The Ministry of Social Services (MSS) continues to address the recurrent issue concerning the delay in the release of salaries and program funds of the Ministry’s banner programs.

Banner programs are those that emanate from the Central Office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and are implemented in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. These include: Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program (SocPen), Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP), and Recovery and Reintegration of Trafficked Persons Program (RRTPP).

Funds for the banner programs are lodged with the DSWD Central Office and not with the Region. As such, funds for these programs were not included in the funds downloaded by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the Office of the Chief Minister last April 1, 2019.

As of the date of the turn-over from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on February 26, 2019, funds for these programs have not been downloaded to the then DSWD-ARMM, the predecessor of the MSS. By that time, the program staff, many of whom are contractual, have not received their salaries for two months (January – February 2019).

A delegation of senior staff from the MSS, led by Minister Raissa Jajurie, visited the DSWD Central Office and met with Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista last April 8, 2019 to discuss major concerns as regards the banner programs, including the status of program funds.

In order to facilitate the release of program funds, it was agreed during said meeting that the work and financial plans and monthly disbursement plans have to be revised to reflect the realignment of activities from the first quarter to the succeeding quarters of 2019.

For the past several days, the MSS and the DSWD Central Office have been working together in reviewing and revising the respective plans of the banner programs for 2019, as well as budget preparations for 2020. The revised plans will soon be submitted to the DSWD Central Office and funds are expected to be released within two weeks from submission thereof.

The MSS is committed to address problems concerning the implementation of its banner programs, including the recurrent issue in the delay in the release of program funds and salaries, especially during this period of transition from the ARMM to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.