MANILA (DWDD) – “The immediate passage of social welfare and development (SWD) related bills will surely benefit the needy, marginalized, and vulnerable sectors. This is why we appeal for the support of our legislators to prioritize the review and enactment of the seven bills that we are proposing.”
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo made this appeal as she emphasized that these legislative proposals are important and that their passage will contribute to the Department’s performance of its mandate.
The bills are the following: Social Welfare and Development Agencies (SWDAs); Public Solicitation; Amendments to the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000; Elderly Abuse; Establishment of the National Council for the Welfare of Senior Citizens; Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children; and the Magna Carta of Day Care Workers.
Setting standards in the implementation of programs and services
The SWDAs bill is in support to the Department’s core mandate of setting standards for the implementation of social welfare and development programs.
Primarily, the SWDAs Bill seeks to strengthen DSWD’s regulatory functions; set standards; provide benefit and incentives; and, monitor public and private individuals, agencies and organizations engaged in social welfare and development activities.
It provides mechanisms for sanctions in case of non-compliance with standards and procedures set by the DSWD. It also grants benefits and incentives to registered, licensed, and accredited SWDAs in recognition of their importance and invaluable contribution in social welfare and development
According to Sec. Taguiwalo, “DSWD cannot do the work alone, it needs to replicate itself and its services through social welfare and development agencies while ensuring that the services provided by partners are of the same quality, if not better. This bill sets the standards for the implementation of services by our partner non-government organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) which are in the field of social welfare and development.”
“The more agencies working to provide programs and services, the better. However, DSWD has the responsibility of ensuring that the services are in accordance to the quality standards set by the law,” she added.
Protecting the public from deceitful solicitations
The passage of the other draft bills are also necessary to the DSWD’s response to other social concerns such as the Public Solicitation Bill.
This bill aims to protect the general public from unscrupulous solicitation by strengthening the system for granting permits for charitable and welfare purposes. The bill also provides the modes of solicitation and prescribes penalties for solicitation without permit.
In effect, the bill will help protect the Filipino public from falling prey to fake solicitations and resource generation efforts.
Solo parents to get the help they need
On the other hand, the bill amending the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2009 acknowledges the issue that solo parent- headed families have valid concerns which need to be addressed.
A study conducted by the Department of Health (DOH) together with the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health (UP-NIH) in 2007 placed the estimated number of solo parents at an alarming 14 million Filipinos out of the 94 million population at that time. This figure translates to about 30.5% growth rate for the solo parent sector during these years.
Based on this figure, the projected number of solo parents in the Philippines by the end of 2017 could be around 20 million. This would mean that solo parents represent one of the biggest marginalized sectors of our society today.
According to Sec. Taguiwalo, these alarming estimates clearly showed the need to amend RA 8972, which has been enacted into law 16 years ago to help solo parents cope with their situation.
Protection for the elderly
In the past year, there were several reports on older persons being abandoned or abused by their own families.
“We hear of senior citizens being beaten by their guardians. Some sickly elders were allegedly even tied to posts or locked in rooms. There is an urgent need to ensure the protection of the older persons. The Elderly Abuse Bill as well as the establishment of the Council which will oversee their welfare will address this and other concerns connected to the welfare of our senior citizens,” Sec. Taguiwalo explained.
The bill defines acts committed against senior citizens, imposes higher penalties for its commission and requires the development of strategies to prevent or reduce abuses.
Children need protection, too
The remaining bills advocated by the DSWD benefit the children’s sector by safeguarding the rights of children to grow up in a safe environment.
DSWD is lobbying for the passage of the Magna Carta for Day Care Workers.
“Our fellow public servants in the day care service get the recognition for their contribution under the Magna Carta of Day Care Workers. Right now, day care workers get so little compensation for their work of teaching and minding our young children. It is fitting that we look into their rights, benefits, and privileges to help them in their efforts to perform their task of taking care of our children,” Sec. Taguiwalo said.
The Magna Carta provides training, education, career enhancement , and security of tenure for day care workers.
DSWD is also reiterating its support for the bill on Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children. Corporal punishment of children in all settings is prohibited under this bill.
“Children must not be subjected to punishment which tend to affect their development. We must not expose children to situations where violence is used as a tool to solve issues,” Sec. Taguiwalo said.
The bill emphasizes the role of education in promoting the positive and non-violent discipline of children
“Legislations are important to achieve corrupt-free and effective governance. These SWD bills encompass our message of providingpatas at may malasakit na serbisyong walang bahid ng katiwalian (fair and compassionate service without any trace of corruption). I hope our lawmakers include these seven bills in their priority list,” Sec. Taguiwalo said. DSWD SMS / MCAG