DEPARTMENT of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian has reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to look after the protection and well-being of solo parents in the country during his first official visit to Abra province.

According to a DSWD news release issued Thursday, Gatchalian made the commitment Wednesday after leading the distribution of P2,000 in cash assistance to some 2,850 solo parents from 27 municipalities in the province.

In his speech, Gatchalian said that as a former three-term mayor of Valenzuela City, he had seen the work and the hardships encountered by solo parents, and their need for assistance.

“They toil to earn a living and at the same time, care for their children, with many having no other support,” he said.

“Ang panata namin sa DSWD, aalagaan ang solo parents, hindi lamang dito sa Abra, kundi sa buong Pilipinas. Maraming bagong programa ang ilalabas sa darating na buwan (Our vow in DSWD is to take care of solo parents, not just here in Abra, but in the entire Philippines. There will be new programs that will be implemented in the coming months),” the DSWD Secretary said.

The assistance is in line with the enactment of RA 11861 as amended, which mandates the provision of adequate social protection programs for solo parents from the government.

Gatchalian lauded the province of Abra for having an organized solo parents group, noting the province’s advanced initiatives for the sector.

He said that the DSWD will continue to partner with Abra and other local government units (LGUs) for the provision of assistance to the sector, especially with the implementation of the new law on solo parents.

Abra Governor Dominic Valera hosted the activity and welcomed the DSWD delegation headed by Gatchalian, along with Undersecretary Denise Florence Bragas and DSWD Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD-CAR) Director Leo Quintilla.

DSWD facilities inspection

During his visit, Gatchalian also conducted an ocular inspection of the DSWD satellite office as well as the agency’s warehouse in the province to check and ensure the availability of food and non-food items in cases of calamities and disasters.

He, likewise, visited the Bahay Pag-asa center for children in conflict with the law, which is a facility managed by the LGU.

Gatchalian also took the opportunity to personally express his appreciation to the the staff of DSWD-Field Office CAR, especially those assigned in Abra for their continued compassionate service to the locals.

Since his appointment in Jan. 31, Gatchalian has been visiting the different facilities of the DSWD across the country in line with his goal of improving these structures to ensure quality public service to the people. (PNA)