The field office’s Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) as well as its Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) offices in the five (5) provinces in the region have consistently been the busiest offices in the field office for many years, with its fleet of workers rendering service early in the morning until late at night because of the surge of clients seeking different types of assistance that the field office offer.
In fact, the CIU averages 280 clients per day which are assessed by seven (7) social workers with a ratio of 1:40 and two social workers handle the payout.
Yet even with this increase in responsibilities, the unit has maintained its excellence in service, consistently ranking among the best CIUs in the nation, garnering recognition as 2nd Best CIU during the National PRAISE Awards during the years’ 2015 and 2018.
The unit has always efficiently utilized funds downloaded to it and though funds cascaded to the unit have increased every year, the unit has utilized all of it, meaning more clients were served and assisted.
The unit was even acknowledged by the field office’s resident Commission on Audit (COA) auditor, stating in one of its reports that there were “no deficiencies in the course of the cash examination and that all transactions were recorded promptly and chronologically in the Cash Disbursement Records or Cashbooks, the balances footed and closed at the end of each month and were duly certified by the Accountable Officer in accordance with prescribed rules and regulations.”
Indeed, even with the bulk of work that it does which requires tons of documents to be processed and maintained, the unit manages to follow all the rules needed to liquidate all the funds that it uses to assist and help clients.
Clients’ needs are also prioritized as they are swiftly taken to the CIU Waiting Area as they arrive in the field office and no longer need to go through the Bilis Action Desk of the office.
The waiting area always has a resident nurse ready to provide medical assistance such as monitoring of blood pressure and provision of maintenance medicine to clients needing immediate assistance along with free coffee, water and adequate ventilation through the installation of ceiling fans.
The CIU also has a Breastfeeding Area for lactating mothers and a designated Children’s Play Corner to cater to the needs of women and children.
Social Marketing Efforts
To while away time while waiting for their turn, televisions were also installed in the waiting area where field office and agency videos are played for clients to get to know the other programs and services of the field office.
Boards containing tarpaulins of the different types of assistance the CIU provide and the step-by-step process to avail of them are also strategically placed in the waiting area.
Collaboration with Partners
The targets of the CIU and its satellite SWAD offices are met because of its good working relationship with partner Local Government Units, Government Agencies, Service Providers and other partners.
To date, the CIU has already forged 25 Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) with service providers, 21 hospitals and 4 funeral parlors, throughout the region as it continues to find ways to assist clients especially those coming from far-flung areas.
Aside from the provision of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), the CIU also advocates the implementation of Assistance to Communities in Need (ACN) projects through the provision of technical assistance in the form of constant monitoring and follow through with LGUs in the submission of complete documentary requirements for ACN.
The CIU and its SWAD offices also constantly receive referrals from the Presidential Management Staff, Office of Senators, Office of Congressmen, 8888 hotline, Partylist members, Governors and Mayors. Even with the high number of walk-in clients served on a daily basis, these referrals are facilitated immediately.
Adherence to Reportorial Requirements
The CIU also submits timely regular monthly, quarterly, semestral and annual narrative and statistical reports to the Central Office as well as the field office’s Planning Section in order to share highlights and accomplishments done by the unit.
The unit also submits quarterly reports to the Internal Audit Service (IAS) in line with its Integrity Management Plan that was drafted and finalized in 2015.
The CIU, through the above-mentioned reports, strictly follows Item No. 10, Reporting, Monitoring and Evaluation, of Memorandum Circular No. 4 Series of 2015 or the Guidelines in the Implementation of the Protective Services Program which specifies the submission of reports.
The road forward
Working in the CIU and its satellite SWAD offices comes with challenges and difficulties. Staff have to deal with clients with diverse personalities. Staff also had to deal with delays in their salaries and even had to go through times when those who were under Cost of Service status were advised to discontinue due to insufficient funds.
Through all the difficulties, the workers remained steadfast and remains committed to serving the disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors of society, true to the mandate of the DSWD of Maagap at Mapagkalingang Serbisyo. ###