By Zaldy De Layola
MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is set to concretized its plans to end hunger in the country and strengthen its disaster response mechanisms following a meeting between DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian and a United Nations delegation that reaffirmed existing ties and established new partnerships over the two issues.
In an agency press release issued Thursday, Gatchalian said one of his plans to mitigate hunger and achieve food security is through digital food stamps that can be used by its recipients to buy goods in grocery stores and supermarkets.
“With the digital food stamps, it will also become beneficial to the rural farmers as he plans to connect them and their crops to the local markets,” he said.
To strengthen the disaster response mechanism of the DSWD, Gatchalian reiterated his priority to add warehouses and establish hubs and spokes in strategic locations in the country.
“This is to ensure immediate assistance to the affected individuals, especially those residing in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA),” he said.
Gatchalian said the agency is set to create a team to lead the formulation of the proposals, which will include representatives from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
For its part, the United Nations will provide the necessary technical assistance, as well as the resources needed to successfully implement the proposals.
This was the offshoot of the meeting between Gatchalian and the United Nation Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Gustavo Gonzales; Development Coordination Office (DCO) Regional Director for Asia Pacific David Mclachlan-Karr; and other UN delegates last Feb. 17 at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.
Besides assuring support for Gatchalian’s proposals, the UN delegation told the Secretary that they are currently pilot-testing the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for Anticipatory Action (AA) for predictable hazards in the Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas.
Under the CERF AA pilot, beneficiaries will be provided with top-up cash transfers three days before the predicted landfall of a typhoon.
Gatchalian also gave his full support after Gonzalez cited that one of the UN’s top priorities include providing assistance to the Bangsamoro people, proof of which is the inclusion of BARMM representatives in the team that will formulate the DSWD proposals that will be presented to the UN.
DSWD shares Listahanan 3 data to PSA for nat’l ID use
Meanwhile, DSWD has formally shared the Listahanan 3 data sets to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which the latter requested for use for the prioritization of applicants for the Philippine Identification System or PhilSys registration, as guided by Republic Act 11055.
Through the directive and approval of Gatchalian, the Listahanan 3 data sets were turned over to the PSA in ceremonies held last Feb. 22 at the DSWD Central Office.
The DSWD officially launched the Listahanan 3 results of the nationwide household assessment on Nov. 23, 2022, which also signaled the DSWD’s readiness to enter into data sharing partnerships with social protection stakeholders such as concerned national government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations, private sector and other interested parties.
Maria Fides Wilma A. Marquez, chief of the PSA Social Protection Use Cases Division, said matching the Listahanan database against the PhilSys Registry “is one step towards ensuring that all Filipinos have legal form of identity and eventually, to be able to use their PhilSys credentials to access government services.”
PSA committed that the said data matching will be carried out in strict compliance with existing data privacy laws and protocols.
The DSWD likewise assured the public that it continues to adhere to the Data Privacy Act of 2012 to protect data subjects of the Listahanan 3 from unauthorized access, disclosure, and unlawful processing. (PNA)