MANILA — Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian made rounds in several DSWD facilities on Tuesday in a bid to further enhance living conditions of Filipinos in vulnerable communities.
Fresh from his appointment as the new DSWD chief, Gatchalian first visited the Reception and Study Center in Bago Bantay, Quezon City which houses 29 children who are either orphans, abandoned, or victims of abuse.
He also visited housing facilities for elderly, persons with disabilities (PWD), women, and victims of human trafficking.
The new social welfare secretary told reporters he made the visits to “see and understand” the living conditions of the country’s marginalized sectors, and to ensure that the current facilities of the DSWD serve their needs.
"Kapag magrerescue tayo, mahalaga na dapat yung pagdadalhan sa kanila ay maayos ang living conditions," he said.
(When we rescue individuals, it is important that we ensure that our facilities for them have ideal living conditions.)
Asked about the continuity of DSWD’s frontline services after the major change in leadership, Gatchalian said they aim to further improve services.
He noted that the department is considering the use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems to digitalize processes and enhance the delivery of DSWD’s services.
"Iyong digitalization favorite namin yan ngayon. Sa Valenzuela kasi, one of my last projects is to tap an AI bot to explain the processes. Mahirap kasi kung mamamasahe pa ang isang beneficiary tas pagdating kulang pala requirements," he said.
(We are keen on digitalization now. One of my last projects in Valenzuela was to tap an AI bot to explain the processes. We want to avoid beneficiaries making long commutes only to find out that they lacked requirements.)
Gatchalian said he targets to shorten lines in DSWD offices by establishing more satellite offices, particularly in the Camanava (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela) area, Quezon City, Marikina City, and Pasig City.
He is also scheduled to meet with poverty and hunger experts to improve his department’s delivery of services.
These experts include professors from the academe and even institutions that could help shape DSWD programs, he added.