The Department of Social Welfare and Development strengthens its link with its counterparts at the local level by refocusing and leading them to quality service along administration and organization, program management, case management and office physical structure and safety.

In a recently held Social Welfare and Development (SWD) Forum, the result of the Baseline Assessment of the Functionality of the Local Social Welfare and Development Offices (LSWDOs) in the Province of Pangasinan was presented in preparation for its second assessment this year.

Looking into the crucial role of these LSWDOs as frontliners in the provision of basic social services, there is a need to re-align them to the focus of DSWD for the attainment of its goals in the next 15 years.

Acknowledged by Pangasinan Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Emilio P. Samson Jr., the results of the assessment lead to improving the functionality of LSWDOs as well as identifying their need on the technical assistance and resource augmentation (TARA) by the DSWD.

Drafting the TARA plan and inclusion of identified areas of collaboration responding to immediate issues and concerns were done during the Forum.

Policy and Plans Division Chief Anniely Ferrer reiterated the concrete impact of the combined efforts of DSWD, Local Government Units and all partners, which is 11 million lives changed by 2016, with Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries as the focus of poverty reduction programs.

Chief Ferrer explained that through the empowerment of beneficiaries, DSWD is considered as the lead shepherd in the improvement of the quality of life of the poor. In terms of human development and social protection, the Agency is already playing this role as evidenced by its leadership in inter-agency councils. Finally, she remarked that the LSWDOs should also be at par with the DSWD when it comes to the quality of service delivery.

Planning Unit Head Melecio Ubilas, Jr. also presented the levels of functionality as follows: fully functional, 100% compliance to 91 indicators; functional, complied to 51%-99% score per work area; partially functional LSWDO, having complied utmost 50%.

Santa Barbara MSWDO Wilma Coquia shared the positive result of the functionality baseline assessment that led to the creation of 2 additional positions in her office. With the immediate response of the Local Chief Executive on this, they are not strained in attaining the fully functional level.

Disaster management training, treatment/intervention plans and progress report preparation were some identified activities for implementation in response to the needs of these LSWDOs in Pangasinan.

This Forum will also be conducted with LSWDOs of La Union, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte as the Department’s way in enabling its local counterparts to provide high quality of services, Ferrer mentioned. (by: Iryn D. Cubangbang, Information Officer II with report from Planning Unit)