Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Philippines

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is an institution emblematic of the country’s dedication to social justice and equitable progress. Serving as an institution of hope for millions, the DSWD has been pivotal in uplifting the lives of countless Filipinos.

From safeguarding the rights and welfare of the vulnerable to responding swiftly and effectively in times of disaster, the department’s role transcends mere administrative duties, embodying the spirit of “malasakit” or deep concern and care. Whether you are seeking assistance, looking to contribute, or simply aiming to understand the department’s role in shaping a more compassionate and inclusive Philippines, the DSWD stands as a testament to the nation’s collective resolve to ensure no one is left behind. Its initiatives, ranging from financial aid and social welfare programs to developmental projects, all aim to foster an environment where growth and welfare go hand in hand.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Credits: PNA, DSWD Facebook Page

Understanding the DSWD

History and Mission

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has a storied past, tracing its roots back to 1915 with the establishment of the Public Welfare Board (PWB), representing the earliest dedicated efforts in social welfare in the Philippines.

  • Over the decades, the agency has undergone several transformations, notably in 1939 as the Bureau of Public Welfare, and later in 1968 when it was elevated to the Department of Social Welfare (DSW).
  • Further changes in 1976 and 1987, including a renaming to DSSD and eventually merging with the Ministry of Social Welfare, culminated in the formation of today’s DSWD under Executive Order No. 292.

The mission of the DSWD is deeply rooted in empowerment and support, focusing on “empowering the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized sectors of Filipino society through social protection programs and services.” This mission underscores its commitment to uplift and integrate these sectors into the mainstream of society, ensuring no one is left behind.

Empowering and Supporting Vulnerable Populations

Through a wide array of initiatives, including social protection programs, capacity building, and advocacy, the DSWD actively works to provide financial assistance, livelihood opportunities, and access to basic necessities.

Its efforts extend to various groups, including families, children, seniors, persons with disabilities, and victims of calamities, emphasizing the holistic development and welfare of these communities.

Structure and Function

  • At the helm of the DSWD is a Secretary, appointed by the President, who leads the department’s overarching vision and strategy.
  • Supported by four Undersecretaries, the department is divided into areas focusing on field operations, policy planning, support services, and overall management.
  • With a central office in Manila and 17 regional offices, the DSWD’s reach spans across the nation, ensuring its services are accessible to all Filipinos.


Key Divisions and their Roles:

  1. Field Operations Service: This division is the frontline of the DSWD, delivering social protection programs and services directly to beneficiaries. It operates through regional and field offices, ensuring that aid reaches even the most remote areas.
  2. Policy and Planning Service: Tasked with the crucial role of developing and implementing social protection policies, this division conducts thorough research and analysis to address the evolving social needs of the population.
  3. Support Services: A backbone of the DSWD, this division provides the necessary administrative, logistical, and technical support to ensure the smooth operation of all units within the department.
  4. Management Services: Overseeing the department’s financial and human resources, this division is key to ensuring that operations are both efficient and transparent, upholding the DSWD’s commitment to accountability and good governance.
DSWD Philippines
logo of DSWD

Key Programs and Services

Social Protection and Welfare Programs

The DSWD is at the forefront of providing a safety net for the most vulnerable sectors of Philippine society through a variety of social protection and welfare programs. These initiatives are designed to address immediate needs while laying the groundwork for long-term social development.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps): This flagship program is a conditional cash transfer initiative aimed at investing in human capital. It provides financial aid to impoverished households, particularly those with pregnant women, lactating mothers, children aged 0-18, and persons with disabilities (PWDs). The program’s primary objective is to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by ensuring health, nutrition, and education for the children and empowering families through financial support.


Supplemental Feeding Program (SFP): Targeting the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable, the SFP offers meals to malnourished children aged 0-5, pregnant women, and lactating mothers. Its goal is to improve their nutritional status and prevent stunting, contributing to the overall health and well-being of the beneficiaries.

Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP): The SLP is designed to provide livelihood assets, skills training, and financial cash help to empower poor families and individuals. By fostering an environment where beneficiaries can generate income and promote self-reliance, the program aims to create sustainable livelihood opportunities and enhance the economic stability of communities.

Other Programs: The DSWD also offers a wide array of services catering to various vulnerable groups, including senior citizens, persons in crisis situations, and victims of trafficking. These programs are tailored to meet the specific needs of each group, providing a comprehensive approach to social welfare.

Disaster Response and Management

In times of calamity, the DSWD plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and well-being of affected communities. Its disaster response and management efforts include:

  • Chairing the Relief and Rehabilitation Committees of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), coordinating efforts across multiple agencies.
  • Mobilizing and delivering relief aid such as food, non-food items, and financial aid to families impacted by disasters.
  • Managing evacuation centers and safeguarding the rights and welfare of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
  • Implementing early recovery and rehabilitation programs to help communities bounce back and rebuild.
  • Preparing and prepositioning stocks of relief goods in strategic locations to ensure quick and efficient distribution.
  • Coordinating with other government agencies, NGOs, and international partners to maximize resources and expertise.

Community and Capacity Building

DSWD’s commitment to empowering communities is reflected in its various capacity-building initiatives. These programs aim to foster self-sufficiency and resilience by:

  • Facilitating community organizing and leadership development, enabling communities to take charge of their own development.
  • Providing capacity-building training on crucial topics like disaster preparedness, conflict resolution, and resource management, equipping communities with the skills they need to face various challenges.
  • Supporting community-based projects and initiatives that address local needs and challenges, ensuring that development efforts are tailored to the specific context of each community.
  • Promoting partnerships between government, civil society, and the private sector to create a collaborative environment for sustainable development.

Through these key programs and services, the DSWD not only addresses the immediate needs of the vulnerable but also lays a foundation for a more secure and prosperous future for all Filipinos.

The department’s comprehensive approach to social welfare and community empowerment exemplifies its unwavering commitment to “malasakit” and social justice, making it a cornerstone of the nation’s pursuit of inclusive growth and equitable progress.

Accessing DSWD Services

Accessing services from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) can be a lifeline for those in need. Whether you’re an individual facing a crisis, or a community affected by calamity, understanding how to navigate the DSWD’s resources is crucial. This section provides an overview of qualifications, a step-by-step guide to the application process, required paperwork, and tips for ensuring a smooth application process.

Eligibility and Application

Types of Assistance and Eligibility Criteria

  1. Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS)
    • Types of Assistance: Medical, funeral, transportation, educational, food and non-food items, livelihood, psychosocial services, shelter, and legal assistance.
    • Eligibility: Individuals or families facing unexpected crises such as illness, death, disaster, abuse, or violence.
  2. Assistance to Communities in Need (ACN)
    • Types of Assistance: Food packs, cash-for-work programs, and repair or construction of community facilities.
    • Eligibility: Communities affected by disasters or calamities.
  3. Regular DSWD Programs
    • Programs Include: Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, and Assistance to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), among others.
    • Eligibility: Varies depending on the program. Specific requirements are available at local DSWD offices.

Application Process

  1. Initial Visit: Go to your nearest DSWD office or the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).
  2. Form Submission: Fill out the application form and submit the required documents.
  3. Interview: Undergo an assessment with a DSWD social worker to discuss your situation and needs.


General Requirements

  • Barangay Certificate of Indigency: Obtain this from your barangay office as proof of your financial status.
  • Valid ID: Any government-issued identification with your photo and signature.
  • Proof of Crisis Situation: Relevant documents such as medical certificates, death certificates, police reports, or disaster-related papers depending on your situation.
  • Additional Documents: Some assistance programs may require further documentation. Be prepared to provide these as requested.

Tips for a Smooth Process

  1. Preparation: Gather all necessary papers before applying to avoid delays.
  2. Honesty: Provide accurate information during your interview to ensure appropriate assistance.
  3. Follow-Up: Regularly check on the status of your application to stay updated.
  4. Patience: Understand that processing times can vary and be patient throughout the process.
  5. Seek Help: Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance or clarification from DSWD social workers or community volunteers.

By familiarizing yourself with these steps and requirements, you can navigate the DSWD’s assistance programs more effectively and get the help you or your community needs in times of crisis. Remember, the DSWD is there to support you, and understanding how to access its services is the first step toward empowerment and recovery.

Video: 5 DSWD Strategy and PGS Journey Orientation AVP 1


Here’s a video that encapsulates the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) transformative journey through the implementation of the Performance Governance System (PGS), as outlined in the Administrative Order Number Five series of 2020. This system is a testament to the department’s commitment to elevating service delivery and effectively executing the DSWD Strategic Plan 2018-2022. The video illustrates how the PGS framework is designed to enhance long-term reforms and amplify the department’s strategic impact, adhering to its mandate of empowering the vulnerable sectors of society.

error: Content is protected !!