Colleagues from various social work organizations have appealed to the incoming president “to appoint a professional social worker for the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or within the qualifications of an experienced development worker, exposed and familiar to the wide range of welfare issues and social protection programs.” The collective appeal was simply dismissed.
With the lingering impact of the nexus of pandemic and the economic crisis, the DSWD confronts an enormous challenge of providing much-needed social services and social protection to the marginalized. Social welfare administration requires expertise that is nurtured by academic training and professional experience, as clearly stated in Republic Act No. 4373: An Act to Regulate the Practice of Social Work and the Operation of Social Work Agencies in the Philippines and for Other Purposes.
Let us go back to an incident where the newly designated secretary of DSWD was involved.
Last May 31, 2019, Mr. Erwin Tulfo lambasted DSWD Sec. Bautista for declining to grant him a live interview, arguing it was his obligation as secretary of the dept. “Sino ba itong buang na ito? Pasensya na muna ano ha. Maski tao ka ni Pangulong Duterte, le-lecture-an muna kita (Who is this crazy person? I apologize, but even if you were appointed by President Duterte, let me lecture you (Fonbuena, 2019). Tulfo’s rant included threats to slap Bautista if he ever saw him, and to dunk his head inside a toilet bowl (Fonbuena, 2019).