This is the 2nd of 3 part interview of Mr. Edmund Rubi in his bid to becoming the next President of the Philippines.
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DSWD sets breakthroughs in improving lives of Filipinos
With the vision of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clearly laid out in the DSWD Strategy 2028, the Department has paved the way for the poor, disadvantaged, and vulnerable Filipinos to access social protection programs that are responsive to their needs.
The DSWD Strategy Map provides the Department and its employees with the direction for quality work performance and achieve its goals until the year 2028.
As a tool in establishing quality operations, the Performance Governance System (PGS) helps the Department to focus on public service as set in the strategy map.
The PGS is a holistic and collaborative framework for designing, executing, monitoring, and sustaining roadmaps to reform. Through the PGS, the DSWD was able to come up with its strategic initiatives which would help the Department reach its vision.
Comprehensive response to poor, needy families
Aligned with its strategic initiatives is the continuous implementation of programs and services that are responsive to the needs of poor families. Social welfare programs, particularly the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), are strengthened through social case management, as well as with the assistance of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) which provides livelihood opportunities to 4Ps families and sustain the gains of human capital development brought by the health and education conditionalities.
Through this, 835,000 4Ps households or 4,175,000 lives have been changed, as shown in the Social Welfare and Development Indicators (SWDI) tool administered by the 4Ps. With survival to subsistence level as the baseline indicator, these families now have improved quality of life.
The DSWD is nearing its target for 2024, with only 16.5% left to reach one million beneficiaries with improved lives. And as indicated in the DSWD Strategy Map, the Department envisions to reach 4.4M 4Ps beneficiaries with improved lives and sustained development.
Gaurino Family: Experiencing development
One of those with improved lives is the Gaurino family of Bulusan, Sorsogon. The family became a 4Ps beneficiary in 2011. According to Susan Gaurino, her family was one of the poorest in their area, with no permanent source of income. Susan tried to help her husband, a fisherman, with the family’s expenses through handicraft-making, but life remained hard for them. They could hardly provide food for the family and send their children to school.
With Susan and her husband having finished high school and elementary, respectively, it was their dream to be able to provide education to their children.
Susan said that they are thankful that 4Ps came into their life as their older children were able to graduate and get technical skills education – one in automotive, and the other in agriculture. They are now gainfully employed and are able to help with the expenses at home.
As for Susan, the Family Development Sessions (FDS) that she regularly attended made her a leader and opened various skills training and livelihood opportunities. She attended trainings in nail care, hand and foot spa, and handicraft making. All these eventually helped her earn a living to support the needs of her family.
With the improvement in their family’s economic status, Susan believes they will soon graduate from the program and hopes to sustain the financial freedom that they now have.
Pingoy family: Waiving their 4Ps slot
Another family, the Pingoys from Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, also has a warm story to tell about their lives and the impact of 4Ps.
Salvacion Pingoy recalled how their family struggled to cope with their daily needs to survive. She said her husband, Richard, never gave up and continued to rent the motorbike taxi of their neighbor to earn a living.
Finishing only grade school, Richard never stopped dreaming of having his family’s own business one day.
Because life was hard, the Pingoys were truly grateful for being part of the 4Ps. The program, they said, helped a lot especially so that education fees in public schools before were not free.
With the help of the program and the family’s determination and the values that they learned from the FDS, the Pingoy couple was able to save a little capital and started a small business, which later on became a successful motor shop in their community.
“My source of inspiration was our status in life. We do not want to die poor. That is why, we did not stop believing that we can make it through,” Salvacion shared.
As the couple continued to reap success in their motor shop business, they now enjoy a self-sufficient level of well-being. Thus, they voluntarily waived their 4Ps slot as they can now provide for their family’s needs.
The 4Ps families are not the only beneficiaries that the DSWD aims to assist towards improved lives. The Department constantly seeks to enhance its public service delivery so that the sectors it has vowed to serve will experience positive transformation in their lives.
With the PGS in place as the tool in setting quality performance targets, as well as in establishing monitoring systems, the DSWD continues its journey of fulfilling its goal of assisting its clientele towards an improved quality of life by 2028.
DSWD assures ‘no irregularity’ on engagement with FSPs for SAP distribution
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured the public that it engaged the services of different Financial Service Providers (FSPs) with proper credentials for the distribution of the second tranche emergency subsidy of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
With the guidance and technical assistance of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), being the central monetary authority of the Philippines which oversees the payment and settlement systems in the country and having the expertise on policies and regulatory environment for financial inclusion and digital payments, the Department engaged six FSPs which are Gcash, Paymaya, Robinsons Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Starpay and Unionbank.
In identifying the qualified FSPs, the DSWD required the submission of their Securities and Exchange Commission Registration, BSP Certification, National Privacy Commission Registration, and Secretary’s Certificate allowing the FSP, and its representative, to transact with DSWD. Among the general criteria used were experience, reach and technical capabilities; corporate capability; and acquiescence to the request to waive the service or transaction fee in order to free the government from any cost.
On the allocation of beneficiaries per FSP, primary consideration was given to the following: (1) presence of payout partners to ensure ease and ability to cash out by beneficiaries balanced with other considerations; (2) business model limitations such as smartphone only deployments were controlled in these areas with other options in light of the timeline required in the disbursement; (3) tie-ups with LGUs by the EMI/FSPs were also considered; (4) historical experience in commercial roll out; and (5) type of cash out points that may contribute to ensuring liquidity/availability of cash.
It was discovered, however, that over 70% of SAP beneficiaries based on actual names listed by LGUs have invalid or no mobile phone numbers/smartphone. Hence, the DSWD recalibrated the allocation and only two of the six FSPs signified their capability of distributing the financial assistance using other means. These were the RCBC and Starpay, which conducted digital and direct payouts, simultaneously.
It can be recalled, however, that the agency terminated the services of the FSPs in April 2021. The FSPs, including Starpay, liquidated the remaining budget that they received and refunded the amount for the unserved beneficiaries to the DSWD.
The Starpay refunded about P8.2 billion due to mistakes in information or data quality issues, and/or inactive accounts of beneficiaries or those accounts with no activities within a period of 90 days from crediting. The Department then opted to conduct manual payouts for the unserved 2nd tranche beneficiaries.
Lastly, the DSWD emphasized that all funds provided to the FSPs are all accounted for and that there are no “missing” funds. All aid distributed is supported by liquidation reports that can be shared, if necessary in the proper forum.
The DSWD emphasized that its engagement with the FSPs was above board and in accordance with the existing government accounting rules and procedures.