Good governance makes difference in Pinoys’ lives

I have always supported programs that will help our fellow Filipinos, especially the poor, the helpless, and the hopeless. This is why I am keeping up the proposed increase in the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s budget and its programs that can help uplift the lives of Filipinos in need.

After all, DSWD is an important agency that helps implement the government’s poverty alleviation programs. However, we must ensure that the budget allocated to DSWD directly benefits indigent Filipinos. We should consider indigents’ plight and provide the agencies mandated to uplift their living conditions by doing their jobs faithfully, efficiently, and effectively. For DSWD, this means giving the support qualified beneficiaries need in any of its programs, including the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa,” and “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.”

Along with our obligation to provide social welfare services to indigent Filipinos, we must also ensure that our social workers, the frontliners who have to deal with the daily challenges of making lives better for poor Filipinos, are well-compensated and taken care of.

I have filed Senate Bill No. 1707, or the “Competitive Remuneration and Compensation Packages for Social Workers Act of 2023”, to provide competitive remuneration and compensation packages for social workers. It also seeks to protect social workers protection from discrimination, interference, intimidation, harassment, or punishment, including arbitrary reassignment or termination of service, in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.

Part of the government’s mandate to alleviate poverty is to bring health and medical services closer to the people. As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, I continue to push for programs to help improve poor Filipinos’ health and quality of life.

The Malasakit Centers, the law of which I principally authored and sponsored, continue to provide medical and financial assistance to those in need. The DSWD is an essential part of this program since it is one of the four major agencies that offer a one-stop shop for patients’ medical assistance. There are already 159 Malasakit Centers nationwide, with a social worker assigned to each center.

The Super Health Centers, which are enhanced versions of the rural health units, also intend to bring medical services closer to the people. The same is true for the Regional Specialty Centers Act, which I principally sponsored and was one of the authors in the Senate. All these aim to bring crucial medical services closer to communities in need.

As part of my advocacy to bring government closer to the people, I continue to visit different areas all over the country whenever possible to help as much as I can, listen to their concerns, provide solutions to their problems, support projects that can uplift their communities, assist patients in availing of assistance, and leave a smile on their faces amid the challenges they face.

On 24 September, we started our Sunday morning by attending the 48th Firstfruits and Thanksgiving Anniversary of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Ekklesia led by Manila 6th District Representative and Senior Pastor Benny Abante. I firmly believe that service to our people is service to God.

We went to San Mateo, Rizal, on 21 September to witness the groundbreaking of a Super Health Center there. We were joined by Rizal Governor Nina Ricci Ynares, San Mateo Mayor Bartolome “Omie” Rivera, Jr., Vice Mayor Jaime Romel Roxas, and other officials.

In collaboration with the DOH, LGUs, and our fellow lawmakers, 307 Super Health Centers were funded in 2022 and 322 Super Health Centers in 2023 throughout the Philippines, including this one in San Mateo.

We also joined the 451st Founding Anniversary celebration of the town, where we emphasized the importance of unity, especially in challenging times. I am grateful to the local government of San Mateo for the Gawad Pagkilala Award they bestowed upon me. With or without an award, I will serve my fellow Filipinos.

On 18 September, we attended the send-off ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City for athletes participating in the 19th Asian Games and the 4th Asian Para Games in Hangzhou City, China. Just like our support for our athletes in the past SEA Games, Tokyo Olympics, and FIBA World Cup, I also encourage everyone to support the Filipinos who will participate in these competitions.

We also provided additional support to those who lost their jobs, including 315 in Merida and 457 in Alang-alang, Leyte, who also benefit from DOLE’s emergency employment program for displaced workers.

We also personally assisted ten fire victims in Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas; 65 in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental; 15 in Parañaque City; 98 in Cebu City; 385 in Brgy. 650 and 186 in Brgy. 348, both in the City of Manila; and 30 in Lumban, Laguna. We also distributed additional assistance to 20 TESDA graduates in Guagua, Pampanga.

Meanwhile, 102 fire victims from the barangays of Inayawan, Kasambagan, and Duljo Fatima in Cebu City also received assistance from the NHA, which we have been advocating for and continue to do so, to provide them with materials for home repairs. In addition to aid from the NHA, I also sent additional support to them.

We also sent our message for the 50th anniversary of Tawi-Tawi on 22 September. On 21 September, my office also attended the ceremonial turnover of the Super Health Center in Barangay Sangali, Zamboanga City, and the groundbreaking ceremony of the Super Health Center in Batan, Aklan.

By being faithful to my responsibilities as a public servant and lawmaker, I continue to help those in need to the best of my abilities. With compassion and unity, we can all be an instrument of change in the lives of our fellow Filipinos.

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