BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance requiring all the 128 barangays of the city to establish their own social welfare and development services desks to enhance the delivery of basic services to their constituencies.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Lilia A. Fariñas stated that the social welfare and services desks that these will serve as the extension offices of the City Social Welfare and Development Office and shall exercise similar powers as prescribed in Article 13, Section 125 of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
However, the ordinance provided all powers delegated to the qualified social worker to be employed as the barangay social welfare and development officer shall emanate from the incumbent City Social Welfare and Development officer and that all the functions and limitations of the said office shall be promulgated by the latter, and shall exercise only such duties as may be prescribed by the City Social Welfare and Development Officer pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations.
The ordinance required every barangay to enact their respective barangay ordinances to legitimize the establishment of such social welfare desks, and appropriate the allowable budgets needed.
The proponent pointed out the City Social Welfare and Development Office is an indispensable office of the local government that no less than the Local Government Code prescribes and defines for its existence.
However, she claimed the increasing population in the city, including the unrelenting increase of the marginalized sector, the senior citizens, and the eminent surrender of drug personalities in the barangays, is over stretching the CSWDO, as it also attends to the welfare of persons with disabilities, victims of abuses and drug addiction, rehabilitation of prisoners and parolees, juvenile delinquents and youth welfare, and the provision of relief and assistance in times of man-made or natural disasters.
She disclosed there is a critical need to determine from the barangays’ perspective, the number of persons with disabilities, senior citizens, people living below the poverty line and other disadvantaged groups, in order that the correct and more important and sufficient amount of financial assistance could be provided at the barangay level.
She added the putting up of barangay-level social welfare services desks will allow the constituents of barangays to easily avail of the services of the local government as those in need are better known by their respective barangay officials. The distribution of social welfare benefits will be best addressed through the barangays, and this will ease the clogged City Social Welfare and Development Office.
By Dexter A. See