Provincial Board Member Lucille Lagunay urged her colleagues in the Sangguninang Panlalawigan to call on component Local Government Units to fill up their vacant Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) positions.
In a privilege speech delivered during the Sanggunian’s regular session on August 10, 2021, Lagunay said many Social Welfare Officers (SWO) III are doing the work of an MSWDO but receiving only compensation not commensurate with their huge responsibility.
The lawmaker representing the First District also added that MSWDOs and their staff are the tip of the spear in government’s response to calamities and disasters and they are more at risk now under the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lagunay disclosed that there are 18 LGUs with no regular MSWD officer. Instead, the office is headed by an employee holding the rank of SWO I, SWO II, or SWO III, as the case may be.
In the First District, five LGUs have no MSWDO, namely: Albuquerque, Corella, Cortes, Sikatuna, and Tagbilaran City.
There are eight in the Second District: Buenavista, Clarin, Dagohoy, Danao, Getafe, Inabanga, San Isidro, and Ubay.
There are five in the Third District: Dimiao, Loay, Sevilla, Sierra Bullones, and Valencia.
Lagunay also stated that the MSWD Office in Garcia-Hernandez is headed only by a social worker assistant, while in Guindulman, the Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator is also functioning as their MSWDO.
The first-term board member said, “there are other frontliners and first-responders who are equally at risk in the same level as our MSWDO workers. But what makes the situation of our MSWDOs different—and sad—is that many of them are just occupying a position below the required salary grade and are not enjoying the full benefit under the civil service law.”
Lagunay, who was also a former city councilor of Tagbilaran, further stressed, “while some frontliners are regular employees, enjoying the full protection and benefit of the law, we send many of our MSWDOs into harms’ way without the full benefit they should have enjoyed, and without a chance to receive such other benefits they are supposed to be entitled to should the worse happen to them.”