Senator Pia Cayetano on Tuesday expressed her frustration over the non-release of the P35-million allocation of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) supposedly for foster care and adoption social worker positions.
Cayetano noted that the amount is still “in limbo” and could have been used to secure around 1.8 million Filipino children “who are neglected, abandoned, left behind.”
During the Senate’s discussion on the P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021, the senator pointed out that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has not yet released the funding because it requires a justification from DSWD.
“My staff happily reported to me that the budget is intact. This is the bad news now. The bad news now is the budget is there but it’s not moving,” Cayetano said during the plenary debate.
“DBM has required DSWD to justify. It boggles my mind, ano ‘yung ija-justify (what is there to justify? There are 1.8 million children estimated that need to be put in loving homes and we put P35-million already to cover the plantilla positions,” she explained.
Cayetano, who adopted a child herself, said it is important to allocate funds for the government’s adoption programs and having additional social and administrative workers who would be tasked to help these children find foster care or be adopted.
“The reality is this: DSWD, ‘pag nagkaroon tayo ng calamity lahat sila ang focus nila (when there is calamity, all their focus is on) calamity, calamity, calamity. Eh paano naman ‘yung calamity ng 1.8 million Filipino children na walang nanay (But what about the calamity befalling the 1.8 million Filipino children who no longer have mothers?)” she pointed out.
Sen. Imelda “Imee” Marcos, vice chair of the Senate finance committee and who defended the DSWD’s 2021 budget, agreed with Cayetano.
“It’s absolutely infuriating that the money continues to be in limbo…Sayang naman. May pera na naging bato pa (What a waste. There’s already money and yet it can’t be utilized),” Marcos said.