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DSWD, World Bank plan course of action for joint project

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the World Bank (WB) held a wrap-up session on Monday (June 10) to plan the course of action for the continuing implementation of the Beneficiary Fast, Innovative, Responsive, Service Transformation (BFIRST) social protection project at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.

Attended by DSWD officials and World Bank representatives, the wrap-up session was held to discuss the insights and observations from the recently concluded Implementation Support Meeting (ISM) which included a joint field visit to Bohol on June 3 to 5, and the technical discussions last on June 6 to 7.

“We know that this wrap-up session is very important as the final leg of the entire Implementation Support Mission [for the BFIRST Project],” DSWD Undersecretary for Policy and Plans Adonis Sulit, who is also the BFIRST Project Director, said.

Undersecretary Sulit emphasized that the wrap-up session served as a platform to chart ways forward for the implementation of various social protection programs covered by the Beneficiary FIRST project.

“Today, we will take stock of what happened as part of the procedure.

And then moving forward this will also give us the opportunity to understand from the World Bank side also the things we can expect, and the things that we need to do from our end moving forward,” Undersecretary Sulit pointed out.

In his remarks, Asst. Secretary for External Assistance and Development Juan Carlo Marquez, who is also the BFIRST Project Manager, underscored the importance of the support mission in assessing the social protection initiatives of the DSWD.

“Throughout the mission, we reviewed the progress of implementation of the BFIRST Project, particularly the achievement of the performance based conditions and procurement activities,” Asst. Sec. Marquez said.

The ISM covered the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) systems reengineering, PhilSys integration, and digital payments, as well as the progress in DSWD’s digital transformation efforts for dynamic social registry and digital infrastructure enhancement.

The DSWD officials expressed their gratitude to the World Bank and other international and local partners such as the UNICEF, Australian Government-Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Department of Finance (DOF), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for their continued support of mission which aids in the fulfillment of the Department’s mandate to improve social protection delivery in the country.

World Bank Operations Manager Dandan Chen, Task Team Leader Yoonyoung Cho and Social Protection Consultant Laarni Revilla were present during the wrap-up session.

Joining Undersecretary Sulit and Asst. Sec. Marquez were Policy Development and Planning Bureau (PDPB) Director Rhodora Alday, and other BFIRST staff.

BFIRST is a joint project of the DSWD and the World Bank that aims to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on poor Filipino families and to strengthen the DSWD’s social protection delivery systems to become more adaptive and efficient.

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