The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), led by Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo, joined other high-ranking officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-states to discuss development policies geared towards strengthened regional cooperation during the 28th ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Council Meeting at Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia on October 12 to 14, 2022.
The Council meeting discussed ASCC priority areas achieved for 2022 as well as ASCC concerns and cross-pillar issues including policies to strengthen social protection, climate change adaptation, COVID-19 recovery, and reduction of inequalities in the ASEAN region. The ASCC Council Meeting also endorsed substantial outcome documents for adoption and notation of the ASEAN Leaders during the upcoming ASEAN Summits in November.
In his speech to the 33rd Senior Officials Meeting for ASCC (SOCA), Secretary Tulfo affirmed the Philippine’s support to the ASCC Blueprint 2025 to develop and strengthen policy and legal frameworks which are responsive to the changing needs of the marginalized and vulnerable sectors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We reiterate our strong advocacy and call for heightened efforts and investments for the delivery of basic services along health, education, and social welfare services taking note of the experiences and challenges during the height of the pandemic as well as in our post recovery efforts. Now more than ever, shock responsive and adaptive social protection interventions will help safeguard the progress we have made in building resilient communities and social protection systems sustainable even with the fast changing environment and shocks,” Secretary Tulfo said.
The Secretary also expressed support towards the advancement of the social work profession in the ASEAN region.
“Consistent with the mainstreaming of the ASEAN Roadmap to Implement the Hanoi Declaration on Strengthening Social Work Towards a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community, we reiterate our strong commitment and support for the advancement of social work profession, building positive perception and greater recognition on the role of Social Work and the wider social service workforce in Social Protection and allied sectors,” the Secretary continued.
He added that the Philippines looks forward to the notation of the regional guidance that will support policy makers, managers and members of the social service workforce to further strengthen the role of social work in contributing to the enhanced equitable access of the poor and the vulnerable to responsive, effective, and inclusive social welfare programs.
The ASCC is one of the three pillars of the ASEAN Community which is committed to uplift the quality of life of the citizens of ASEAN member-states through cooperative activities that are people-oriented, people-centered, environmental-friendly, and socially responsible means.