DSWD to distribute ₱500 million cash aid to indigent students

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will start a six-week program to distribute ₱500 million in cash assistance to indigent students from elementary to college.

At a briefing on Thursday, Socal Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo said the distribution will begin on Aug. 20, and will continue every Saturday until Sept. 24.

"This program is aimed to help our indigent students all over the country," Tulfo said. "Meaning children coming from poor families will be given cash assistance to buy their school supplies or whatever they need in school."

Tulfo said this would be under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, with funds already set aside for it.

Cash assistance to be given will depend on the education level of the beneficiaries: ₱1,000 for elementary, ₱2,000 for high school, ₱3,000 for senior high school and ₱4,000 for college or vocational students.

Up to three children from each family can receive the aid. Recipients can set an appointment with the DSWD or walk in to get the cash assistance.

Tulfo, however, said it would be better to first make an appointment by e-mail.

"Don't worry, bayan, nakasubi na 'yan para hindi kayo maubusan," he said. "We saved around ₱500 million na pondo para sa mga estudyante na indigent na kailangan ng mga gamit."

[Translation: Don't worry, we have set aside the funds so it will not run out. We have around ₱500 million for students' needs.]

Tulfo also said DSWD offices nationwide will open in the morning, saying he wants the processing of assistance to be done within the day.

" Ayaw kong pabalik-balik ang estudyante, mahal ang pamasahe," he said. "Kailangan ibigay on the same day."

[Translation: I don't want to the students to go back and forth, the fare is expensive. The aid has to be given on the same day.]

Students or their parents can claim the cash aid, and only need to bring proof of enrollment and a valid ID.

Tulfo said he reduced the number of requirements to ease the burden on recipients, adding that everyone who goes to DSWD offices would be assessed to see if they qualify.

He also said DSWD personnel were instructed to give the aid to those who need it, and not just those selected by officials.

The DSWD did not say how many students could benefit from the cash aid.