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Friday, September 2, 2016

Taguiwalo defends move to halt political patronage in social services

MANILA -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Thursday defended her move in halting the practice of political patronage in accessing the social services of the agency.


During the agency’s budget briefing at the House of Representatives, lawmakers sought clarification regarding the DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 9, which states that referral letters from politicians “are not integral” to the implementation of the Protective Services Program (PSP).

Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said the memorandum gives the impression that congressmen should now shell out their own money to assist the constituents rather than DSWD.

But Taguiwalo stressed that such policy was not stated in the memorandum, adding that she was ready to clarify any other misunderstandings about it.

The DSWD chief explained that while the circular does not prohibit congressmen from endorsing beneficiaries, it shields social workers and field office staff from giving preferential treatment to politicians’ referrals.

The DSWD has the sole authority in determining PSP beneficiaries.

Negros Oriental Rep. Arnulfo Teves contended this, stressing that the congressmen have better knowledge in identifying their poor constituents who need to avail of these social services.

”If there are referrals from the congressmen, there will be better checks and balances since we know those who need help,” Teves said.

Taguiwalo, however, said that it was not a matter of who knew better and appealed for the cooperation of the legislators.

“Let us help each other out, we are willing to work with the congressmen, but we won’t allow any entitlement,” she said.

The proposed 2017 budget for DSWD is at Php130 billion, 17 percent higher than the current year’s Php110.8 billion.

Bulk of it, or Php78.7 billion, has been allocated to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program which saw an increase of 25.5 percent due to the provision of monthly rice subsidy on top of the cash benefits.

House appropriations committee chair Karlo Nograles suspended the DSWD’s budget briefing and reset it to Sept. 13. (PNA)
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