Wednesday ∗ 16 Aug 2017

Common sense dictates: Confirm Judy Now!

Here’s the thing with DSWD Sec. Judy Taguiwalo’s pending confirmation at the Commission on Appointments: it makes no sense anymore to deny her this position, given that she has already been working the post for a year, has served in it effectively, with nary a controversy, no questions about her integrity, and having transformed our sense of what the Department of Social Work and Development is actually about.

It is relief goods and funds on-the-ready, in anticipation of that next storm. It’s the prompt release of goods for those affected by unexpected natural disasters. It’s assistance for families in idle and decrepit housing projects, for Lumad students camped out in UP, for the disenfranchised and hungry and in need in the Marawi evacuation centers. For once, DSWD is working at delivering services to the people it is supposed to serve, and there is little reason to believe any of this to be wrong — no matter what those Congressmen at the CA would like us to believe.

Because lest we forget: this is really about our Congressmen treating the DSWD as a source of funds for assisting their constituents. Yes, just like the pork barrel, and yes, Judy stood against that and insisted that instead of DSWD releasing funds to these Congressmen, that DSWD be allowed to address the specific needs of the people in these districts, with no Congressman as middleman. This would make for a process of assistance that is not only more transparent, but also more efficient, and in that sense one wonders why any Congress Representative would stand against Judy’s appointment.

For the rest of us, probably the biggest indication of the change in DSWD is how it compares to the DSWD of PNoy’s administration.

Consider what it was like with Daang Matuwid. Every storm and monsoon, every earthquake and every tragedy, meant an online campaign to get our middle class guilt working towards relief operations. The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) was used as a way to ensure voters in the next elections, and gaps and loopholes were barely addressed, nor were there honest assessments about its effectivity.

Typhoon Haiyan hit and instead of “buhos ng relief goods” as what Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez expected for places like Ormoc and Tacloban, DSWD and DILG were all about first making sure that a system was in place for relief goods distribution, because oh no! they couldn’t give survivors more than one relief pack! So survivors were made to walk back to their destroyed barangays so they could be ticked off a voters’ list, and only then could they get a relief pack. It’s unclear now what happened to those who weren’t on that list.

It is knowledge of how the past DSWD (didn’t) work, that should give all of us a better sense of why Judy’s leadership of it now is important and valuable. It is clear about its mandate and vision. It is not burdened by partisan politics and politicking, and neither is it doing anything at all for mere media mileage — in fact media hasn’t really been covering DSWD at all.

But that’s okay too. Because if it isn’t clear yet, those offices that are in fact doing its job, those offices do not need media mileage. The people actually know that those offices are delivering services as needed and as required by law. Besides, there is no need to grandstand when you’re confident that you are doing honest and transparent, efficient and professional work.

Now how many of Duterte’s government officials can claim that? While we’re at it: what would it say about the Congress Reps in the CA if they decide against Judy at this point in time? Most importantly: what would it say about President Duterte, and whether or not he still has a say in what happens to this government?


Posted in: bayan, gobyerno, komentaryo, media, serbisyo, the elite

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