By Connie Destura
LEGAZPI CITY --- The Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) will have a new home here with the groundbreaking held Tuesday afternoon for a P120M office building.
DSWD Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin, who was guest of honor representing OIC Secretary Emmanuel Leyco, said, “We are proud to be part of this momentous event and this initiative is being done to provide safe, suitable and secure facilities.”
Arnel Garcia, DSWD regional director, said he is grateful for the progress they are experiencing with the start of their headquarters’ construction. “This is a longtime dream which has come into fruition,” he said.
Garcia said that the new DSWD building near the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and in front of Bureau of Treasury would be closer to the public because of its strategic location.
“This is a milestone for the DSWD because we can now have a conducive office space for our manpower and especially for our clients: those people seeking for financial assistance, local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations (CSOs) and other groups who wish to avail of our programs and services,” Garcia said.
The existing DSWD building at Buraguis, Legazpi City was constructed 35 years ago and can only accommodate 65 persons. It will remain as an extension office of DSWD once the new building is completed.
The actual number of DSWD employees who report at the said office is more or less 300 based on the Human Resource and Development Unit (HRDU) data.
“The DSWD Regional Office has grown with a total of 2,800 personnel and 10 percent report to the regional office,” Garcia added.
The construction of the two-storey building worth PHP120 million will be completed in three years, on the 3,000-square meter lot which was granted to DSWD through the efforts of the Regional Development Council (RDC).
However, an initial cost of PHP18 million was downloaded for the sub-soil exploration and construction of fencing and the ground floor of the main building grid one to seven.
“The remaining amount was already requested from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to complete the building in three years’ time but we will lobby to facilitate that this will be done in a shorter period,” Gudmalin said.
Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, for his part, said, “We are very lucky to witness this historic event because after 35 years, we will have a DSWD Regional Headquarters.”
The governor also offered lots in Ligao City for the DSWD’s Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY), and a space for the DSWD warehouse in Legazpi City.