Erwin Tulfo sees smooth shift to social work

Erwin Tulfo sees smooth shift to social work
Incoming DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo. Photo by John Orven Verdote

INCOMING Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) secretary Erwin Tulfo is confident he can make a difference as head of the agency, citing the similarity between public service and social work.

“Although I am not a social worker, I have 22 years of public service experience and can attest to my ability to manage the department,” Tulfo said during a recent forum.

To guarantee a smooth transition of power and responsibility, DSWD officials held three days of cluster briefings from June 8 with Tulfo and his team.

Briefing Tulfo's team were the heads of the Disaster Response and Management Group, Standards and Capacity Building Group, General Administration Support Services Group, Operations and Programs Group, Policy and Plans Group, and the Office of the Secretary Group. They discussed their functions, key result areas, corresponding budget and staffing complement.

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“The men and women of the DSWD are committed to support Mr. Erwin Tulfo in the fulfillment of the Department's mandate,” DSWD spokeswoman Irene Dumlao said.

“We also believe that Mr. Erwin Tulfo can provide efficient and effective services for the poor, vulnerable and marginalized,” Dumlao added.

The outgoing DSWD management of Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista has prepared a transition handbook that will be sent to the new leadership on June 30.

Tulfo lauded Bautista's positive and hospitable welcome, which he called “so professional and cordial” that they had already put their past disagreement behind them in 2019.

Tulfo once fired a broadside at Bautista on his radio program. The broadcast journalist castigated the secretary for not being available for a live interview on Tulfo's radio program.

Tulfo had wanted to question Bautista on the DSWD's plans following the signing of the Magna Carta of the Poor, an anti-poverty measure, but Bautista was said to be meeting an ambassador at the time.

“Past is past, lahat naman tayo ay nagkakamali (everyone makes mistakes),” Tulfo said during one of his transition meetings with the media.

Tulfo is the fourth nominee of the Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) party-list, which won three seats in the 2022 elections but is limited to just three because of election rules. The second nominee is his sister-in-law Jocelyn Tulfo. Erwin is the brother of Senator-elect Rafael “Raffy” Tulfo.

Raffy's son, Ralph, was elected representative of Quezon City's second congressional district.

The Tulfo brothers, including Ramon Jr. and Bienvenido (Ben), have become known for assisting the poor and serving as the go-to people for injustices.

“Because members of my family work for the government, I am sure that DSWD will benefit from any mandates and reforms. I'll work closely with my family,” Tulfo said.

He said that after the transition meeting, he issued a warning to the fixers who make a profit from the processing of financial assistance applications for the poor.

The fixers “have until June 30 to stop taking advantage of the poor's money. It is not yours. If you continue to act in this manner, I will deal directly with the Philippine National Police to have you arrested,” Tulfo said.

He has asked that outgoing ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Rowena Niña Taduran be nominated as undersecretary for legislative liaison affairs.

“I am honored to be chosen as a member of Secretary Erwin Tulfo's team. I'm overjoyed since this is truly my calling, particularly providing public service and helping others,” Taduran said.

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