The new DSWD secretary, Erwin Tulfo. Photo by John Orven Verdote
Erwin Tulfo, incoming secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 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 at a recent forum.
To ensure a smooth transition of power and responsibilities, DSWD officials held three days of cluster briefings starting June 8 with Tulfo and his team.
Tulfo’s information team consisted of the heads of the Disaster Response and Management Group, the Standards and Capacity Building Group, the General Administration Support Services Group, the Operations Group and programs, the policies and plans group and the secretary’s office group. They discussed their functions, key result areas, corresponding budget and complement of staff.
“The men and women of DSWD are committed to supporting Mr. Erwin Tulfo in fulfilling the Department’s mandate,” said DSWD spokeswoman Irene Dumlao.
“We also believe that Mr. Erwin Tulfo can deliver effective and efficient services to the poor, vulnerable and marginalized,” Dumlao added.
The outgoing DSWD leadership of Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista has prepared a transition manual that will be sent to the new leadership on June 30.
Tulfo praised the positive and hospitable reception from Bautista, which he described as “so professional and cordial” that they had already put their past disagreement behind them in 2019.
Tulfo once fired a broadside at Bautista during his radio show. The show’s reporter lambasted the secretary for not being available for a live interview on Tulfo’s radio show.
Tulfo had wanted to ask Bautista about DSWD’s plans following the signing of the Magna Carta of the Poor, an anti-poverty measure, but Bautista allegedly met with an ambassador at the time.
“The past is over, lahat naman tayo ay nagkakamali (everyone makes mistakes),” Tulfo said during one of his transition meetings with the media.
Tulfo is the fourth candidate on the Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) party slate, which won three seats in the 2022 election but is limited to just three due to election rules. The second candidate is his sister-in-law Jocelyn Tulfo. Erwin is the brother of Senator-elect Rafael “Raffy” Tulfo.
Raffy’s son, Ralph, was elected to represent Quezon City’s Second Congressional District.
The Tulfo brothers, including Ramon Jr. and Bienvenido (Ben), became known for helping the poor and serving as pointers for injustices.
“Because my family members work for the government, I am sure DSWD will benefit from any mandates and reforms. I will work closely with my family,” Tulfo said.
He said that after the transition meeting, he issued a warning to repairers who profit from processing applications for financial assistance for the poor.
Repairers “have until June 30 to stop taking advantage of poor people’s money. It’s not yours. If you continue to act in this way, I will deal directly with the Philippine National Police to have you arrested” , said Tulfo.
He called for outgoing ACT-CIS party slate representative Rowena Niña Taduran to be named undersecretary for legislative liaison affairs.
“I am honored to have been chosen as a member of Secretary Erwin Tulfo’s team. I am thrilled because it is truly my calling, especially to provide public service and help others,” Taduran said.