Another round of discussions for DSWD’s 2018 budget

Here is what the lawmakers have to say on the proposed DSWD 2018 budget

Officials from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) appeared in the House of Representatives on August 30 to continue discussions on the agency’s budget for 2018. Yesterday’s discussions were centered on budget-related issues not covered in the agency’s budget briefing earlier this month. Officer-in-Charge and Undersecretary Emmanuel Leyco, who replaced erstwhile Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, led the panel for DSWD.

Leyco said that the agency increased the budget for the juvenile justice system to give extra attention to youth delinquents. Misamis Oriental 2nd District Rep. Henry Oaminal responded that the DSWD’s insights aided the House sub-committee on correctional reforms, of which he is chair. The committee is working on a substitute bill to strengthen juvenile justice law.

Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte urged DSWD to speed up disbursement of calamity funds to local government units (LGUs). Villafuerte also asked DSWD to trust that LGUs in spending their disaster relief fund efficiently.

When asked by Rep. Joey Salceda of the 2nd District of Albay if DSWD’s poverty-reduction efforts were sufficient, Leyco answered that he was not satisfied with these efforts. Salceda asked for updates on various DSWD programs – social pension for indigent citizens, supplementary feeding program, and Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program or 4Ps.

Lanao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo further quizzed Leyco on the 4Ps, wondering if it the program is truly addressing poverty. The 4Ps remains to be a top-priority program for DSWD, followed by the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Kalahi-CIDSS (KC) National Community Driven Development Program, and Protective Services for Individuals and Families in Difficult Circumstances, and Supplementary Feeding Program. Budget allocation for SLP, KC, and the supplementary feeding program was reduced this year because of funds for these projects were not fully-utilized.

Pangasinan 2nd District Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil and Rep. Makmod Mending Jr. of AMIN party-list commended DSWD for its initiatives. Bataoil thanked DSWD for its services in his district and expressed his support for its 2018 Budget and projects. Meanwhile, Mending acknowledged DSWD’s efforts in alleviating the plight of evacuees in Marawi City.

In DSWD’s budget briefing earlier this month, Taguiwalo sought an increase for their 2018 budget. She attributed the 7.4% increase of the agency’s budget to salary adjustments of personnel, an increase in the agency’s maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and the reinstatement of health benefits of some 4Ps beneficiaries. DSWD ranks 6th in the list of agencies with the highest budget allocations for 2018.

The House Committee on Appropriations, led by Davao City 1st District Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, is scheduled to commence plenary discussions for the 2018 National Budget next week.