Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Secretary for the Office of the Secretary Group (OSG) Aleli B. Bawagan today thanked Sen. Loren Legarda for her continued support to the DSWD’s centers and institutions.

Asec. Bawagan said that Sen. Legarda has pledged to push for higher budget allocations for the said centers, specifically centers for senior citizens and abandoned children. Sen. Legarda has promised to champion the cause of increasing allocations for the repair and restoration of all DSWD centers and 52 local government unit (LGU) -run activity centers for children and families-at-risk on the streets; the expansion of the Jose Fabella Center (JFC) in Mandaluyong City; and, the establishment of a Center for Mentally Recovered Male Patients.

“In the same way that we want higher allocations for the benefits and salaries of our contract of service,  job order, and memorandum of agreement (MOA) employees, we want to improve the status of our centers. Many of our centers are in a deplorable state despite the best efforts of our limited staff because the centers are overpopulated and there are not enough rooms for all the residents who have been placed in our care,” Asec. Bawagan said.

The DSWD has already submitted a formal proposal for additional Capital Outlay amounting to P238,792,000 to the Senate Committee on Finance led by Sen. Legarda.

“We also want to secure a Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) for non-food items needed in the centers and one-year rental subsidy for 1,800 Sama Bajau families at P1,000 per month. We are very glad to have a champion in Sen. Legarda,” said Asec. Bawagan.

The DSWD official said that the DSWD has a total of 29 programs, activities, and projects under its 2018 proposed budget. The House of Representatives has already added P300 million to the DSWD’s budget for the residential centers before it approved the department’s budget late last month.

“Although the work is hard and delicate in our centers and institutions, improvement of the structures came few and far between with fund allocation sometimes not even enough.  This year, our total budget for the 71 facilities was originally pegged at P603,472,719.22 which is just enough for the most basic expenses.  In cases where there are more clients coming in than the annual plan, the center head will have to compensate through tightening their budget.  Some of the centers, especially those for children and the elderly, are more fortunate as they periodically receive donations to help them cope with emergency situations, but even these donations are also far from enough,” she said.

“So many Filipinos and their families are in continuous and increasing need of social welfare services, including emergency shelter, psychological and emotional support during times of personal crisis. The objective of DSWD is to be there for Filipinos in need of emergency support in these areas, and to assist those in need to get back on their feet and access options they can use to recover,” she said.#