In today’s episode of Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas hosted by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) XI Regional Director Rene V. Carbayas, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office XI presented its notable achievements and milestones during the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. led by Regional Director Atty. Vanessa B. Goc-ong with Assistant Regional Director for Operations, Dahlia S. Padillo, and Assistant Regional Director for Administration, Merlinda A. Paragamac.

Atty. Goc-ong provided a comprehensive overview of the Department’s accomplishments, detailing the past (‘ginawa’), present (‘ginagawa’), and future (‘gagawin’) aspects of their programs and services. 

These initiatives align with the new administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian highlighting the strategic goals aiming to establish a rooted (matatag), comfortable (maginhawa), and secure (panatag) life for all residents in the Davao Region, as outlined in the Davao Regional Development Plan. 

The presentation underscored the agency’s dedication to social protection and poverty reduction for the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged, in line with the ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040 tenets.

Dir. Padillo discussed the Emergency Cash Transfer (ECT) program and other financial assistance programs benefiting qualified beneficiaries across various provinces in the region.

Additionally, Dir. Paragamac emphasized the importance of wellness facilities for social workers, who face significant stress and health challenges on the ground. These facilities are vital for maintaining their well-being and enabling them to perform their duties effectively. Paragamac highlighted the need to support and empower social workers to ensure the success of the Department’s programs and services.

A significant issue discussed at the event was a viral video on Facebook featuring a beneficiary of Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) expressing her dismay over the deduction of PHP 8,500 from the PHP 10,000 cash grant she received on June 6, 2024, in Digos City, leaving her with only PHP 1,500. 

Dir. Goc-ong reported that as of June 8, 2024, they had established contact with the client and escorted her to the police station to document the incident officially. 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Matanao Station pledged to ensure the complainant’s safety, while the Office of the Governor of Davao del Sur promised financial assistance. 

Additionally, DSWD Secretary Gatchalian directed Director Goc-ong to aid the complainant in filing the appropriate legal actions, with charges to be brought against those implicated in the incident.

The forum also covered topics such as the anti-mendicancy law, comprehensive programs for street children and families, and the ongoing initiatives of Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP) and AICS. 

Director Goc-ong concluded the session by reiterating the Department’s dedication not only to social welfare but also to the social development of Filipino citizens. She called for stronger partnerships between the DSWD and its stakeholders, emphasizing the importance of addressing grievances and issues at the grassroots level.

As DSWD XI moves forward, it remains committed to overcoming challenges and ensuring the effective implementation of its programs and services for the remaining months of the year, striving to improve the quality of life for the residents of the Davao Region. (DSWD FO XI/RSD/JCDD)