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NGAs champion community empowerment through tech and social protection

Three national government agencies, namely the Department of Science and Technology Region XI (DOST XI), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and Department of Social Welfare and Development, capped the year off on a high note as they presented their strategies and achievements thus far in the governance pathway.

In recognition of their performance, all three agencies successfully passed the Initiation, Compliance, and Proficiency Stage, respectively, during the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s Public Governance Forum – Online Revalida. They also bagged the Silver (OPAPP and DSWD) and Gold (DOST XI) Trailblazer Awards on top of their conferral.

During their public revalida on December 9, DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista recalled how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted DSWD’s transformation journey, prompting the agency to implement a social amelioration program (SAP) for around 18 million Filipino families under the “Bayanihan to Heal As One” Act. To ensure transparency and accountability, DSWD collaborated with local government units, the private sector, and other partner agencies in subsidy distribution.

“Based on forecasts by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, given the economic contraction in 2020, an additional four million Filipinos would have been poor if not for social protection programs such as SAP that cushioned the pandemic impact and helped 2.5 million Filipinos from sliding down into poverty,” Sec. Bautista said.

Also among the agency’s emerging breakthrough results are the increase in self-sufficient Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) households, development of the 4Ps social case management framework, and the return of more than 500,000 students to school through the Balik Eskwela Project from 2019 to 2021.

Similarly, OPAPP has made a positive impact on its communities, particularly on peace and social protection, as shared by Usec. Isidro L. Purisima during their revalida on December 15. 

Committed to enabling former combatants and their families to transition into peaceful and productive citizens, the agency has decommissioned more than 12,000 combatants under its Normalization Track and continuously provided their families with social protections packages and immediate financial assistance. 

“There have [sic] been no reported armed encounter between the government forces and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) as a result of the peace mechanisms, including the deployment of the joint peace and security teams, disbandment of 16 private armed groups in the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) region, and partnerships with local governments to control loose firearms in these areas,” Usec. Purisima said. 

He also underscored the instrumental role of the Performance Governance System (PGS) in formulating clearer targets and goals for the agency, which was mandated to oversee, coordinate, and integrate the comprehensive peace process.

Vying for the Initiation Stage, DOST XI Regional Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales said that the agency positions itself as an international benchmark for governance in the provision of smart science, engineering, technology and innovation (SETI) products, and services for inclusive and sustainable development. 

To realize these transformations, DOST XI follows strategic roadmaps for each of its Core Functions namely, Research and Development (R&D) Management, Technology Transfer, and S&T Services.

Despite being in the first step of the PGS journey, DOST XI has reportedly accomplished 80% of its committed PGS deliverables under the Core Functions for 2021, including its project in Davao Oriental entitled, “Empowering Coastal Communities through Science and Technology Interventions in Davao Oriental”, which highlights the collaborative efforts of DOST XI with its Multi-sectoral Governance Coalition in empowering communities. Meanwhile, the agency also successfully established two R&D Centers in Davao Region: the Mindanao Renewable Energy R&D Center and the Center for Applied Modeling, Data Analytics, and Bioinformatics for Decision-Support Systems in Health.

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Sales expressed his earnest gratitude to ISA, the DOST XI PGS Core Team, and the Office of Strategy Management. 

“With the guidance of the PGS journey and ISA, in pursuit of these roadmaps, I will guarantee along with my staff that DOST XI will be determined and resolute in achieving this one deliverable at a time,” he said.

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