Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian flew to General Santos City on Friday (June 21) to showcase the agency’s  three innovative flagship programs that aim to address the issue of illiteracy, hunger and families and individuals in street situations.

“Tatlo kasi yung trabaho namin — social welfare, development, at disaster response. Kadalasan, natatandaan lang kami for two things, social welfare, at pangalawa, disaster response. We keep on forgetting yung middle name namin, which is development,” Secretary Gatchalian said in his message during the kick-off activity for the Walang Gutom Information Caravan in Region 12.

(We have three roles — social welfare, development, and disaster response. Most of the time, we are only remembered for two things— social welfare and secondly, disaster response. We keep on forgetting our middle name, which is development.)

The DSWD chief reiterated that there is more to DSWD than immediate relief.

“There are long term programs on how to pull people out of poverty permanently. And today, it’s good to be back in Region 12 kasi we are talking about long term development programs,”  Secretary Gatchalian pointed out.

The three DSWD flagship programs that the DSWD chief highlighted were the Walang Gutom 2027: Food Stamp Program (FSP), Oplan Pag-abot Program, and the Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program.

The FSP is a priority program of the Marcos Administration that aims to address involuntary hunger by providing food augmentation to the bottom 1 million households based on the Listahanan 3, who belong to the food-poor criteria as defined by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The Oplan Pag-Abot Program, on the other hand, aims to reach out to families, children, and individuals in street situations and provide them with necessary interventions such as, but not limited to, medical help, food aid, transportation and relocation assistance, livelihood opportunities, transitory family support packages, and emergency financial and transitory shelter assistance, among others.

To help college students and struggling elementary learners, the agency implements the Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program, which is the reformatted educational assistance of the DSWD that creates an ecosystem of learning wherein college students will be capacitated and deployed as tutors to teach poor and non or struggling readers in elementary and as Youth Development Workers (YDWs) to conduct Nanay-Tatay learning sessions.

In the afternoon, Secretary Gatchalian was joined by General Santos City Mayor Lorelie Pacquiao to lead the payout for 265 college student-participants of the Tara, Basa! Tutoring Program.

Each of the students received Php3,000 for transportation allowance to attend the learning sessions.

The DSWD chief also held an open forum with local officials and other stakeholders to address issues in the implementation of DSWD programs and services.

Also present in the information caravan were DSWD Undersecretary for Innovations Edu Punay, Asst. Secretary for Innovations Baldr Bringas, Asst. Secretary for Disaster Response Management Group (DRMG) Irene Dumlao, and DSWD Field Office -12 (SOCCSKSARGEN) Regional Director Loreto  Cabaya Jr.

The Walang Gutom Information Caravan aims to intensify awareness and knowledge of the general public on the DSWD’s flagship programs.#