DSWD prepares personnel affected by devolution

By Connie Calipay

The Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) in Bicol is now preparing for and providing technical upgrading and capacity building to its employees who will be affected by the full devolution of its services to local government units (LGUs) pursuant to the Supreme Court decision in the Mandanas-Garcia case.


Leo Quintilla, DSWD Bicol regional director, said some 700 of their employees will lose their jobs once the ruling is implemented anytime this year because their functions will be devolved to LGUs.


He said they want to ensure that the employees who will be separated from DSWD will be prioritized in the hiring programs of LGUs.


“For LGUs, these DSWD staff are already trained, they know the programs and services, and they can implement it immediately, then it already solves half of their problems,” Quintilla said.


As a result of the full devolution, DSWD, he said, will discontinue its eight welfare services such as the supplementary feeding program, assistance to persons with disabilities, comprehensive program for street children, program for older persons, recovery and reintegration program for trafficked persons, assistance to individuals in a crisis, sustainable livelihood program and the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS).


As part of their strategy and phasing of devolution transition, Quintilla said at least four programs will be devolved to LGUs this year, two for 2023 and two for 2024.


Devolution is the delegation of power to a lower level, especially by the central government to the local administration.


“With money from the national government being shifted to the LGUs, funds for key social welfare services of the DSWD will now be transferred to them. This means that LGUs will have an expanded role and funding to directly implement these programs and services,” Quintilla said.


He said relative to the full devolution, DSWD will still help the LGUs in policy development, research development, standards-setting and regulatory function, capacity building, technical assistance.


“We will also help in the resource augmentation, monitoring and evaluation, and program evaluation and program audit,” he noted.


Quintilla said part of their communication strategy is to ensure that the programs will be continuous even if there is a change of administration among LGUs.


“Our advocacy, in different LGUs officials starting with our local social welfare officers, is to communicate with our chief executive and Sanggunian of their role in the devolution,” he added.


The Mandanas-Garcia ruling of the High Tribunal resulted from the petition made by Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas and former Bataan Governor Enrique Garcia Jr. on LGUs’ shares of the internal revenue allotment in 2013.


The decision specifies that the just share of LGUs, also known as Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), must be computed based on all national taxes, and not just from National Internal Revenue Taxes, including other taxes such as those collected by the Bureau of Customs and other agencies authorized to collect the NIRT. (PNA)