Newly appointed Social Welfare Secretary Rexlon T. Gatchalian on Thursday vowed to fix logistical issues affecting the government’s aid distribution, which he said should be further decentralized.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would craft a detailed “distribution network” for the delivery of aid to communities, he told One News Channel. “We will divide provincial offices into smaller units so we can respond quicker.”
He said the pandemic had given the government a chance to boost partnerships with the private sector in calamity response — something that should be considered in social protection programs. He cited public-private partnerships in delivering coronavirus vaccines to local sites.
“There are logistics and supply chain companies out there that are willing to help,” he said. “I learned that when I was still a mayor.”
Mr. Gatchalian said he is in talks with some companies to help the agency “come up with a logistics plan.”
The new Social Welfare chief vowed to continue his predecessor’s efforts to streamline the delivery of social protection programs, including financial assistance.
Mr. Gatchalian said he had told President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. at a recent meeting that it is high time for the government to digitalize the distribution of cash aid. “Ease of doing social welfare is important.”
He said Erwin T. Tulfo, his predecessor, had started streamlining the process for claiming financial assistance by removing redundant requirements. “We will continue that and at the same time fix the database.”
“We have been using a lot of databases. It’s about time to determine which database to use,” he said, noting that the government has been relying on various agencies, including the statistics agency and National Economic and Development Authority.
“We can digitalize but if the list of beneficiaries is not fixed, that’s also a problem.” Mr. Gatchalian said his leadership would harness the potential of technology for social welfare.
The presidential palace announced his appointment on Tuesday. The DSWD was led by an officer-in-charge for more than a month after Mr. Tulfo, a Marcos appointee, resigned after being bypassed by the Commission on Appointments. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza