Legarda: 2018 Budget Caters to Needs of Poor Filipinos

December 18, 2017

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the 2018 national budget will further enable the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to cater to the needs of underprivileged Filipinos.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, said that the budget of the DSWD increased to Php141 Billion for next year from the current year’s Php128 Billion. She added that the proposed 2018 national budget was already ratified by Congress and will be signed by the President on December 19, 2017.

“Our budget for next year is indeed a budget that reforms and transforms. The government must sustain its support and facilitate the environment where our poor—those who have been victims of poverty from decades long of poor governance and lack of government interventions—could prosper. We should treat the poor as we would any other human being—with dignity and respect,” Legarda said.

She explained that the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the DSWD’s flagship project, gets the biggest bulk of the agency’s budget with an allocated amount of Php89 Billion.

She added that Congress adopted special provisions in the implementation of 4Ps, such as the integration of environmental protection; disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM); and preservation of their locality’s indigenous culture in the conduct of family development sessions among 4Ps beneficiaries.

Moreover, the DSWD shall also conduct capacity building programs to prepare its 4Ps beneficiaries for the onset of natural hazards, as well as to require them and the DSWD centers to maintain organic vegetable gardens in open spaces within their areas. Rainwater catchment facilities shall also be established in all DSWD centers.

“It is only proper that we educate our 4Ps families about the prevailing threats from environmental degradation, climate change, and disasters, as well as educate them on sustainable ways to address them at the community level. We must empower the poor to free them from the vicious cycle of disasters and poverty,” Legarda stressed.

Legarda said that the amount of Php2 Billion was allocated for the repair, reconstruction or construction of DSWD centers as well as purchase of welfare goods; while Php80 Million is for the construction of facilities for children in conflict with the law.

“Our DSWD centers serve as transient homes to support our poor families until such time that they could continue on and lead their lives again. It has always been the policy of the DSWD not to decline anyone from entering their centers, which results in congested buildings and dilapidated facilities and amenities. With this funding, we hope to accommodate more children, elderly, men, and women in providing basic necessities, such as water, shelter, and food,” she said.

Legarda also said that Php1.25 Billion has been allocated for the DSWD’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) to serve as a standby fund for rehabilitation and relief programs, including the prepositioning of goods and equipment, for communities or areas stricken by calamities, epidemics, crises, and catastrophes.

“We indeed want our budget for next year to be pro-people or makatao, and to be as inclusive as possible. Increasing our budget for our social welfare agency is both an investment for our future and a testament of our government’s compassion and service to its people,” Legarda concluded.