Social Welfare to oversee P84-b housing program

Published by rudy Date posted on May 28, 2011

AFTER being tasked to manage the controversial P21.9-billion dole to some 2.3 million poorest of the poor, the Social Welfare Department is now being assigned to implement the P84-billion shelter program for some 1.2 million squatter-families.

Under House Bill 4374, the Volunteerism in Nation Building, the Gawad Kalinga Way would have a central, regional and satellite offices in all local government units and 238 legislative districts, all under the supervision of Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman.

Social Welfare Director Margarita Sampang told the House committee on people’s participation, led by Manila Rep. Benjamin Asilo, there would be no conflicts between the volunteerism and dole-to-the-poor programs since these were all aimed at reducing poverty.

She said the GK Way, as proposed in the bill, was not just about building a house because there would be seminars to help people develop values and skills.

The bill’s authors, led by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., seek to create a joint Senate-House oversight committee to be led by the Speaker and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

But lawmakers were not too optimistic about that because President Benigno Aquino III had vetoed the provision mandating the oversight powers of Congress over the dole to the poor when Congress submitted to him the P1.64-trillion national budget for signing.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino, and Act Teacher Rep. Antonio Tinio and civil society organization Code NGO protested the creation of Volunteerism in Nation Building as another agency, saying it was another layer of bureaucracy that would require financing.

The bill seeks to create a Special Housing Fund imposing a 1-percent real property tax to finance the shelter program, but the authors also want to tap a portion of the Value-Added Tax to finance the VNB’s operations for the next 14 years.

“Before imposing new taxes, they should explain first the necessity of creating this new agency,” Palatino said.

“This agency, which is neither purely public nor private, would merely duplicate the functions of several government agencies. [It is] Unnecessary. It is a flawed model of volunteerism.”

Palatino said the VNB, to be patterned after the Gawad Kalinga program, would not inspire the greatest number of people to contribute in nation-building since the chance to participate in the undertaking would be monopolized by a few privileged big-ticket, cash-rich and corporate-funded NGOs.

GK chairman Antonio Meloto helped craft the bill and claimed the VNB was a call for patriotism.

Sixto Donato Macasaet, Code NGO executive director, said the VNB framework gave the impression it would be highly centralized and operating based on a centrally designed guidebook, a comprehensive and concise manual containing the master plan of all VNB initiatives.

The VNB, Macasaet said, would determine projects, programs and activities.

“All these will limit the independence, creativity and initiative of civil society organizations that will become part of VNB,” he said.

“It is precisely through these characteristics that [civil society organizations] have incubated and developed many alternative and customized development strategies, which have since become mainstreamed in development work.” –Christine F. Herrera, Manila Times

Month – Workers’ month

“Hot for workers rights!”


Solidarity with CTU Myanmar,
trade unions around the world,
for democracy in Myanmar,
with the daily protests of
people in Myanmar against
the military coup and
continuing oppression.


Accept National Unity Government
(NUG) of Myanmar.
Reject Military!

#WearMask #WashHands

Time to support & empower survivors.
Time to spark a global conversation.
Time for #GenerationEquality to #orangetheworld!
Trade Union Solidarity Campaigns
Get Email from NTUC
Article Categories