P35M fund for foster care, adoption social workers still ‘in limbo’ – senators
MANILA, Philippines — Senators Pia Cayetano and Imee Marcos on Tuesday aired their frustration over the non-release of the P35 million allocation for foster care and adoption social worker positions, saying the amount remains “in limbo.”
Cayetano raised her exasperation during the Senate plenary debates on the 2021 national budget, noting that there are around 1.8 million Filipino children “who are neglected, abandoned, left behind.”
According to the senator, Congress was able to allocate the P35 million in the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in 2020.
“My staff happily reported to me that the budget is intact. This is the bad news now. The bad news now is the budget is there but it’s not moving,” she added.
She said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has not yet released this funding because it required a justification from DSWD.
“DBM has required DSWD to justify. It boggles my mind, ano ‘yung ija-justify? There’re 1.8 million children estimated that need to be put in loving homes and we put P35 million already to cover the plantilla positions,” Cayetano said.
(DBM has required DSWD to justify. It boggles my mind, what else is left to justify? There’re 1.8 million children estimated that need to be put in loving homes and we put P35 million already to cover the plantilla positions.)
“The reality is this: [Ang] DSWD, ‘pag nagkaroon tayo ng calamity lahat sila ang focus nila calamity, calamity, calamity. Eh paano naman ‘yung calamity ng 1.8 million Filipino children na walang nanay?” she added.
(The reality is this: The DSWD, when a calamity strikes, all of their focus goes to calamity, calamity, calamity. What about the calamity being experienced by these 1.8 million Filipino children who have no mothers?)
Cayetano stressed the importance of having additional social and administrative workers tasked to place these children in foster care or adoption.
“Hindi naman napakalaking halaga [This is not a big amount]. To ensure the process of foster care and adoption truly protects the child, it goes through a very rigorous interview process,” the senator pointed out.
“There’s a process and not anyone can do that, these are licensed social workers and then we also need admin personnel,” she added.
Senator Imee Marcos, who defended DSWD’s 2021 budget, shared Cayetano’s frustration.
It was “absolutely infuriating,” she said, that the P35 million “continues to be in limbo.”
“Sayang naman. May pera na naging bato pa,” Marcos said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.