SOCIAL  WELFARE  DEPT  SEES  P30  BUDGET  FOR  EVERY  FILIPINO  THIS  YEAR

MANILA, JULY 16, 2006
(STAR) The government will allocate a measly P30.05 for each Filipino a year if the P2.5-billion budget being proposed for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under the national outlay this year is passed.

"Of course that is not enough," Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral admitted. "But President Arroyo has her own social funds and then there are certain projects that she initiates that we help her with."

"The budget for these projects does not come from our approved budget," she said.

Cabral noted that half of the DSWD budget is earmarked for its Kalahi-CIDSS projects, a flagship poverty alleviation project of the government.

The rest is spent for the salary of employees, operation and maintenance expenses of the DSWD and other projects.

The DSWD also gets financial support from local and foreign donors for disaster relief operations.

"There was already a proposed budget for DSWD for 2006 when I came in. But for 2007, Iíll propose P3.5 billion," Cabral said.

Meanwhile, the DSWD is asking business establishments and individuals to donate tarpaulins that will be used as makeshift tents for evacuees in the war-torn town of Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao.

The DSWD said gunfights in Shariff Aguak have displaced residents there as fighting between government troops and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has been ravaging the town for days now.

The conflict erupted after police tried to arrest MILF leaders accused of involvement in the bombing of an Army post in the village of Koloy.

The firefight has since then spread to four other villages, forcing civilians to leave their homes for fear of being caught in the crossfire.

The DSWD said tarpaulins to be donated can be brought to the National Relief Operation Center along Chapel Road near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, or a DSWD truck could be arranged to pick up the donation.

Interested donors may call Rey Martija of the Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center (DROMIC) at 951-7119 after office hours or Elma Pille of the Program Management Bureau at 951-7438 during office hours. ó Sheila Crisostomo


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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