As the challenges and changes continue to escalate along with the COVID-19 Pandemic and the prologue of the Mandanas Ruling, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), together with its partner committees, plotted a Strategic Planning Conference last May 25-28, 2021 at Amontay Beach Resort, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.
The partner committees of the Department include:
- The Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Senior Citizen (RIAC-SC);
- Regional Committee on Disability Affairs (RCDA); and
- Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Filipino Family (RIAC-FF).
These committees are the primary structure of DSWD Field Office Caraga which serves as the working body to promote, implement and monitor various programs and projects for the different sectors (children, family, women, persons with disability, and older persons).
Accordingly, the committees aforementioned advocate their respective policies and programs to LGUs, NGOs, media, private institutions, and other partner stakeholders in the region. Besides providing technical assistance to other existing agencies, these committees are tasked to coordinate the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the policies and programs for the different sectors they are working.
With all these functions, the Department seeks to force first-rate services to the different sectors amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and the changes brought about by implementing the Mandanas Ruling, or the impending Devolution in 2022.
Together with its partner committees, the Department came up with ideas and agreements to help address the gaps identified during the program implementation. However, because of specific health and quarantine protocols that need to be highly observed at all times, DSWD Caraga opted to use the virtual meeting for a few members of the committees on province notably distant in Butuan City. Some who are base in the said city joined the planning face-to-face.
Elsa A. Jamora, the Sectoral Focal Person of the Protective Services Division of the Department, implied why the committees decided to come about on the planning activity.
“Unlike the RIACAT-VAWC and RCWC, ang other committees kay walay concrete plan nga gina look back to make sure nga na meet ang goals for the year. So mao na atong ginapaningkamotan nga ang tanan committees mahimong functional.” (Unlike the RIACAT-VAW and RCWC, other committees do not have a concrete plan that they could look back to assure that they have already met the goals for the year. Hence, we will try to make all the committees functional),” she said.
“Also given the changes, tanan man siguro government agencies ma apektohan sa Mandanas Ruling, with that we have to revisit our plans pud. Kay during that time, dili naman ang mga regional line agencies ang primary providers sa mga programs and services. The programs and services will then be devolved to the Local Government Unit. In our part, we have to ensure also nga during the transition makabalo ang mga committees kung asa pwede mo sulod. Through that, mahimo pud tang supportive sa transition.” (Also given the changes, I think all government agencies are affected by the Mandanas Ruling, with that, we have to revisit our plans. Because during that time, the regional line agencies are no longer the primary providers of the programs and services. The programs and services will be devolved to the Local Government Unit. In our part, we also have to ensure when and where can all the committees participate. Through that, we can show our support for the transition),” she added.
This strategic activity shows how concerned the Department, its partner committees, and the government, in general, on the betterment of the respective sectors greatly affected by the Pandemic and soon by the transition of the Mandanas Ruling. Moreover, the Department and its partner committees were able to capture the issues, gaps, and concerns that the sectors are currently facing. At the end of the 4-day planning session, all the committees and the Department established a committee rolling work plan for 2022-2026.