Rapid Assessment of Devolved Emergency Programs and Services

Apr 15, 2021 | CO Initiated Research, Research and Evaluation Studies

Year Published: 2021
Conducted By: Research and Evaluation Division

The enactment of the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991 was a major shift to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and to local government units (LGUs). Devolution, as implemented in the Philippines, involved the decentralization of certain administrative and fiscal authority and responsibility from the national government to local government. After the enactment of the LGC, the Department redirected the functions and operations and transformed from a direct service provider to a technical assistance provider. The DSWD is now a national government agency mandated to provide assistance to LGUs, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), other National Government Agencies (NGAs), People’s Organizations (POs) and members of civil society in effectively implementing programs, projects, and services that will alleviate poverty and empower disadvantaged individuals, families and communities for an improved quality of life as well as implement statutory and specialized programs which are directly lodged with the Department and/or not yet devolved to LGUs (Executive Order no. 221 series of 2003).

The Department directions as spelled out through its Strategic Plan is to help the LGUs to improve the delivery of social welfare and development programs and services as frontline service providers. This can be done through provision of continuous technical assistance and resource augmentation to our local government partners, particularly the Local Social Welfare and Development Offices (LSWDOs).

An analysis of the determinants of LGU spending on social services and human development priorities in 1993 and 1994 conducted by PIDS through the study, Local Government Financing of Social Service Sectors in a Decentralized Regime: Special Focus on Provincial Governments in 1993 and 1994 (Manasan, 1997) showed that LGU with higher per capita Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) tends to be associated with higher per capita social sector expenditure and higher per capita human priority expenditure. It was also mentioned in the study that during the early stage of devolution, provincial government expenditures on social services (i.e. total social services, education, health and human development priorities) appear to be unrelated to the human development index. That is, provinces with higher human development index (HDI) spent more on all the social sectors than those with lower HDI. The same study also measures degree of fiscal decentralization using four alternative indicators (i.e. Revenue Decentralization Ratio, Expenditure Decentralization Ratio, Modified Expenditure Decentralization Ratio and Financial Autonomy Ratio. Among the four indicators, the expenditure decentralization ratio provides a better picture of the degree of fiscal decentralization over time in the Philippine case. It captures very well the shift in expenditure responsibilities that devolution brought about.

The in-house study conducted by the DSWD entitled Assessment of the Implementation of the DSWD’s Devolved Programs and Services (2007) revealed that only 60% of the covered LGUs continued to deliver all the devolved DSWD mandated services. Implementation of devolved services focuses on the family, specifically Child Care (Day Care Service, Marriage Counseling, and Responsible Parenthood). The least delivered services such as Social and Vocational Preparation for job placement, Community Participation and Skills Development Program, Social/ and Vocational Preparation for employment, Balik Probinsiya and Aftercare Follow-up, are no longer priority issues to be addressed. It was also observed that there are uneven levels of implementation across LGUs as attributed to budget constraints, which are affected by income of LGUs, priority and support of LCEs and other LGU officials. The same survey showed that 73% of the Social Welfare and Development Offices (SWDOs) were poorly funded (PDPB, 2007).

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Rapid Assessment of Devolved Emergency Programs and Services