Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian discusses his plans for the DSWD, particularly its efforts to end hunger and improve disaster response operations, with United Nations Resident Coordinator to the Philippines Gustavo González during a meeting held on Friday, February 10, 2023 at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City. (DSWD PHOTO)


Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian discussed with United Nations (UN) representatives to the Philippines potential opportunities to further strengthen their partnership for the government’s social protection programs in a meeting held at the DSWD Central Office on Feb. 10.

Gatchalian discussed with the UN representatives, led by UN Resident Coordinator to the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez, his plans for the DSWD to explore partnerships and further improve the agency’s efforts to end poverty and hunger and strengthen disaster resilience of Filipinos.

“One of the priorities that I am trying to pitch to the Marcos administration is the fight against poverty,” Gatchalian said, noting that to end poverty, DSWD must first address the problem of hunger that many communities across the country are experiencing.

One of the steps that should be taken is to have digital food stamps that can be used by its recipients to purchase goods at grocery stores and supermarkets, he added.

Gatchalian also pointed out that DSWD’s goal is to mobilize enumerators to identify individuals and families experiencing hunger, specifically targeting the 1.5 million households in pockets of poverty.

He asked the UN for help in financing the said project.

Gonzalez responded by saying that the UN is ready to provide the necessary technical assistance, as well as other resources needed to launch the proposal of the DSWD chief.

He also commended Gatchalian for his proposed mechanism to end hunger.

Gatchalian promised to draft a concept note with the help of the DSWD’s Team to End Hunger, which is composed of social workers.

The rough draft will be presented to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization for further improvement.

Gatchalian also shared his proposal to strengthen DSWD’s supply chain system by establishing hubs and spokes at the regional and local levels for quick response operations during disasters.

Meanwhile, the UN team mentioned that the organization is currently pilot-testing the Anticipatory Action for predictable hazards in Bicol and Eastern Visayas.

This mechanism provides relief items and other goods to areas that may be affected by disasters.

In June 2022, the DSWD and the United Nations Children’s Fund signed an agreement to implement multi-purpose unconditional cash transfers to municipalities vulnerable to typhoons.

Gatchalian aims to replicate the said mechanism in the DSWD’s overall disaster action plan.

He said DSWD will formulate guidelines for anticipatory action for cash transfers to the poor, as well as the “near-poor.”