By Zaldy De Layola

DSWD chief Rex Gatchalian (File photo)

MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian on Wednesday said government compassion should be felt by the people it serves.

Gatchalian made this comment as he visited nine of the DSWD’s 13 centers and residential care facilities in the National Capital Region (NCR) to make sure that they are in good condition and have adequate personnel to properly respond to their needs.

The facilities include the Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC); Golden Reception and Action Center for the Elderly and Other Special Cases (GRACES); National Vocational Rehabilitation Center (NVRC); Rehabilitation Sheltered Workshop (RSW); the Bahay Silungan located in Quezon City; the Sanctuary Center; Nayon ng Kabataan (NK); Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking-Trafficked-in-Persons (IACAT-TIP) Center; and the Jose Fabella Center (JFC) located in Mandaluyong City.

“Kung tayo ay sasagip…, hindi naman pwede na hindi nila maramdaman ang kalinga. Dapat ay sapat at maayos ang titirahan,” (If we are to save, we need to make sure that they (clients) will feel our compassion. The residential care centers should be livable and comfortable),” he said.

During his visit, Gatchalian also lauded the hardworking personnel who serve the DSWD care facilities.

He first visited RSCC which caters to abandoned, neglected and/or abused children 0 to 6 years of age.

RSCC head Glenda Derla said the maximum capacity of the 59-year-old facility has been reduced to 30 from 120 as some of its cottages and buildings had been deemed for demolition.

Derla said the budget had been allocated for the renovation of the center but could not start yet since the title to the lot has not been issued as the full transfer of the lot, which was donated during the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. through a Presidential Decree, has not been finalized.

Gatchalian said he will immediately seek a consultation with the National Housing Authority (NHA) officials to address the RSCC’s concerns.

He also learned that GRACES, the newly built center for abandoned and neglected elderly, cannot be fully utilized due to electrical problem, the same concern noted in NK center for street children.

Though the Sanctuary Center for women with special needs boasts new structures and facilities, its staff claimed they have not been provided with hazard pay. Gatchalian committed to addressing the problem.

Gatchalian also found out that other facilities he visited have their own problems which he will address through consultation with DSWD-NCR Director Monina Josefina Romualdez.

Meanwhile, the DSWD provided financial assistance to indigent National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI) patients, on the occasion of the hospital’s 40th founding anniversary last Monday. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. attended the event.

Some 160 indigent patients admitted to the hospital received PHP10,000 each facilitated by the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).

Aside from cash assistance, families and individuals who are in a crisis situation may avail of medical, burial, transportation and educational assistance through the AICS.

In 2022, a total of 5,336,381 individuals in crisis situations were provided with outright cash and other assistance. (PNA)