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DSWD insulates programs from politics, adheres to guidelines – agency spox

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) ensures that its programs and services are insulated from politics and maintains the highest level of professionalism in delivering these to the public, an agency official said on Wednesday (April 24).

“May mga guidelines kami na sinusunod, may verification system kami in the identification of beneficiaries, may assessment na isinasagawa ang aming mga social workers sa ground, nagkakaroon din ng analysis or assessment ang ating butihing secretary,” Asst. Secretary for Disaster Response Management Group (DRMG) Irene Dumlao, who is also DSWD spokesperson, said in a radio interview.

(We have guidelines that we follow, we have verification system in the identification of our beneficiaries, our social workers conduct assessment on the ground, and our Secretary also conducts analysis or assessment.)

If there are politicians and local officials attending DSWD activities, Asst. Secretary Dumlao said “we respect their oversight functions as legislators, pero ang ahensiya pa rin ang nag-implement [ but the DSWD is still the one implementing or conducting the activities].”

The DSWD spokesperson was interviewed a day after agency officials led by Secretary Rex Gatchalian attended a Senate hearing on Tuesday (April 23) and were peppered with questions on the reported “selective and delayed payout activities” under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program.

Asst. Secretary Dumlao said DSWD regional directors always coordinate with the concerned local government units (LGUs) during the implementation of social protection programs such as cash aid payout activities under the AICS.

“Our regional directors coordinate with local officials kasi nanghihiram tayo ng venue [we request for venue], we request for law enforcers to ensure the orderly conduct of payouts,” the DSWD spokesperson pointed out.

Asst. Sec. Dumlao maintained there are no delayed cash aid distribution contrary to claims of delay in some areas in Mindanao.

“There is no delay in the payout. I think the payout being referred to is for the Emergency Cash Transfer (ECT). Kapag po nagkaroon ng disaster, DSWD would come to provide family food packs and non-food items. But there is also relief assistance that is being provided by the DSWD, ito yong ECT,” the DSWD spokesperson explained.

Asst. Secretary Dumlao said that under the ECT, an LGU declares a ‘state of calamity’ and the DSWD will come in to distribute the additional relief assistance equivalent to 75 percent of the daily regional minimum wage rate multiplied by the number of days based on the assessment of the regional director or field workers.

“Iyan po siguro ang nakita [that maybe the reason] but, definitely there is no delay because it was necessary to conduct needs assessment, needs analysis,” the DSWD spokesperson stressed.

Asst. Secretary Dumlao reiterated that the Department is continuously reviewing its guidelines to make it more responsive to the needs of its beneficiaries while emphasizing that program implementation will always be based on the provisions of these policies.

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