disaster, from P2B to P4B in consideration of “the new normal.”
Representatives of various CSOs also commented that the budget for Persons with Disabilities and the Older Persons sectors should be separated and not lumped together as each sector has specific needs.
The assistance for families caring for members with special needs was also identified as an area of concern. The CSOs said that poor families with PWD members have also become more vulnerable.
The improvement of centers was also cited as one of the activities which the Department can look into, especially in the development of the NVRC and the AVRC.
In closing, Dir. Alday expressed the Department’s gratitude for the CSOs participation and assured them that DSWD will consider all recommendations, but will also work within the parameters set by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
She stressed, however, that DSWD is truly committed to ensuring that the poor and the vulnerable are empowered to improve their quality of life and such commitment will be translated into the proposed budget.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.