2020 'most challenging year' by far, govt ramps up social protection -DSWD chief

Philippine News Agency photo

CALOOCAN CITY, Jan. 2 (PIA) -- Looking back in 2020, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista said the Department has ramped up its programs and services during the "most challenging year” in the field of social protection.

Bautista recapped the events, as well as the corresponding assistance, that the DSWD have provided for the Filipino families last year.

“There have been subsidy programs created to provide financial interventions to sectors most affected by the public health crisis but we were also able to continue the existing programs being implemented by the agency,” he said.

The government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP), which was delivered in two tranches, has been rolled out to more than 17 million families costing P99 billion excluding administrative operations.

For the second tranche, at least 14.4 million family beneficiaries received P 86.5 billion in aid.

SAP is among the most salient features of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

The Department of Budget and Management has allocated the DSWD with P199.75 billion to finance the cash transfer program which granted P5,000 to P8,000 monthly cash subsidy to low-income families for two months, depending on the minimum wage in the region.

The subsidies provide marginalized sectors of society the means to afford basic needs during the pandemic.

For the Bayanihan to Recover as One or Bayanihan 2, the current cash subsidy is still ongoing.

As of Dec. 24, more than P157.5 million has been distributed to 29,653 family beneficiaries residing under areas in granular lockdown.

Around P1.4 billion was also rolled out to 204,409 additional beneficiaries of the Bayanihan 2 emergency subsidy program.

Specialized programs

As part of the recovery efforts of the agency for the families whose livelihood were heavily affected by the crisis, the livelihood assistance grant (LAG) through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) was strengthened.

Based on recent data in October, around P1.4 billion were given to 7,778 family beneficiaries through the SLP.

“This includes the more than 800 former rebels who returned to the folds of the law. They were given basic services under the Executive Order 70,” Bautista said.

The long-term poverty reduction program, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), has supported 4.3 million active members amounting to P49 billion.

Around 216,000 qualified recipients also benefited from the P1.9 billion worth of aid channeled through the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS).

KALAHI CIDSS generated 749 sub-projects for this year, Bautista said.

“This includes putting up community water systems, school buildings, Day Care Centers, Barangay Health Stations, electrifications, housings, bridges, Health Centers, multi-purpose facilities, small-scale irrigation, sanitation of facilities, among others,” he said.

For their Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS), at least 808,515 beneficiaries were catered.

Their Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) has nourished some 1.7 million child beneficiaries utilizing some P2.8 billion worth of aid.

From January to December, three million indigent senior citizens received cash aid worth P9 billion to help finance their medical bills under the Social Pension program.

About 886 centenarians were also given P100,000 cash gifts on their birthdays this year.

Meanwhile, for the alternative family program, DSWD said there have been 234 children who were placed in domestic adoption while 167 children found families through intercountry adoption.

Disaster response

While the country is still contending with the impacts of Covid-19 restrictions, the public health crisis is not the only unforeseen event to take place this year.

The country also faced calamities in the early part of the year with the eruption of Taal Volcano and late this year with a series of typhoons battering communities.

During Taal Volcano’s eruption, DSWD rolled out P24.5 million cash aid to local government units affected by the natural calamity.

The agency spent P1.2 billion from its disaster response utilization fund.

Almost 900,000 went for their family food packs while P2 million was allocated for various non-food items.

After the onslaught of Typhoon Quinta, DSWD assisted typhoon victims with more than P6.4 million worth of aid covering temporary shelter, food, and other necessities.

Some P74.1 million in total were given for the victims of Typhoon Rolly, while P159.8 million were allotted for victims of Typhoon Ulysses.

The agency also allocated some P123 million for the cash-for-work program as part of their recovery programs for the affected families.

Accredited social workers, orgs

DSWD has also simultaneously processed the registration of 101 social welfare agencies, 145 auxiliary social welfare and development agencies, 51 social work agencies, and 396 civil society organizations.

Some 43 social workers are now managing court cases, 264 have been qualified to handle pre-marriage counseling, and 3,212 are now child development workers. (PIA NCR)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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