To ensure the safety of its personnel and beneficiaries, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista issued guidelines in support of the directives of President Rodrigo Duterte to further control the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the country.
Bautista signed Department Advisory Number 1 on March 14, 2020, outlining the various steps to be taken by the department to safeguard its workforce, internal, and external stakeholders, and to prevent the spread of the disease.
Among the priority actions was the temporary suspension of some of the department’s programs and services that require meeting or gathering of beneficiaries and other stakeholders from March 15 to April 14.
The department is temporarily suspending the following:
– payouts of Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens and Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT);
– activities of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) particularly the administration of Social Welfare and Development Indicator (SWDI), over-the-counter pay-outs and distribution of cash cards;
– activities in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Offsite Serbisyo, Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP), Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), and Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS);
– and service delivery assessments.
In a statement on Monday, March 16, 2020, the Department said that it is “deeply concerned with the health of the beneficiaries and its personnel that it decided to temporarily suspend the activities of certain programs and services”.
This step will minimize the exposure of beneficiaries, especially those from vulnerable groups such as children, persons with disabilities, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, and senior citizens, as well as DSWD employees from the threats of COVID-19, it added.
DSWD will assess the temporary suspension from time to time to ensure responsiveness of the policy to the evolving situation.
This will be done, it said, to determine if the suspension of some program activities will have to be continued or otherwise.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday afternoon has placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine.
This comes as the latest in a string of measures after Duterte last week approved the hoisting of Code Red Sublevel 2 and placing Metro Manila under general community quarantine.
On Sunday, March 15, 2020, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that the total number of patients with the viral disease has reached 140.
Among them is a 13-year-old girl from Quezon City, who is the youngest patient who tested positive for the disease in the country.