House Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th district Rep. Ralph Recto listed down on Wednesday, Feb. 1, the reasons why he believed installing Rex Gatchalian as Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was a good move for the administration.
“For one, he (Gatchalian) survived the stress test of being a big city mayor during the pandemic, a position which put him in close contact with the people and their problems,” Recto said in a statement.
“As a legislator, Rex is aware of the social causes of poverty which will drive him to focus on its roots, and not just on its symptoms,” noted Recto, a former Senate President pro tempore.
“And if being a DSWD head requires the handling of disasters and managing development, he’s been there and done that,” he said of the erstwhile Valenzuela City 1st district congressman.
“Kasing galing ng mga kapatid niya. Kaya ang text ko sa brother niya sa Senado (He is as good as his brothers. That's why my text to his (Rex) brother in the Senate was this): “A Gatchalian in DSWD is a Win,” he said, referring to Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
Recto said the Valenzuela lawmaker has what it takes to run DSWD which he described as “one gigantic ATM – Ayuda, Tulong Machine.”
With a 2023 budget of P199 billion, DSWD, he said, will serve about 56 million people, or more than half of the population this year.
DSWD maintains a regular payroll bigger than the national government’s, in terms of payees, said Recto.
It oversees the distribution of “G-Cash or government cash” to millions of senior citizens and impoverished families, to name just two recipient sectors, Recto said.
For this year, 22 million people in 4.4 million households get monthly stipends under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
The DSWD also runs a “big catering operation", Recto said. With a budget of P5.2 billion this year, it will feed 1,754,637 children age two to five in community and neighborhood sites. “That is almost 200 million meals served," he said.
Another big ticket item in the DSWD budget, Recto pointed out, is the P36.8 billion for “Protective Services for Individuals and Families in Difficult Circumstances.” The program aims to help 1.7 million beneficiaries.