As the anti-drug campaign of the Duterte administration intensifies, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) affirms that there are programs and services available for families and children affected by the campaign.

DSWD Undersecretary for Protective Services Program (PSP) Vilma B. Cabrera explained that the Department has existing programs to support the needs of families whose head of households surrendered to authorities or were killed because of the campaign against drugs.

“We offer livelihood and protective support for the families whose head of households were slain and for orphaned children, the DSWD provides educational support so that they will not be forced to become out-of-school youth,” Usec. Cabrera further explained.

Through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), the DSWD partners with public and private institutions to provide training programs that will help enhance the skills of its participants to become self-sustaining and productive citizens.

The Department also provides immediate financial assistance to affected families through its Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) which offers burial, medical, education and transportation assistance.

Usec. Cabrera emphasized that these programs are not limited to families affected by the anti-drugs campaign and can be availed by qualified poor families who are in crisis situation.

For recovering former drug users, the agency leads the recovery and reintegration phase which provides assistance for the medical treatment, recovery, and livelihood of recovering drug dependents.

Moreover, Usec. Cabrera also expressed concern on the possible trauma to families and children who saw their relatives killed.

“We have trained social workers and psychologists to help provide counselling and necessary foster care for the children who were able to witness the death of their parent or any relative.  However, it is still the responsibility of local social welfare development officers, under local government units, to be the first responders and to provide immediate comfort to the children. They may refer to us once their resources are not enough,” reminded Usec. Cabrera.

If it comes to a point where the child affected becomes orphaned or has no relative/custodian because of the anti-drugs campaign, the DSWD is ready to take them under custody by providing temporary care and shelter in DSWD-run centers and institutions or under community-based care support through foster care.

Usec. Cabrera also clarified that the budget of the DSWD for 2017 does not yet include funding specifically for programs designed for the anti-drugs campaign since next year’s budget was already submitted to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) prior to the height of the war on drugs.

Nevertheless, the Department has already requested for special funding for the war on drugs campaign, particularly for support, rehabilitation and after care of those affected.

For her part, DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo expressed that there is really a need to increase the budget of the various centers and institutions of the Department to ensure that the services here are implemented effectively towards the recovery of the needy, especially those who have no relatives to take care of them. ###