As the national government agency mandated to serve, protect and empower vulnerable sectors of society, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to forge strong partnerships with partners, stakeholders, and intermediaries.
As part of its current thrusts and priorities to strengthen its steerer or enabler role, the DSWD exerts efforts to develop model social protection programs, provide adequate technical assistance and resource augmentation particularly to local social welfare development offices (LSWDOs) to strengthen their capacities to deliver coordinated social protection and social welfare service at their respective localities.
The Department, in particular, continues to pursue a stronger relationship with the local government units (LGUs) since they are the front liners in delivering basic social services to their constituents.
Roles, limitations of LGUs
Based on the devolution of services provided for in the Local Government Code, LGUs are mandated to provide efficient social welfare services within their territorial jurisdictions which include programs and projects on child and youth welfare, family and community welfare, women’s welfare, welfare of the elderly and disabled persons; community-based rehabilitation programs for vagrants, beggars, street children, scavengers, juvenile delinquents, and victims of drug abuse; livelihood and other pro-poor projects; nutrition services; and family planning services.
Thus, LGUs are expected to take the lead in the efficient provision of social welfare services, while the DSWD Central and Field Offices are ready to provide technical assistance and resource augmentation to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of local programs and services.
However, not all LGUs, especially those in the remote and far-flung areas, have the necessary resources such as budget, manpower, and facilities to adequately provide these programs and services. As a result, some vulnerable sectors, like solo parents, for instance, feel left out and turn to the DSWD Central and its FOs in ventilating their concerns and grievances.
Another challenge is the public perception that DSWD National and LSWDOs are one and the same, hence, public complaints on poor or lack of programs and services are being directed to the national and/or regional offices. This is particularly true during disaster operations.
DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo explained, “LGUs are the first responders in the event of any man-made and/or natural disaster since they have been designed by law with the primary responsibility for disaster response. They have the autonomy to conduct social assistance activities suitable to the needs of their constituents.”
“Ang Departamento naman ay laging handa na magbigay ng karagdagang tulong at ayuda sa mga lokal na pamahalaang nasalanta ng kalamidad, katulad ng ginagawa namin sa mga apektado ng armadong tunggalian sa Marawi at lindol sa Leyte(The Department, on the other hand, is always ready to provide additional assistance to LGUs devastated by calamities, like what we have been doing to the families affected by the armed conflict in Marawi, and the earthquake in Leyte),” she added.
Sec. Taguiwalo also said that there should be a clear delineation of the respective roles of the national and local governments.
For instance, camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) is a major task of the DSWD, together with the response cluster in the Government Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) where the Department leads and ensures the following:
- Availability of safe, secure and accessible evacuation centers
- Establishment of sex and age-disaggregated data
- All internally displaced persons (IDPs) are provided with basic humanitarian needs, such as but not limited to food with enough and appropriate nutritional values, potable water, clothing, family household items, hygiene and protection kits.
The LGUs, in turn, are required to come-up with disaster preparedness measures, such as pre-emptive evacuation and information dissemination.
Recognition for exemplary LGUs
To encourage them to effectively implement SWD programs, the DSWD bestows the Gawad Paglilingkod sa Sambayanan (GAPAS) Award to model LGUs. The yearly award integrated under the Pagkilala sa Natatanging Kontribusyon sa Bayan (PaNata Ko sa Bayan)’ Awards is given during the Department’s Anniversary celebration.
To qualify, the LGU must have been implementing SWD programs and services for the past three-years; able to provide counterparts (cash or in-kind), required or not, for the implementation of the programs and services; with resolutions/ordinances passed in support of and for institutionalization of the programs and services; must have incorporated in the LGUs Annual Work and Financial Plan the project implementation; and, must have documented best practice on the program implementation.
“Sinisikap ng Departamento na bigyan ng parangal ang mga lokal na pamahalaan na maituturing na modelo sa pagkakaloob ng mga social welfare development programs sa kanilang nasasakupan. Inaasahan nating magisilbi etong insentibo upang higit pa nilang pag-igihin ang pagkakaloob ng mga programa at serbisyo (The Department strives to give recognition to LGUs which are considered as models in implementing SWD programs to their constituents. We are hoping this will serve as an incentive so they will be encouraged to improve their own systems of delivery of such programs and services),” Sec. Taguiwalo ended.