What is DSWD – Department of Social Welfare and Development

The Department of Social Welfare and Development is the Philippines’ lead agency for social protection. They are “mandated to promote social development and protect and improve the quality of life of Filipino people, especially the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged through lectures, training, relief assistance, rehabilitation programs, and other services.”  

Also read: What is OWWA – Overseas Workers Welfare Administration

The DSWD was created on May 1, 1987, under Executive Order (EO) No. 123 by President Corazon Aquino.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the DSWD, what they do, and how they operate.

what is dswd department of social welfare and development

DSWD Organizational Structure

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is the Philippine government agency tasked with protecting and promoting the social welfare and development of Filipinos. 

The department is organized into four levels: the central office, the field offices, the regional offices, and the city/municipal offices. Each level has a different role to play in ensuring that DSWD’s mandate is carried out. 

The Central Office is responsible for policymaking, planning, and coordination. It is composed of the Secretary’s office, the Undersecretary’s office, the Assistant Secretaries’ office, the bureaus, and the attached agencies. 

The Field Offices are responsible for social welfare and development programs and services at the community level. They implement programs and services that address the needs of vulnerable groups such as women, children, persons with disabilities, elders, indigenous peoples, and families affected by disasters. 

The Regional Offices are responsible for supervising and monitoring the field offices to ensure that they are adhering to DSWD guidelines. They also provide technical assistance to field offices when needed. 

The City/Municipal Offices are responsible for directly delivering social welfare and development services to communities. These include but are not limited to the provision of relief goods in times of disaster, nutritious meals for malnourished children, and skills training for unemployed adults. 

What Does The DSWD Do? 

The DSWD provides social protection to vulnerable groups through a variety of programs and services. Some of these programs include:

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program: 

Also known as 4Ps, this program provides health and educational assistance to impoverished households with children aged 0-18 years old. 

Supplemental Feeding Program 

Provides supplementary nutritious food to undernourished children aged 0-5 years old, pregnant and lactating women, and senior citizens aged 60 years old and above. 

Shelter Assistance Program

Provides temporary shelters and necessities to families displaced by natural or human-caused disasters. 

Solo Parent Welfare Act Program

Assists solo parents and their children through counseling, skills training, livelihood assistance, parental education, and other forms of support. 

Adoption and Foster Care

DSWD’s adoption and foster care program work to provide permanent homes for children who are orphaned, abandoned, or otherwise unable to be cared for by their biological parents. The agency works closely with licensed child-placing agencies to facilitate adoptions and place children in temporary or long-term foster care arrangements. 

Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB)

BUB is a participatory budgeting process that allows communities to directly participate in the formulation of local development plans and the allocation of resources. Through BUB, community members can identify development priorities and choose which projects will be funded. 

Gender And Development

DSWD’s gender and development program seek to promote gender equality and empower women across the Philippines. The program works to eliminate discrimination against women in all forms, including in the workplace, at home, and in society at large. 


Listahanan is a national household targeting system that identifies who among the population are poor and vulnerable. 

The system uses a multi-dimensional approach to poverty measurement, which takes into account not just income but also other indicators such as health, education, housing, etc. Listahanan is used to target social protection programs specifically for those who are most in need. 

Reintegration Program for Abused Women

Aims to reintegrate abused women back into their families and communities through counseling, legal assistance, skills training, livelihood assistance, and other forms of support. 

Disaster Response Assistance Program

Provides immediate relief assistance to families affected by natural or human-caused disasters. This includes food, water, clothing, temporary shelters, and other essential items. 

Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS)

Empowers communities to become self-sufficient by teaching them how to identify problems and develop solutions that will address those problems. Communities are also provided with financial assistance to implement their projects. 

Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) 

The Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) is a capacity-building program that seeks to empower communities and help them become more self-reliant. 

Under this program, community members are given access to resources and training that will help them acquire new skills or enhance their existing ones. They are also provided with capital assistance so they can start or expand their businesses. 

Moreover, the program aims to develop linkages between micro-entrepreneurs and potential markets.

Recovery And Reintegration Program For Trafficked Persons (RRPTP) 

The Recovery and Reintegration Program for Trafficked Persons (RRPTP) is a comprehensive assistance program that provides immediate, medium-term, and long-term services to victims of trafficking. 

The program covers a wide range of services such as rescue and emergency assistance, temporary shelter, medical and legal assistance, psycho-social support, skills training, livelihood assistance, reintegration assistance, monitoring, and evaluation. 

What Are The Benefits Of The Department Of Social Welfare And Development?

One of the primary benefits of the DSWD is that it provides financial assistance to those who are in need. This assistance takes various forms, such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which provides cash grants to poor families for health and education expenses. The DSWD also provides loans and scholarships to help Filipinos access quality education. 

Another major benefit of the DSWD is that it works to protect vulnerable members of society, such as children and women. The department does this by operating shelters for abused children, women who have been victims of violence, and trafficking victims. The department also provides legal assistance to help these individuals obtain justice. 

Finally, the DSWD helps promote human development in the Philippines through various programs and services. For example, the department operates community-based rehabilitation programs for persons with disabilities and provides job training for unemployed Filipinos. 


The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is a government department in the Philippines that is responsible for providing social services to the country’s citizens. 

The DSWD offers a variety of programs and services, including assistance with food, education, housing, and employment. They also work to protect vulnerable populations such as children, women, and the elderly. 

The DSWD has been praised for its efforts to help those in need, and it continues to play an important role in Philippine society.