The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Central office today said that it will continue to implement its One-Stop Shop (OSS) and its Comprehensive Program for the Relief and Early Recovery of Lumad Communities to deliver information and assistance to far-flung communities in Mindanao, particularly to areas where there are Lumad populations.Earlier last week, a team from the Central Office led by Assistant Secretary for the Office of the Secretary Group (OSEC Group) Dr. Aleli Bawagan was prevented from proceeding to
Earlier last week, a team from the Central Office led by Assistant Secretary for the Office of the Secretary Group (OSEC Group) Dr. Aleli Bawagan was prevented from proceeding to sitio Patil, barangay Gupitan by the local government led by Mayor Ma. Theresa Timbol. The LGU insists that the DSWD team was not allowed to proceed because of “security concerns”, but Asec. Bawagan said that when they sought the assistance of the local units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), they were advised to just get a FPIC or a Free Prior and Informed Consent document.“Had we succeeded in holding it, the OSS activity in Kapalong would’ve been our fifth. We did not encounter problems in other municipalities—none of the likes we encountered with the LGU in Kapalong. The activity is supposed to be
“Had we succeeded in holding it, the OSS activity in Kapalong would’ve been our fifth. We did not encounter problems in other municipalities—none of the likes we encountered with the LGU in Kapalong. The activity is supposed to be cut-and-dried implementation of our outreach program to neglected communities, but because the LGU prevented us from proceeding, we were unable to hold it. We will hold to our stand that we did not fail to coordinate the activity with the LGU authorities beforehand. It also goes without saying that we sought their full assistance so we could implement the OSS program in Kapalong, but instead of assistance, we were warned against proceeding,” she said.
Asec. Bawagan, however, said that in the wake of Kapalong Mayor Timbol’s statement that if the DSWD Central Office team carrying out the OSS will secure an FPIC, then the OSS in Kapalong will be rescheduled. “We will secure the FPIC, and we are asking the LGU to help us get it. From one government unit to another, the DSWD seeks the Kapalong LGU’s help in delivering the national government’s services and programs to the neglected communities,” she said.
For his part, DSWD Focal Person for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Ronald Papag said that the DSWD Central Office will continue to assist Lumad communities and deliver information on its programs and services with the help of DSWD Field Offices.
“We are in earnest in our efforts to reach the rural communities of farmers and Lumad where the services of the national government have not been available for years – even decades. We sincerely hope that the LGUs whose assistance we seek in implementing the OSS will help us and support our efforts. Let us work together to help our brothers and sisters in the far-flung communities,’ he said.
The DSWD officials also decried the local paramilitary group Bagani’s threats against the DSWD team. Asec. Bawagan said that the Bagani has said that there will be killings if the DSWD team proceeds to Kapalong. “It’s shocking that the PNP and the AFP appear to be useless against the Bagani. This paramilitary group threatens government officials and they get away with it. This cannot be allowed to continue unchecked,” she said. ###