Senator Nancy Binay thanked fellow senators for putting a smile on the faces of the elderly and abandoned children under the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
During the hearing for the 2018 proposed budget of the DSWD, Binay asked for a P1 billion increase in the DSWD’s budget intended to support and improve the agency’s activity centers and care institutions.
“What Senator Loren Legarda revealed yesterday about the current state of our DSWD centers was very depressing. Due to the lack of funding, not all these centers can provide the care and support for our elderly and children. As our welfare agency, the DSWD must be capacitated and able to step in to help,” the legislator said.
Senator Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, conceded that the agency’s 71 activity centers nationwide were not allocated capital outlay for its facilities for the past few years.
Legarda even detailed that there are DSWD activity centers that have patients and residents who sleep on the floors because these centers did not have enough beds.
The GRACES Home for the Elderly in Quezon City has a bed capacity of 200 patients. However, it is now home for 285 senior citizens. The DSWD Reception and Study Center can house up to 505 children but it currently has 765 residents.
“Nakakapanlumong malaman ang kasalukuyang kalagayan ng ating mga DSWD centers. Hindi makatao ang ganitong pagtrato sa ating kapwa. Kaya naman nating silang alagaan. Bakit natin hahayaang maging ganito?” Binay asked.
Legarda also suggested amendments to the agency’s capital outlay budget for rehabilitation and construction of new buildings and facilities. The Senate Finance chair likewise asked for an increase in the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) so the DSWD can supplement the daily operations of the centers.
“This is why we suggested for the P1 billion amendment to the proposed 2018 DSWD budget so that the agency can fund new facilities and activity centers throughout the country. We need this amendment so that our elderly and abandoned children can have nutritious meals thrice a day and they have a comfortable bed to sleep in,” Binay said.
“This is our government’s mandate to its people. Kailangan nating punan ang mga pagkukulang. Tama lamang na ating alagaan ang ating mga nakatatanda at mga kabataan,” Binay said.