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'TUNAY NA MALASAKIT' | Taguiwalo lays down tasks for DSWD

DSWD Sec. Judy Taguiwalo
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said on Thursday she intends to make the Department of Social Welfare and Development an agency with “tunay na malasakit sa mahihirap (genuine compassion for the poor).”

The activist and University of the Philippines professor was one of two nominees of the National Democratic Front appointed to the Cabinet by President Rodrigo Duterte, who is bent on resuming formal peace negotiations with communist rebels. The other is long-time peasant leader Rafael Mariano, who is now Secretary of Agrarian Reform.

In a statement, Taguiwalo laid down five specific tasks for the DSWD:

  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.
  5. Develop and strengthen among DSWD personnel an ethic of service to the people which has no room for corruption.

In her first hundred days in office, Taguiwalo said she and members of her transition team, “with the help of independent parties,” will conduct a review of the DSWD’s programs and policies, particularly the management and implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme, the Sustainable Livelihood Program, the Kalahi-CIDSS program, the disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda, and the centers run directly by the DSWD. 

She also intends to “address the issue of widespread contractualization in the department” and consult DSWD regional offices and the agency’s public and private sector partners on the situation of the agency “and its capabilities of reaching out to the poorest sectors of society.”

“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 said.

Taguiwalo, who was sworn in by Duterte with other Cabinet members, will formally take over the DSWD on Friday.