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Miscellaneous

Three warnings given to GHI on violations – DSWD Secretary

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Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian said on Monday the DSWD gave three warnings to the Gentle Hands, Inc. (GHI) before the issuance of a Cease-and-Desist Order (CDO) due to various violations committed by the orphanage.

In an interview with Karen Davila of ANC’s Headstart earlier today (May 29), Secretary Gatchalian said numerous letters were sent to GHI to inform them of the violations that need to be addressed before the Department conducted a spot check and eventually issued a CDO, as he emphasized that the DSWD action was not abrupt.

“First of all, it was not abrupt. As early as August, we were already telling them to correct, as early as August 2022. Then another letter in February 2023, right about when I took the helm, and then another one on March 14. Meaning there were numerous letters reminding them to correct these things,” Secretary Gatchalian explained.

The DSWD chief added: “Again, the principle we are invoking here is, they are saying we didn’t give due process, quite the contrary. Three warnings were given, Karen. I personally saw the imminent danger and as the parent of the nation, the Government has the power to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It is our responsibility.”

Secretary Gatchalian also pointed out that the private orphanage did not take action after several letters and notices were sent.

“Clearly, they didn’t take action kasi when I went there on a Saturday, the last warning was March 14, I went on March 20, and nandoon pa rin yung infractions, Karen. They were still pervasive,” the DSWD chief emphasized.

The children-residents who were pulled out from GHI were transferred to the three centers and residential care facilities (CRCFs) of the DSWD – Elsie Gaches Village in Alabang, Muntinlupa City; Nayon ng Kabataan in Mandaluyong City and the Reception and Study Center for Children in Quezon City.

To guarantee the safety, security, and well-being of its clientele, Secretary Gatchalian said the DSWD is retooling its programs and services, including the CRCFs and Social Welfare and Development Agencies (SWDAs).

The Department is also conducting a rapid assessment of the privately-run centers nationwide, he said.

“Moving forward, I have already instructed our Standards Bureau to conduct a nationwide rapid assessment of all care facilities, yung sa mga seniors, mga battered women, in the privately-run [centers]. We want to make sure that the baseline is there so that we know how we stand in all these care facilities,” Secretary Gatchalian said.

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