Solon bats for scholarship to address lack of social workers

Citing the need for more social workers in the country, a Laguna legislator is pushing for a government scholarship program that would encourage deserving students to become professional welfare workers. In House Bill No. 6910 or An Act Establishing a Social Work Scholarship Program (SWSP) for Deserving Students, Laguna 2nd District Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez said the measure would comprehensively address the lack of social workers across the country. ‘There is a shortage in the number of social workers who are urgently needed to provide dedicated service to the disadvantaged sectors and communities across the country,’ read the bill’s explanatory note, according to a news release on Sunday. Social workers are the primary helping profession of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). whether in direct or indirect practice, to uplift the living conditions of the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged. There are only 6,796 registered social workers across the country as of July 31, 2022, according to the inventory of employees of the DSWD. The Civil Service Commission, on the other hand, revealed that there are 9,541 social welfare positions in government bureaucracy, thus, there are 2,010 positions that have yet to be filled as of June 30, 2022. The vacant positions include Social Welfare Officer, Social Worker, Social Welfare and Development Officer, Provincial/City/Municipal Social Welfare Officer; and for non-licensed Social Workers: Social Welfare Assistant, and Social Welfare Aide, in national government agencies and local government units. Hernandez said her proposed SWSP program is a long-term effort that would ensure the stability of the DSWD programs and all current and future social welfare and development entities in the country. The SWSP program, she added, opens up opportunities for students to engage in a fulfilling and purposeful profession, which would enable them to confront social and other socio-economic issues that would impact the lives of many Filipinos. Under the measure, qualified students shall be provided with financial assistance to include the following: free tuition, miscellaneous, and other school fees; an allowance for prescribed books, supplies and equipment; clothing or uniform allowance; an allowance for dormitory or boarding house accommodation; transportation allowance; on the job training fees and expenses, Social Work licensure examination review fees; Social Work License fees; annual medical insurance; and other education-related subsistence or living allowances. To qualify, student applicants should pass the entrance examination and comply with other related requirements for admission into a Social Work Degree program in a public or private higher education institution, as would be required by the Commission on Higher Education and DSWD. Scholars in this proposed program ‘must be full-time students, shall not incur grades below 80 percent, take the board examination within one year after graduation, and render return of service in the social welfare positions in their home provinces,’ Mariano-Hernandez said

Source: Philippines News Agency