An anniversary story-A A +A
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
FIRST of all, let me congratulate the indefatigable women and men of the Department of Social Welfare and Development as they celebrate their 62nd anniversary.
For this issue, the Social Focus will give you a glimpse on the journey of the country’s lead agency in social protection in the Cordillera.
In July 15, 1987, recognizing the binding cultural heritage and the region’s great potential for self sufficiency, President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No. 220 to formally establish an Administrative Region in the Cordillera.
This development signaled the establishment of the Department of Social Welfare and Development – Field Office Cordillera Administrative Region in February 1988, about 37 years after the formal institution of the Social Welfare Administration in 1951, and a year after the name Department was established over the old Ministry of Social Welfare and Development (MSWD).
The DSWD Field Office in the Cordillera was originally housed from where it stands today. The old building was then the Community Center of Baguio. Before the devolution in 1991, the City Social Welfare and Development Office (OCSWDO) was under DSWD-CAR.
When the Field Office was established, Director Constancia C. Mangaoang was installed as the first regional director in 1989. Her short stint as regional director in CAR was succeeded by then Assistant Regional Director Porfiria M. Bernardez in 1991.
The Cordillera Field Office was also led by the following Regional Directors who gave estimable contributions to the growth of the organization and the regional office: Director Leticia Gumbao (1997-1998), Director Dulfie Tobias-Shalim (2004-2006), Director Porfiria M. Bernardez (1999-2004 and 2007-2010), Director Godelyn B. Iremedio (2010-2011).
Today, Director Leonardo C. Reynoso, who hails from Quezon province, leads the strong soldiers of social and development workers in the region.
The establishment of the Field Office in a young region like CAR was definitely not an easy task. The DSWD had to work with limited manpower and resources to deliver social services to the highland region. Due to its unique geographic makeup, poverty due to inaccessibility was rampant and that communication was apparently crude.
The era of its institution to the 1990 Luzon earthquake was a test to the agency’s perseverance in reaching the underprivileged communities in the region. This was also the times when the unity and resiliency of social and development workers were greatly manifested.
Through the years, the Field Office was able to recover and move forward. It ushered developments and improvements in its programs and services as well as on its facilities.
The Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC) was established in January of 1991 at Wangal La Trinidad, Benguet through a lease at the local government. It was the first center established in the region which serves as a residential facility to children 0-6 years old.
In October of the same year, the Regional Haven for Women and Girls (The Haven) was established through funding support from the Congressional Spouses Foundation Incorporated (CSFI). It is a center-based facility for the vulnerable, disadvantaged, and abused women needing protective custody and psycho-social care.
To push for the improvement of its facilities, the regional office was able to achieve major physical improvements to include the construction of the DSWD Training Center and Secretary’s Cottage in 2008, the DSWD-CAR Field Office Building in 2009, and the Regional Rehabilitation Center for the Youth in 2009.
The DSWD Training Center and Secretary’s Cottage at Engineer’s Hill was constructed in 2008 from the existing cottage which was originally built in the 1920s when the government center housed the summer cottages of national agencies. DSWD was able to secure the land from an allocation given to the Social Welfare Administration originally the Public Welfare Board.
Today, the agency is taking the lead in poverty reduction efforts of government through programs that empower the people. DSWD combines systems and social technologies which have been proven to effectively and efficiently create impact on the poor.
The DSWD currently implements the conditional cash transfer program alongside the community-driven development program and the sustainable livelihood program, three programs that banner the social protection efforts of the Philippine government.
For 25 years now, DSWD-CAR has continued to deliver programs and services rooted from its vision of a community where the poor and vulnerable are empowered for an improved quality of life.
At present, DSWD-CAR chairs the Social Development Committee of the Regional Development Council putting the agency in the most strategic position to push for social protection and development in the highest regional body.
With the region’s colorful culture and the vibrant spirit of workers for social protection, just like the Cordilleran weave, DSWD-CAR is a living testimony of public service that is woven strong among its workers and the people.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 30, 2013.