Soliman confident Taguiwalo will continue DSWD’s anti-poverty gains

Patty Pasion
Soliman confident Taguiwalo will continue DSWD’s anti-poverty gains
DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman has met with successor Judy Taguiwalo twice. She will give President-elect Duterte's nominee the final transition report on June 28.

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman said that the transition process with her successor Judy Taguiwalo has started.

According to the outgoing DSWD chief, she met with Taguiwalo a day after the latter’s appointment as a member of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet. They met a second time for Taguiwalo’s orientation.  

Soliman described her meeting with Taguiwalo as “very cordial [and] very warm” since they come from the same background.  

“Dr Taguiwalo and I both came from the College of Social Welfare and Community Development of UP (University of the Philippines). She was ahead of me,” Soliman said.

Soliman said that their conversation was more about the agency’s administrative matters and procedures.

She said, however, that Taguiwalo reiterated in their meeting that she would review the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to check how many benefitted from it and how to make the program better.

Taguiwalo considers including a livelihood component in the program.

Soliman said they will meet again on June 28, two days before the incoming administration assumes office, to give her successor the final transition report. This includes all her recommendations to Taguiwalo.

She refused to disclose the contents of the report, saying the incoming secretary should be the first to read the report.

New administration

Soliman expressed confidence that under Taguiwalo the department will continue its gains.

“[She’s] well-rooted with working with the poor. She’s well-rooted in working with workers’ rights because [she was a] union leader in UP. So I am confident that the poverty reduction work through people empowerment would be a principle that she will uphold.”   

She added, “I believe that she will review the programs and see [how the] programs will be improved, how can it be made better.”

DSWD under Soliman has been criticized on various issues, among them the rehabilitation after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) claimed thousands of lives and devastated Eastern Visayas.

A year after the calamity, DSWD admitted that P2.8 million worth of relief goods were spoiled without being distributed to the victims. Soliman explained at the time that it was due to “improper handling” since some staff had been negligent.

Meanwhile last year, the Commission on Audit (COA) found that P382.072 million worth of funds from local and foreign donors remained idle in the DSWD’s bank accounts. (READ: COA: Yolanda fund, donations did not reach victims)

Another point of criticism against the current DSWD leadership is the controversial Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the flagship poverty reduction program of the Aquino administration. (READ: The costs and benefits of Pantawid Pamilya

Although the country’s version of the conditional cash transfer program is the 5th biggest globally, according to World Bank, it has been criticized for being a mere doleout, without leading families to becoming sustainable in the long run.

The Aquino administration has also been accused of using the 4Ps to fund the campaign of Liberal Party candidates in the recent elections. Soliman said at Monday’s briefing that the DSWD is ready to be audited to belie the accusation. 

Taguiwalo had said she wants to review the program and check how it can go beyond giving financial assistance.

“We’re providing them financial assistance to send their children to school, para sa check-up, but the asset reforms – own a land, get a job – that’s what I want to look into in coordination with other agencies,” she said in a previous interview with GMA News. 

‘Better politics’ 

Soliman said she hoped that the next administration would have “better politics,” so the delivery of services is not hindered.

She said that dealing with politics had been one of the toughest hurdles she faced as head of the department. “It’s a big balancing act of doing the difficult right and the easy wrong.”

She explained: “The politics that getting the budget passed, the politics of having your policy heard, the politics of delivering the program…. You have to deal with it. It s not all the time easy and it is not all the time consistent with what you believe you should be doing,” she explained. – Rappler.com

Meet other members of the Duterte Cabinet: LIST: Who’s who in the incoming Duterte Cabinet

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.