Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian is very much satisfied with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), which gave emphasis on investing in human capital through the various social protection programs of the Department.
“Natutuwa ako kasi marami sa programa natin ang binigyang diin ng ating Pangulo. Isa na doon ‘yung kakasimula pa lamang na Food Stamp Program,” Secretary Gatchalian said in a post-SONA interview with DZBB.
(I am glad because many of our programs were emphasized by our President. One of those is the recently launched Food Stamp Program.)
“Investments in public infrastructure and in the capacity of our people—through food, education, health, jobs, and social protection—remain our top priority,” the President said in his SONA.
The chief executive also stressed that about 70 percent of the government funds for the year 2023 were allocated for economic and social services.
“Naglaan tayo ng sapat na pondo para sa paglingap sa mga lubos na nangangailangan. Layunin natin na sila ay makabangon, mabigyan ng sapat na kakayahan, at maging produktibo,” President Marcos said.
(We allotted enough funds to take care of those in need. Our goal is to help them recover, provide them with adequate capabilities, and become productive.)
President Marcos also pointed out that the government is “inclusive in our pursuit of social protection,” true to the DSWD’s brand of ‘Bawat Buhay ay Mahalaga’.
“Para sa atin, ang bawat buhay ay mahalaga—anuman ang edad, kasarian, pangkat, relihiyon, o pisikal na kundisyon. Sila ay kukupkupin at tutulungan,” the President pointed out.
(For us, Bawat Buhay ay Mahalaga—regardless of age, gender, social status, religion, or physical condition. They will be nurtured and assisted.)
In his SONA, President Marcos prioritized the strengthening of social protection efforts of the DSWD as an investment in the capacity of the Filipino people as the government endeavors toward post-pandemic recovery.
Secretary Gatchalian welcomed the directive of President Marcos to work closely with other national government agencies and stakeholders in the implementation of the different government programs, including social protection packages such as the Food Stamp Program (FSP).
“Narinig natin sinabi niya ‘whole of nation approach.’ Walang isang departamento na may kaya niyan. So, ‘yon ang gagawin ng DSWD, makikipag-ugnayan sa iba’t-ibang departamento; makikipag-ugnayan sa private sector nang maisulong nating mabuti ang Food Stamp Program,” the DSWD chief said after the SONA on Monday (July 24).
(We heard him say ‘whole of nation approach.’ No single department can handle that alone. So, that’s what the DSWD will do – coordinate with different departments and engage with the private sector to advance the Food Stamp Program successfully.)
The President also made special mention of the Food Stamp Program, which earlier this month, was piloted by the DSWD in Tondo, Manila with the aim of putting an end to involuntary hunger and stunting in the country.
“Last week, we introduced the pilot Food Stamp Program (FSP), which seeks to supply the nutrition needs of the million most food-poor Filipinos,” President Marcos said.
FSP is the newest initiative of the DSWD which aims to supplement the food intake of its beneficiaries through the provision of Php 3000-worth of monthly food credits in their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT).
The President emphasized that social welfare remains one of the top priorities of the current administration as he assured that sufficient funds are available for these programs that are described as investments in human capital.
President Marcos also mentioned in his SONA the different programs and initiatives of the DSWD that are aligned with his priorities for the remaining years of his term such as anti-hunger efforts, peace programs, disaster response, and digitalization, among others.
The DSWD continues to provide social protection packages, such as community development and livelihood assistance, among others to decommissioned combatants and former rebels, which according to the President, “have been effective in addressing the root cause of conflict in the countryside.”