Press Release
March 17, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 740:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on DSWD's Suspension of Social Protection Programs


DSWD's role in the ongoing Enhanced Community Quarantine is underwhelming, if not downright disappointing.

As soon as we learned that community quarantine is the only way to arrest the spread of COVID-19, we already know that the poor, who depend on their daily toil for their sustenance, will be most affected. DSWD should have made sure that programs to ensure that our countrymen will not go hungry are implemented in spite of the quarantine.

The fact that only vague guarantees are given to our people, who are looking to our President for clear assurances, is disconcerting.

Hindi sapat na sabihin na "WALA KAYONG MALASAKIT" para ipadama sa inyo ang kakulangan ng kongkretong programa mula sa DSWD sa panahon ng quarantine.

Ang desisyon ng DSWD na suspindihin ang mga programang panlipunan nito gaya ng 4Ps para pangalagaan ang pinaka-apektado ng COVID-19 pandemic ay nagpapakita ng kawalang malasakit ng administrasyon sa mahihirap nating mga kababayan. Gutom kung gutom, patay kung patay - at wala silang pakialam; tunay na pinakamalaking pag-yurak sa kanilang estado sa lipunan at pag-balewala sa mandato ng gobyerno at DSWD.

The scenes in the checkpoints and public transport stations last Monday should serve as a sobering reminder that many of our countrymen would sooner risk their lives against COVID-19 rather than fail to provide for their families. Our government, under the principle of parens patriae, should ensure that we will provide for those who will not be able to provide for themselves during this time of crisis.

When disaster strikes, the government stands as the only refuge of the lowliest members of society. I implore the DSWD to use this mindset and think of innovative ways to continue with, and even expand, our social welfare programs. "Maagap at Mapagkalingang Serbisyo"- be true to the agency's core values, Mr. Secretary. Ibigay na kaagad ng gobyerno ang ayuda ng social protection programs.

Our DSWD officials must stand together with their counterparts from DOH, DILG, DTI, PNP and AFP, to ensure that everyone is taken care of while in Enhanced Community Quarantine. Now is the time for Filipino heroes. DSWD is not an exception.

The poor and the marginalized sectors need government assistance, NOW MORE THAN EVER. Ibigay natin ito nang maagap, buong puso at walang anumang pag-aalinlangan.

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 740, here:

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