Solon hits massive budget cut on DSWD 2018 capital outlay

14 August 2018

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio opposed the budget cut of about 90% on the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) capital outlay (CO) during the hearing Wednesday on the its 2018 budget.

“This massive budget cut of almost 90% in the CO will greatly affect the direct services offered by the DSWD to vulnerable sectors such as senior citizens, children, persons with disability, women, solo parents, homeless families, and disaster victims.  The CO which the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) included in the proposed budget was only P30.9 million, far below the P362.3 million in the 2017 budget or P3.4 billion that the DSWD requested from the DBM during the budget call,” Tinio pointed.

The DSWD’s infrastructure outlay of previous years ranged from P238.8 million in 2014 to P909.4 million in 2016.

The solon explained that the budget cut will hinder the DSWD’s performance of its main mandate which is providing a wide range of direct services to vulnerable sectors. “For instance, a CO of P30.9 million will not enable DSWD to repair the dilapidated centers and homes for the elderly and construct more of these institutions. Repair and construction of these centers and homes are necessary, considering that there are only 71 nationwide and not all provinces, municipalities and cities have them, according to the DSWD.  This CO cannot build and maintain public orphanages or child centers and other social welfare institutions.”

“The government should give DSWD a budget that will enable it to fulfill its various functions and mandate of ensuring social welfare and development especially to vulnerable and marginalized sectors,” Tinio stressed.  “It should not give DSWD the kind of budget that transforms it into a mere cash transfer agency.”

Tinio explained that only the ballooning funds for CCT or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program have made DSWD consistently one of the agencies with the highest budgets.  “In reality, it is one of the agencies with the poorest funding, if we take away the CCT.  And we should, since the 4Ps is a mere safety net or band aid measure that does not really eradicate poverty.  The 4Ps should not be one of the programs of the DSWD, or the entire government, for that matter.”

The solon added that, over the years, government has been ballooning the funds for CCT to the detriment of DSWD’s other programs.  “The DSWD’s budget in 2007 was only P3.5 billion before the CCT. Then in 2008, the first implementation of CCT, DSWD budget was P11.3 billion, P298 million (3% of total DSWD budget) of which is for CCT. Then in 2011, the budget for CCT increased up to P21 billion (62%). Now, the CCT budget is P89 billion (65%). Meanwhile, all other programs and projects of DSWD are being underfunded.”

“We call for an increase in the DSWD’s CO of P3.4 billion as proposed by DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.  Frankly, this budget cut is too much,” Tinio ended. ###