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DSWD chief reports gains to PBBM during 73rd Founding Anniversary; PBBM lauds agency officials, personnel

Rex Gatchalian
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian outlines the major accomplishments of the Department in 2023 during its 73rd Founding Anniversary celebration on Friday (January 12) at the Central Office in Quezon City.

Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary (DSWD) Rex Gatchalian reported the gains of the frontline agency for 2023 in his well-applauded speech during the DSWD’s 73rd Anniversary celebration on Friday (January 12) at the Central Office’s multi-purpose hall in Quezon City.

“The DSWD has gone a long way in responding to the challenges of providing social protection to the poor, marginalized, and vulnerable sectors of society. This is through the effective implementation of projects and services under the ‘Bawat Buhay Mahalaga’ banner,” Secretary Gatchalian said in his speech.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., who was the guest of honor in the DSWD’s anniversary celebration, lauded the officials and personnel of the Department as he expressed satisfaction in the performance of the government’s social protection agency.

“I am very, very happy again to be here in DSWD where heroes walk and work – heroes and angels walk and work. For that is how I view, with great admiration, the working men and women of your agency,” the President said in his speech.

In his report to the President, Secretary Gatchalian highlighted the DSWD’s huge role in decreasing the poverty incidence in the Philippines from 23.7 percent in 2021 to 22.4 percent in 2023, and subsistence incidence from 9.9 percent in 2021 to 8.7 percent in 2023.

Among the notable accomplishments that Secretary Gatchalian reported were the exit of 674,452 household beneficiaries from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); the provision of Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program to over 6.5 million clients; and the record-breaking number of over 2 million family food packs distributed to localities affected by disasters and calamities in 2023.

The DSWD chief also reported the status of the new programs and other innovations launched by the agency from the time of his assumption as Secretary on Feb. 1, 2023.

For the Oplan Pag-Abot, the DSWD was able to reach out to 1,772 families and individuals in street situations in just six months of the program’s implementation.

Through the Tara, Basa! Program, the reformatted educational assistance program of the DSWD, an increase in the involvement of college students in nation building while completing tertiary education with 80 percent or 5,487 out of 6,829 of trained tutors was noted.

The Tara, Basa! program also saw a 5.5 percent increase in the number of grade schoolers who achieved reading proficiency at their appropriate grade level from 13,933 to 14,700 as determined by a comprehensive rapid literacy assessment (CRLA).

In 2023, the pilot implementation of the Walang Gutom 2027: Food Stamp Program (FSP) was held in Tondo, Manila and Dapa, Siargao Island, providing Php 3,000 worth of monthly food credits to food poor beneficiaries through their electronic benefit transfer cards (EBT). The FSP is set to conduct its full pilot implementation this 2024 and scale up its operations to fight involuntary hunger in the country.

Secretary Gatchalian also assured President Marcos that the DSWD is ready to lead the provision of social welfare and development programs this year.

“As we go on our 74th anniversary, you can rest assured that the Department will continue to strive to not only be the lead provider of social protection but to make sure that our Department is the incubator of innovations in social protection,” the Secretary said.

The accomplishments received praised from President Marcos with working men and women of the DSWD being given a special accolade from the chief executive.

In his speech, President Marcos emphasized that calling the DSWD as a central office is an underestimation of the critical work and undervalues the great service that the agency renders to the Filipino people.

“More than that, here is the place, the headquarters of our war against poverty. It is the command center of the DSWD’s disaster response, the mission control of our community development drive, and the compassion central that dispenses help to the needy,” the chief executive said.

The President also congratulated the DSWD, led by Secretary Gatchalian for its numerous accomplishments to help poor families out of their dismal state over the past year.

“DSWD programs have never been regarded as a handout, but we call it a hand up designed to help people pull themselves up,” the President said.

“The safety nets that DSWD deploys to catch those who have fallen into the tracks of society come with opportunity ladders to help them climb out from the state that they find themselves in,” President Marcos added.

As a marching order, the President reminded Department personnel to stay true to the Bagong Pilipinas brand of governance.

“Always serve your clientele with care and compassion as you have been doing, hindi lang mabilis na serbisyo, kundi taos pusong paglilingkod at may kasamang pag-unawa na nagpapalakas ng loob at nagbibigay ng pag-asa sa mga walang-wala,” reminded President Marcos.

(Always serve your clientele with care and compassion as you have been doing, not just immediate service, but sincere service with an understanding that encourages and gives hope to those who have nothing.)

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