Issue of October 13, 2019
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Calamity-stricken towns need MSWD officers – solon
by Harley F. Palangchao

Benguet Rep. Nestor Fongwan, Sr. has filed bill seeking to amend another provision of the 1991 Local Government Code, this time making the position of social welfare and development officer mandatory in all municipal governments in the country.

Fongwan, in House Bill 4467, explained that Sec. 483 of the LGC provides that the appointment of social welfare and development officer is mandatory in provincial and city governments, and optional for municipal government.

Such provision of the LGC, Fongwan said, hampers the delivery of government services especially in remote and lower class municipalities.

Saying that social and development officers play crucial roles in the delivery of services especially for the marginalized sectors and during calamities, Fongwan said it is high time that such provision of the LGC be amended.

“The functions of the position of the social welfare and development officer in the municipal level are of outmost importance. Faced with problems of social deviations, poverty, care of the elders, the needy, and differently-abled citizens of society, municipal governments recognize the position is crucial in government service,” Fongwan said.

The solon also stated that it is the municipal social welfare and development officer who is in the frontline in coordinating relief assistance and other crisis interventions every time a disaster struck a community.

Fongwan claimed that typhoons and other calamities hit several communities year in and out, and the presence of a municipal social welfare and development officer in the incident command system is crucial.

He added that in the midst of providing continuing solutions and actions to address the problems in the grassroots level, the government bears the responsibility of ensuring the existence and availability of the services of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

“The powers and duties attached to the position as mandated in the Code, undoubtedly cuts across a wide terrain of needed social services geared towards the protection of the underprivileged and improvement of the living conditions of the people, hence this bill,” Fongwan said.

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