DSWD warns public against scammers promising cash assistance from the Department

DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo listens to the report of Field Office X on the alleged scam incident in Cagayan de Oro.

Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary (DSWD) Erwin T. Tulfo reminded the public to be vigilant and not to entertain individuals introducing themselves as officials or staff of the Department, who will then promise assistance in exchange for registration fees to the programs of the agency.

In his press briefing on Wednesday, July 20, Secretary Tulfo emphasized that the DSWD is not collecting any fees and all its programs and services are free to the public, especially to the poor and vulnerable Filipinos.

The secretary’s pronouncement came after DSWD Field Office X Regional Director Mari-Flor Dollanga, together with the Cagayan de Oro Police Station presented to Secretary Tulfo an arrested scammer who was using the name of the DSWD in his modus operandi.

According to Director Dollanga, the arrested personality introduced himself as an official of the DSWD, and was collecting P350 to P500 per person fee, in exchange for a promise that his victims would be included in the list of beneficiaries of educational assistance and the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the Department.

Upon verification with the agency, the DSWD has confirmed that the alleged scammer is not connected, in any way, and is not an employee of the Department.

The alleged scammer was arrested during a joint entrapment operation with the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday, July 18.

During the interrogation, he confessed that there are five more suspected scammers roaming around Cagayan de Oro doing the same.

Secretary Tulfo appealed to the public to be more careful and not to give any information to any individual promising assistance and asking for money in return.  He urged those who know of any similar incident to report it to the nearest DSWD Field Office.

The Department also clarified that there are necessary processes and criteria to be met as well as forms to be accomplished to be included in its programs and services.  ###

DSWD, DILG to discuss devolution of social welfare services

In the latest Cabinet meeting of the Marcos administration, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) were tasked to coordinate with each other regarding the implementation of the devolution of social welfare and development (SWD) services.

According to DSWD Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo, the President urged the two agencies to review the programs that are set to be devolved to local government units to prevent local politicians from politicizing these programs for their own advancement.

The programs that are in included in the devolution are: Comprehensive Project for Street Children; Assistance to Persons with Disability; Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS); Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons (RRPTP); Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP); Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP); Programs for Older Persons; and the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS).

Aside from the discussion on devolution, Secretary Tulfo said that the President also ordered the DSWD to focus its prepositioning of resources in typhoon-prone and flood-prone provinces, specifically in the areas along the eastern seaboard of the Philippines. This is to strategically ensure that there are available food and non-food items for augmentation to municipalities that will be affected by disasters and calamities.

Secretary Tulfo assured the President that the Department will make the necessary adjustments to ensure the prompt provision of social protection services to citizens in need. ###

Fathers should provide child support in accordance with law – DSWD

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo has directed all Field Offices of the Department to be ready to help mothers who are seeking child support from the fathers of their children.

The Secretary said this in line with Article 195 of the Family Code which stresses that parents are legally required to support their children.

Moreover, Article 194 of the Family Code provides that “support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.”

 “Linawin ko lang po na hindi ko naman sinabi na kakasuhan namin agad ang hindi nagbibigay ng child support.  Nasa batas po kasi natin, matik sa batas na kailangang suportahan ang bata.  Maaring pinansiyal, o pag-aralin mo. Ang sinasabi ko, kung may trabaho at usually malalaman natin yan sa misis kung may trabaho (I just want to clarify that I did not say we will immediately file a case against those who will not give child support.  The law mandates that child support be automatically given, it may be financial or the fathers send the child to school.  What I want to say is that if the father has work or source of livelihood, and we usually get that information from the mothers, then, he should provide support),” Secretary Tulfo clarified.

According to Article 201 of the Family Code, “The amount of support…shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient.”

The Secretary also urged mothers to bring their concerns to the DSWD.  The mothers can ask help from DSWD to seek support from the father.  As provided in Article 203 of the Family Code, “The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the person who has a right to receive the same needs if not for maintenance, but it shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand.”  The same provision adds, “payment shall be made within the first five days of each corresponding month or when the recipient dies, his heirs shall not be obliged to return what he has received in advance.”

 “Pwede po kayong lumapit sa amin sa DSWD, kung may mga tatay na ayaw magsustento sa mga anak nila, provided na yung tatay ay may trabaho o may kinikita.  Susulatan po namin, magdedemand kami na sustentuhan niya yung anak niya.  Otherwise, ipapasa po namin ito sa korte, bahala na po ang Public Attorney’s Office (PAO). Tutulungan din po natin na ilapit sa IBP para magsampa ng kaso (You may reach out to us at the DSWD if there are fathers who refuse to give child support even if they have sources of income.  We (DSWD) will write to demand that they provide child support. Otherwise, we will submit it to the court and let the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) handle it.  The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) can also help us file a case),” Secretary Tulfo said.

Best interest of the child in custody issues

Secretary Tulfo added that the DSWD can also help mothers in issues of child custody.  Article 213 of the Family Code emphasizes the child’s best interest on matters of custody.  The said article states that the court shall consider the best interest of the child/children in designating a parent who shall have parental authority. 

Further, it was discussed under Article 363 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines that “in all questions on the care, custody, education and property of children, the latter’s welfare shall be paramount. No mother shall be separated from her child under seven years of age, unless the court finds compelling reasons for such a measure.”

Under Article 165 of the Family Code, a child is considered illegitimate if the child is born out of wedlock, and in relation with Article 176 of The Family Code, the parental authority and custody such child shall fall on the mother. This means that single mothers have the sole parental authority over her child.

The Secretary added that DSWD will exhaust all means to help mothers. He has further instructed all DSWD Field Offices to already set a day or two in the week to serve the mothers approaching them for help.

Moreover, in light of the recent enactment of Republic Act No. 11861 or the Expanded Solo Parents Welfare Act, the Department is also expected to work in assisting solo parents acquire the benefits due them based on the new law. ###