THE Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, the appointment of Rex Gatchalian as the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Among the matters tackled during the deliberation for Gatchalian’s confirmation were the continuous provision of financial aid to poor Filipino families, streamlining DSWD processes and the full implementation of the Community Based Monitoring System (CBMS).
Gatchalian said that graduates of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are already considered “non-poor” but at “one shock” similar to the Covid-19 pandemic, a death of a family member and calamity or disaster “will slip them back to poverty.”
"There are multiple studies from the ADB (Asian Development Bank) that says our near-poor are also poor. And we're failing to take care of them, so now we're about to share P16 billion if I'm not mistaken for our 4Ps graduates as well as our near-poor," he said.
He said the DSWD is also working on entrusting the distribution of the 4Ps cash assistance to the local government units as well as with other programs agreeing that the agency does not have enough manpower to do so efficiently.
Gatchalian also pushed for the increase of the budget for the DSWD’s feeding program from P21 per head to P27.
He said in 2024, the CBMS will be the main driver for a poverty database program instead of the agency’s “Listahan.” It will include a list of poor families as well as their locations. It will be under the responsibility of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
“Listahanan is not responsive as naging kongkreto na yung bahay, nasa Listahanan pa din. Humirap na yung tao pero wala pa din sa listahan,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian was Valenzuela City’s representative at the House of Representative before his appointment as DSWD chief. He served as the mayor of Valenzuela City for nine years.
He replaced Erwin Tulfo, whose appointment was bypassed by the CA twice over citizenship issues as well as conviction over libel in 2000. (SunStar Philippines)