Choose apolitical DSWD chief, PBBM asked

January 29, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 103 views

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been urged to appoint an “apolitical” secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

According to Minority Leader 4Ps Party-list Rep. Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan, the secratry of DSWD must not have plans to run for an elective position.

“We would urge the President to appoint a DSWD secretary who is not interested or involved in politics, and who has a lot of compassion for the poor and marginalized,” Libanan said.

“The country does not need a DSWD head who is keen on running for public office in the 2025 or 2028 elections,” he added.

To date, the DSWD is headed by Officer-in-Charge Edu Punay.

Libanan pointed out that a department chief who has his or her sights set on a future election would be easily distracted at work.

The recent widespread flooding in Eastern Visayas and other parts of the country has betrayed the need for a fast-acting DSWD, according to Libanan.

Due to weather disturbances in the first two weeks of 2023, rains, floods and landslides claimed the lives of 17 people across the country and distressed a total of 523,991 individuals from 121,950 families, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

In the 2023 General Appropriations Law, Libanan said the DSWD has a budget of P4.12 billion for Disaster Response and Management, including P1.75 billion for a Quick Response Fund (QRF).

The QRF is a stand-by fund for rehabilitation and relief activities, including the prepositioning of goods and equipment to help quickly normalize living conditions in communities hit by calamities and other emergencies.

The post of DSWD secretary became vacant after the bicameral Commission on Appointments bypassed Erwin Tulfo’s appointment over libel and citizenship issues in December.