DAVAO CITY—Contrary to her controversial predecessor, the incoming Social Welfare Secretary Dr. Judy Taguiwalo promised Friday that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte will not hide street dwellers when foreign dignitaries visit the Philippines.
“I don’t think the incoming president is going to hide the urban poor communities [when] international dignitaries are here. We very much criticize that,” Taguiwalo told radio dzMM.
Taguiwalo said that doing so is “mere hypocricy” and she will refrain from doing such actions when she assumes office at the end of June.
Taguiwalo pointed out that while the government’s conditional dole program, more popularly known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will continue, it is still a temporary solution to the rooted problem of poverty in the country.
Saying the 4Ps is just a “bridging program” that seeks to assist the “poorest of the poor” until they find stable sources of income, she said that the incoming administration will cut the gaps in the program to address effectively to those who needed the program most.
“What we want to look at is the implementation. There are reports of selectivity. Not everyone who really needs the program are being reached. There is still an element of patronage there. We also want to check if it is being used to campaign as well as used for anti-insurgency,” she said.
Taguiwalo’s outgoing predecessor in the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Corazon Soliman was heavily criticized over allegations that the agency cleared street dwellers during the visit of Pope Francis and during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Manila.
Soliman and DSWD came under fire when 100 homeless families were brought to a resort in Batangas during the visit of Pope Francis in January, supposedly to attend a seminar. But the social welfare chief maintained the families were provided assistance, including shelter and employment opportunities.
Soliman vehemently denied such allegations, saying that “they are not hiding homeless people as poverty itself cannot be cloaked.”
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