Lawmaker seeks 'digitalization' of social benefits 

7:47 pm on 20 August 2022, Saturday

A lawmaker is proposing the "digitalization" of social benefits amid the social welfare department's long queues for student aid.

In a statement, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda renewed his call for a single national window for tax and social benefits, as long lines for student aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) plagued the agency's offices this weekend.

"The solution, structurally, is to simplify our processes, provide for instant validation, and digitalize recording and distribution. That's how it was done in the experimental Small Business Wage Subsidy during the pandemic. That was the best-practice for the Philippine government so far," Salceda said, referring to the subsidy program he first proposed in April 2020 and which was implemented by the Department of Finance later the same year.

"And, as soon as the National ID becomes the main ID for all Filipinos, we can use it as the single individual account for all social benefits and payments of taxes, fees, and charges." Salceda added.

He also called upon the DSWD to form a "digital transformation and user experience unit," composed of data scientists, process engineers, and digitalization experts to digitize its records, upgrade its client service, and minimize leakages in distributing its social welfare programs.

Salceda also added that he would push for a special provision in the 2023 budget that will allow the DSWD to access funds for digitalizing and optimizing its main benefits programs.

"I will be inserting in the 2023 budget a special provision mandating and allowing the DSWD to undertake a digital transformation program in partnership with the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on the money transfer side. The expenses can be drawn from the administration fees or personnel services for the different social welfare programs," Salceda said.

"In fact, for all agencies that administer social benefits, including the Department of Agriculture, we might be able to make similar provisions."


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