DSWD chief asks Congress not to scuttle agency's 2011 proposed budget

September 18, 2010 11:45 am 

MANILA, Sept. 18 – Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman is asking Congress not to cut down the proposed 2011 budget of the agency, saying the increase is needed to assist the country's marginalized sector.

"This is the only time that the agency (DSWD) will be given sufficient funding to assist all of our needy countrymen. Please don't scuttle our chance of doing something that matters," Soliman pointed out.

Aside from this, the DSWD chief said that the additional money will enable the agency and the country meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which is due for international scrutiny this coming 2015.

"The funding will definitely enable us to provide more projects desperately needed in the health and educational front," Soliman stressed.

The Philippines' other MDGs goals include reducing poverty incidence by half, achieving universal access to education, and improving maternal and children’s health by 2015

The DSWD's 2010 budget was at P15.4 billion. It has been increased by more than 123 percent to P34.4 billion by the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III this coming 2011.

Bulk of the increase will go to the “4Ps” or “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” (P29.2 billion) which will fund, among others, the P1,400 monthly stipend for some 2.3 million indigent families as identified by DSWD under the government’s conditional cash transfer program.

Also included in the DSWD budget is the P2.8-billion feeding program for schoolchildren, P4.2-billion rice subsidy program, and the P890-million allocation for the P500-monthly pension of indigent senior citizens aged 80 and above under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act (ESCA) of 2010.

Senator Pia Cayetano, who is the chairperson of the Senate Committees on Health and Demography, and on Youth, Women and Family Relations, earlier hailed the proposed 123-percent increase in the allocation of the DSWD under the P1.645-trillion 2011 national budget.

“Social services are an integral part of the government’s poverty alleviation program, and yet these programs have long been overlooked in the budget system,” Cayetano pointed out.

“The 123-percent hike in the DSWD’s allocation is actually a break from the old system where the agency was made to scour for funds just to sustain the government’s many pro-poor programs,” she added.

She also cited the need to allocate the budgets of the DSWD, along with the Department of Health and Department of Education, to align their respective programs with the country’s targets under the MDGs. (PNA)

scs/PFN

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