MANILA — Indigent students all over the country may get between P1,000 and P4,000 in educational assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the agency said Thursday.
DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo said poor elementary pupils can get P1,000, high school students can get P2,000, while senior high school and college students may receive P3,000 and P4,000, respectively.
Only up to three students per family can participate in the 6-week program, which will run from Aug. 20 until Sept. 24, Tulfo added.
Students or parents must present their school ID and enrollment certificate.
"This program is aimed to help our indigent students all over the country. Which means to say, children coming from poor families will be given cash assistance to buy their school supplies or whatever they need in school," Tulfo said.
"Sino po ba ang puwede? Lahat ng mga bata na anak ng mahihirap. Hindi lamang solo parent... Magulang ay PWD, may mga sakit, ulila na mga bata, batang anak ng tricycle driver, labandera... puwede kayo pumunta," he added.
(Who are qualified? All poor children. This is not just for children of solo parents, but also those whose parents are PWDs, are sick, are already dead, are tricycle drivers and doing laundry jobs... All those can avail of this.)
Non-members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) may also avail of the assistance as long as they are in crisis, said the DSWD chief. Government has earmarked P500 million for this, he said.
Availing the cash aid, he noted, can be done through online appointments, emails, or walk-ins every Saturday.
The DSWD chief did not give a figure on how many students will benefit from this, but the agency's central office alone recorded 24,000 indigent students who may participate in the program.
"Inatasan ko na ang aming central office, mga regional offices namin, provincial offices, satellite offices, na magbukas sa araw ng Sabado at every Saturday up to September 24 para i-cater ang pangangailangan ng estudyante," said Tulfo.
(I advised our central office, regional, provincial, and satellite offices to be open every Saturday until September 24 to cater to the needs of the students.)
Requirements have been simplified to be able to immediately extend help to the needy learners, he added.
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But he hopes only those who are truly indigent students will participate in the educational assistance program.
"Siguro, yung mga may pera ay hindi na magpupumila diyan ng 6 hours para makakuha ng pang-bayad ng... uniporme o school supplies. So we are hoping and expecting na mga indigent lang ang pipila diyan," he said.
(Those who are financially secured should no longer fall in line for 6 hours just to get assistance for uniforms and school supplies. So, we are hoping and expecting that only the indigent will avail of this.)
Asked further if an additional requirement, such as a certificate of indigency from the locality, will be needed to avail of the assistance, Tulfo said, "Inalis na natin muna 'yun... kasi napupulitika. Mas maraming nakakarating na reklamo... na pinipili ang bibigyan ni chairman, barangay kagawad, or office of the mayor ng indigency."
(We removed it because it has become politicized. There are complaints that some local officials pick only the people they issue certificates of indigence to.)
"We will take our chances na tanggapin ang mga 'yan at i-a-assess naman ng aming social welfare officers. 'Tsaka mayroon naman silang experience when it comes to that matter."
(We will take our chances in accepting applicants, with our social welfare officers doing the assessment. Our social welfare officers are already experienced when it comes to that matter.)
At least 19.99 million Filipinos were considered poor in 2021 as the poverty incidence rose to 18.1 percent, the state statistics bureau said Monday.
Being poor means the number of Filipinos whose per capita income is insufficient to meet basic food and non-food needs.
The number is higher than the 16.7 percent poverty incidence in the last survey held in 2018, which was equivalent to 17.7 million poor Filipinos, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in a briefing.