When retired Army Chief Lieutenant General Rolando Bautista was announced by President Rodrigo Duterte as the next Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in October 2018, many believe that it’s a match made in heaven.
A dedicated soldier who rose from the ranks perfectly fits DSWD, the government’s arm committed in pursuing its goal of responding to the needs of the poor, disadvantaged, marginalized, and vulnerable sectors in Filipino society.
Bautista who was the Commander of the 1st Infantry Division, Joint Task Force Marawi and Chief of the Philippine Army is now leading 24,500-strong personnel of DSWD focusing on fulfilling our mandate to the Filipino public.
As the overall ground commander of government troops in Marawi City, Bautista was on top since the beginning of the battle on May 23, 2017 where he ordered a raid in a safehouse in Barangay Basak Malutlut to catch Abu Sayyaf subleader Isnilon Hapilon. The military troop was met by heavy gunfire from terrorist that ignited a firefight until the end of the siege on October 23 of the same year.
A true hero, Bautista is now at the helm of DSWD to continue its tradition of dedicated and untiring public service. On his first month at the agency, he was part of big disaster response operations for Typhoon Rosita and in the series of landslides in Naga, Cebu and Nantonin, Mountain Province which greatly affected the said areas.
He exerted efforts to ensure that plans and programs were delivered and managed during the Boracay Island Rehabilitation, as well as in Marawi crisis disaster response and recovery. The Secretary also initiated changes and system upgrades for the smooth operation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) which has benefited more than 4.1 million beneficiaries in the country.
Other relevant programs which continue to prosper under the leadership of Bautista includes the Social Pension Program (SPP), Community-Driven Development (CDD) program, Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP), Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Program, Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, and other projects.
Under the leadership of Bautista are two milestone legislations supported by DSWD which were enacted into laws, namely the Republic Act 11292 or the Magna Carta of the Poor; and Republic Act 11310 or the 4Ps Act. He also prioritized the Department’s advocacy for clear guidelines in the provisions of benefits for the social workers as mandated by the Magna Carta for Public Social Workers. DSWD also signed Joint Circular No. 1 with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in December 2018 which provides for the Rules and Regulations on the Grant of Compensation-Related Magna Carta Benefits for Public Social Workers.
Bautista also has also shown that he cares for the welfare of the welfare-givers through the regularization of Memorandum-of-Agreement (MOA) workers which comprise the majority of the Department’s workforce.
A hero to many and for years to come, Bautista continues to work hard to this day to deliver his commitment in serving the Filipino people whether in or out of the battlefield.