Manila Standard : Challenge accepted, happy to serve

By Erwin Tulfo | Manila Standard

“Let us not raise another generation of street criminals”

First, I would like to thank President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (PBBM) for his trust and confidence in considering me as a member of his Cabinet.

I am delighted and honored to accept my nomination as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare Department (DSWD). I accept the challenge and I am more than willing to serve.

Social work and public service are nothing new to me. Helping fellow Filipinos has been a big part of my life. It is my advocacy.

For 35 years, yours truly have been engaged in public service, extending various assistance to the less fortunate, as well as victims of injustice, through the Erwin Tulfo Action Center.

Among PBBM’s early marching orders is to digitize DSWD’s distribution of aid and subsidies and clean the list of beneficiaries to weed out those who shouldn’t be on the list.

We will look into reports that there are individuals who questionably possess and use “multiple” ATM cash cards to receive payout of 4Ps benefits.

The President-elect wants to focus on recovery, giving priority to those who lost their jobs during the pandemic and now suffering in poverty.

There are at least 26.4 million impoverished Filipinos in 2021, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

There is reason to believe there are actually more Filipinos unable to meet their basic needs after two-and-half years of economic slowdown and joblessness.

That is why we need to hit the ground running. We need to help people be able to help themselves.

In the spirit of unity, we will welcome cooperation and coordination with non-government organizations (NGOs), including the Angat Buhay Foundation headed by outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo.

We can work as a team to make sure government assistance goes to those who direly need them, including victims of calamities, homeless families, indigent senior citizens and victims of human trafficking.

We need to find compassionate, yet realistic and effective ways for the genuine rehabilitation and reintegration of children in conflict with the law.

Let us not raise another generation of street criminals.

We must be accessible to people who seek help. That is what we are for.

We will also be accessible to the media, even keeping the line always open.

The DSWD envisions “all Filipinos to be free from hunger and poverty, have equal access to opportunities, enabled by a fair, just, and peaceful society.”

We all agree these are easier said than done, especially amid a continuing pandemic and limited resources.

DSWD’s vision and mission statements will be meaningless rhetoric if we fail to make a significant impact in uplifting the human condition of the poor. Iyung nararamdaman!

Let me assure everyone that we will give our 100 percent to the government’s recovery efforts and nation-building.

Once again, thank you President BBM, for your trust and confidence!