MANILA City- The improvement of social protection programs is one of the major thrusts of the current Philippine government in order to provide genuine change and development to all Filipino citizens, most especially to the poor and the vulnerable sector.

In line with this agenda, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) renewed their partnership to harmonize delivery of social services and to enhance the efficiency of social protection programs for poor Filipino households through the Social Protection Support Initiative (SPSI) – Convergence Project memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing yesterday in Manila.

SPSI is an umbrella collaboration of three social protection projects: Sustaining Interventions in Poverty Alleviation and Governance (SIPAG) implemented by the DSWD to enhance the capacity of local social welfare and development offices (LSWDOs) to manage cases through the usage of the electronic social case management system (e-SCMS); Watching Over Mothers and Babies (WOMB) implemented by the DOH which facilitates access to and utilization of the agency’s maternal, neonatal, and child health and nutrition (MNCHN) services at the local level; and, the PHIC’s Sigurado at Garantisadong Insurance Pangkalusugan (SAGIP) which proactively registers all Filipinos in the health care system and remind their members to regularly pay their contributions to continuously avail of their health care benefits.

The convergence pilot project aims to create an interoperable or integrated e-referral system across SIPAG, WOMB and SAGIP to institutionalize cross agency data sharing and standards which will enable more improved means of ensuring that basic social protection services are received by poor and marginalized client-beneficiaries.

Under this agreement, the pilot-testing of the SPSI shall be expanded to 11 municipalities in Occidental Mindoro, namely: Abra de Ilog, Calintaan, Looc, Lubang, Magsaysay, Mamburao, Paluan, Rizal, Sablayan, San Jose, and Sta. Cruz.

In her message during the event, DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo expressed her support to deliver efficient service to the public.

“Inaasahan natin na ang SPSI ay tutulong sa ating mga social workers at development workers na mapabilis at magawang efficient ang proseso, at maihatid ang mga agarang solusyon kasama rito ang pag-refer sa mga tamang ahensya at serbisyo sa mamamayan upang agad na malaman ang mga interventions na kanilang pangangailangan (We expect that the SPSI will help our social workers and development workers to hasten and efficiently improve the process of providing immediate interventions to the public, including referral of cases to proper agencies and prompt delivery of services),” she said.

She also underscored that the proper implementation of the project is vital to help reduce the repetitive collection of data and information from client-beneficiaries.

Lastly, she acknowledged the partnership of local government units and national government agencies to bring the programs and services of the current administration closer to the public.

“Ang pagtutulungan ng bawat ahensya, kasama ang mga lokal na pamahalaan, ay kasama sa direksyong tinatahak ng bagong administrasyon upang lubos na maihatid ang tiyak at aktwal na pangangailangan ng bawat isa sa ating mga mahirap na mamamayan (The direction of the new administration is to improve the collaboration of all agencies, including local governments, to deliver the exact and actual needs of our poor citizens). ###