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Employees of the DSWD-Bicol are being prepared for the devolution of services to local government units.

LEGAZPI CITY, PHILIPPINES – The Department of Social Welfare Development-Bicol (DSWD-5) is presently planning for and giving technical training and capacity building to its personnel who may be affected by the Supreme Court’s Mandanas-Garcia decision.

In an interview on the sidelines of his State of the Region Address here on Thursday, Leo Quintilla, DSWD-5 regional director, said that about 700 of his employees will lose their jobs once the ruling is implemented sometime this year because their functions will be devolved to local government units (LGUs).

He stated that they want to ensure that the employees who will be laid off are given top priority in their individual LGUs’ hiring efforts.

“For LGUs, these DSWD workers are already trained, they know the programs and services, and they can implement it right away,” Quintilla said.

He stated that the DSWD-Bicol will phase out eight welfare programs, including the supplementary feeding program, assistance to persons with disabilities, comprehensive program for street children, program for the elderly, recovery and reintegration program for trafficked persons, crisis assistance, sustainable livelihood program, and the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS).

Quintilla stated that at least four programs will be devolved to LGUs this year, two in 2023, and two in 2024, as part of their devolution transition strategy and phasing.

Devolution is the transfer of power from the central government to a lower level, particularly the local government.

“Funds for the DSWD’s primary social welfare services will now be transferred to the LGUs as money from the national government is allocated to them. This means that local governments will have a bigger role and more funds to implement these programs and services themselves “Quintilla remarked.

In terms of full devolution, he said the DSWD-Bicol will continue to assist the LGUs in policy creation, research, standards-setting and regulatory functions, capacity building, and technical assistance.

“We’ll also assist with resource augmentation, monitoring and assessment, as well as program review and audit,” he added.

Quintilla explained that part of their communication approach is to ensure that the initiatives continue even if the management of the LGUs changes.

“Our advocacy, starting with our local social welfare officers in different LGUs, is to communicate with our chief executive and Sanggunian of their responsibility in the devolution,” he continued.

The High Tribunal’s Mandanas-Garcia decision stemmed from a petition filed by Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas and former Bataan Governor Enrique Garcia Jr. in 2013 regarding local government units’ share of the internal revenue allotment.

The decision stipulates that the just share of LGUs, also known as Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), must be calculated using all national taxes, not just National Internal Revenue Taxes, and must include other taxes collected by the Bureau of Customs and other agencies authorized to collect the NIRT.

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