Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto expressed dissatisfaction over the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) flawed aid distribution to indigent students.
Recto said the DSWD serves 61.6 million people, more than half of the population, with only 2,993 regular personnel, “the lowest regular staff-to-clientele ratio in the entire bureaucracy.”
“Never has so much been done for so many by so few,” Recto said in a statement.
He said DSWD’s lean staff complement means that it spends “4.5 centavos for every budget peso” for personnel compensation.
Such is lower than DepEd’s 81 percent, DAR’s 49 percent, and the national government’s 28 percent share of personnel services cost to total budget, he said.
To shore up DSWD’s small regular staff, DWSD has resorted to what has become a “permanent band-aid ” of hiring temporary employees, Recto said.
This is the “army of casuals,” which, per latest COA report, consists mostly of 13,252 “contractuals,” 12,326 “Contract of Service” and 878 “Job Order” personnel, Recto said.
He urged the DSWD, the DBM and the Civil Service Commission to speed up the process of changing the employment status of those qualified to regular.
With a 2022 budget of P205 billion, Recto described the DSWD as “a big ATM – Ayuda at Tulong Machine.”
It maintains a regular payroll bigger than the national government’s, in terms of payees, said Recto.
These are the 4.4 million households of 22 million people under the 4Ps grant and the 3,835, 066 indigent seniors who each get a P500 pension a month.
“The combined P132.7 billion budget of the two alone – P107.7 billion for 4Ps and P25 billion for senior pension – is higher than the Agriculture department’s P102.5 billion budget this year.”
Recto said DSWD also runs a “big catering operation,” feeding 1,936,868 children age two to five in community and neighborhood sites, with a hot meal each day for 120 days, at a cost of P4.2 billion, “for a total of 234 million meals served.”
Another big ticket item in the DSWD’s budget, Recto pointed out, is the P39.9 billion for “Protective Services for Individuals and Families in Difficult Circumstances.” The program aims to help 3.06 million families.
Recto said the DSWD also invests in “microenterprise startups” with a budget of P4.8 billion this year.
The agency also maintains a network of traditional center-based facilities, such as those for battered women and abandoned children, for which it was given P2 billion to attend to 11,000 wards.
The agency also has P1.25 billion as Quick Reaction Fund authorized under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund which it uses to maintain depots of relief goods.
Because its functions were devolved to local governments three decades ago, DSWD maintains no office at the city or municipal level.