(Speech of Vice-President and Secretary Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
at the AHON BAYAN Project Fair, CAP Auditorium on 17 August 1998)
(Pleasantries) Since its birth in 1968, the DSWD has been acknowledged
as the lead agency in basic social services. Through its 30 year-existence,
it has operated under varied structures and has been called by different
names. One thing remains however - its abiding goal and mission to serve
the abused children and women, the persons with disabilities, the elderly,
the psychologically sick and terminally ill, the dysfunctional families,
the victims of calamities and depressed communities.
ROLE AND MISSION
The changing of times always spawns new ways of seeing and doing things.
In response to decentralization and other factors, the DSWD has adopted
a new role to better carry out its old, abiding goal. Once the main and
direct service provider, it has now repositioned itself as a mere enabler
of social services. Under its present steering function, the DSWD merely
complements or assists the LGUs as the new main social service providers.
The DSWD likewise extends active assistance to other stakeholders, notably
the other NGAs, NGOs and POs, to ensure the effective implementation of
programs to alleviate poverty and empower the disadvantaged individuals,
families and communities for an improved quality of life.
The DSWD has provided technical and logistical support to NGO programs
and, in some cases, turned over the actual management of its institutional
assets and centers to NGOs. In close cooperation with major stakeholders
in social development, the DSWD formulates and promotes projects and services
under five integrated program objectives.
First of all, we have social integration and poverty alleviation through
self-help livelihood projects through the Comprehensive and Integrated
Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS) and the Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran
(SEA-K) in rural and urban poor communities.
CIDSS assists in the formation of people's organizations wherein families
collectively plan their development program and manage community-based
services. They identify their minimum basic needs, prioritize them and
work towards meeting them one step at a time. During the National Peace
Conference, the CIDSS was acknowledged as the only social reform flagship
program that has directly touched and improved people's lives. The CIDSS
and the minimum basic needs approach are now adopted by all fifth and
sixth class municipalities as well as urban poor areas. To date, the CIDSS
has reached 432 municipalities and benefited no less than 250,000 families.
The SEA-K provides poor entrepreneurs with access to credit, capability-building
and business management skills. Since 1993, this program has granted a
seed capital total of P344 million to over 3,500 SEA-K groups with 89,000
members. It has generated employment, increased incomes of poor families
and proved that the poor can and do pay loans. It is worth noting that
projects under SEA-K have a repayment rate of 92%.
Second, we have the protection of children and women through the establishment
of Day Care Centers and Productivity Skills and Women's Crisis Centers.
There are now 24-hour hotlines and Child Help Intervention and Protection
Service or CHIPS in all regional centers. About 162,000 have been trained
in productivity centers for women while 9 substitute homes have served
39,000 victims and survivors since 1992.
Third, there is the promotion of the welfare of the elderly and persons
with disabilities (PWD) through the Senior Citizens Centers and the implementation
of The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons. About 130 Senior Citizens Centers
were set up and 1.8 million senior citizens were organized under one federation.
PWDs have been organized into self-help and volunteer groups to enhance
self-esteem and productive endeavors.
Fourth, we have family development through total family approach in
all of its programs and undertakings. DSWD efforts are always designed
to preserve and strengthen family ties and solidarity, whether in the
promotion of child and youth, disaster preparedness and defense of women's
rights. To highlight the important role of the family, the Family Week
and Family Thanksgiving Day were institutionalized.
Finally, there is advocacy and networking to promote social welfare and
development services. Collaborative efforts with Congress, LGUs, NGAs,
NGOs, the private sector, the church and the media are being forged to
firm up support and awareness for the rights and welfare of the disadvantaged.
In close cooperation with Congress, NGOs and the media, several measures
were passed to protect the vulnerable sectors such as the law against
child labor (RA 7658), the establishment of senior citizens centers (RA
7876) and protection against rape and assistance to rape victims (RA 8353,
The DSWD is pleased with its accomplished strides and gains under its
new role as an enabler. With very limited resources, these modest successes
inspire the Department to persist in exploring new and better ways so
that those who have less in life should have more in basic social services.
In its pursuit of this new role and the five integrated tasks, the DSWD
has locked arms with other main stakeholders in launching AHON BAYAN.
The "Ahon Bayan" is a new social development program jointly
launched by DSWD and the NGO community in line with the poverty alleviation
objectives of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Anchored on the spirit
of volunteerism and social responsibility, it seeks to generate more support
for priority projects for the disadvantaged sectors. Over 40 doable projects
formulated by Government and NGOs are matched with willing prospective
donors for appropriate funding and implementation - an endeavor that evokes
our cultural value of bayanihan. Its target beneficiaries belong to eight
sectors: women, children, the elderly, the psychologically and terminally
ill, persons with disabilities, juvenile delinquency and substance abuse,
victims of crime, and the DSWD itself.
Now, more than ever, we must rededicate ourselves to the mission of social
development. Data and statistics on the plight of marginalized sectors
are staggering. There are at least 200,000 street children, 350,000 victims
of drug abuse, 800,000 food crisis victims, 175,000 poor persons with
disabilities, five rape victims daily, and 20 destructive typhoons every
year. It should also be noted that no less than 30% of the entire population,
or about 22 million Filipinos live below the poverty line, and the present
economic downturn gripping the Asia-Pacific region has further swelled
the ranks of the teeming poor.
At P1.5 billion, the DSWD budget is the second smallest in the national
budget allocation and represents less than 1% of the total budget in social
services. Greater support is needed to enable the DSWD to do more for
those who have less. Active participation in Ahon Bayan will also lead
to greater zeal and vigor in serving the disadvantaged sectors.
I wish to convey my deep appreciation and gratitude to all our friends
and supporters who are gathered here today. I salute the donors, champions
and captains of Ahon Bayan for their deep sense of concern and solidarity
with the marginalized sectors. I enjoin other groups and organizations
to lock arms with us and, together, help the most needy Filipinos help
themselves so that they can lead more rewarding lives. Mabuhay ang Ahon
Bayan! Mabuhay ang Sambayang Pilipino!