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DSWD and UN explore strategies to reduce poverty and hunger

Rex Gatchalian, the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), said in a press release on Monday that in order to alleviate poverty, the DSWD must first address the hunger issue that is plaguing many communities nationwide.

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Gatchalian added that one step toward achieving this goal is to create digital food stamps, which recipients can use to make purchases at supermarkets and grocery stores.

To improve their collaboration on social protection programs, Gatchalian met with representatives of the United Nations to the Philippines on Friday, February 10 at the DSWD Central Office in Batasan, Quezon City.

Gatchalian spoke with the UN representatives, who were led by Gustavo Gonzalez, the UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, about his intentions for the DSWD. In order to alleviate poverty and hunger and to manage disaster resilience among Filipinos who frequently experience typhoons, they intended to investigate partnerships and further improve the Department’s work in these areas.

Fighting poverty is one of the goals Gatchalian is attempting to sell to the Marcos Administration.

The DSWD chief also stated that the Department plans to engage enumerators to identify the people and families who are suffering from hunger, with a focus on the 1.5 million households that are home to pockets of poverty. The Secretary wanted the UN’s help in locating the resources needed to finance the aforementioned initiative.

According to Mr. González of the UN, the Organization is prepared to offer both the resources and technical support required to implement this plan. The way you are phrasing things is fantastic, he even praised Gatchalian for coming up with this kind of mechanism to solve hunger.

Gatchalian pledged to create a concept note with the aid of the social workers on the DSWD’s Team to End Hunger. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization will then be shown the preliminary draft for further revision.

The two officials also talked about issues related to disaster response operations during their discussion, in addition to the battle against hunger and poverty.

Gatchalian proposed creating hubs at the regional and local levels to boost the Department’s supply chain structure. According to the secretary, this will significantly aid the Department’s swift reaction activities during calamities.

The UN team stated that in the Bicol and Eastern Visayas Regions, the Organization is currently pilot-testing the Anticipatory Action for Predictable Hazards. Before the crisis even occurs, this technique delivers aid and other products to the potential victims.

Recall that in June 2022, the DSWD and UNICEF inked a contract to implement the multi-purpose unconditional cash transfers in municipalities at risk from typhoons.

Gatchalian wants to incorporate the aforementioned technique into the Department’s broader catastrophe action strategy. The DSWD, according to him, will develop policies for Anticipatory Action for financial transfers to the poor and the near low.

The DSWD hopes to address how vulnerable the temporary or near poor are during emergencies with this effort.

The conference concluded with a commitment from DSWD and the UN to continue working together to enhance the Department’s social protection programs during emergencies and disasters.

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