P141 million given out on first payout for indigent students, says DSWD

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 21 2022 09:51 AM

People queue at the DSWD main office in Quezon City to avail of the department's educational cash assistance for indigent students on August 20, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
People queue at the DSWD main office in Quezon City to avail of the department's educational cash assistance for indigent students on August 20, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — More than P141 million have been given out to some 48,000 indigent students all over the country on the first day of the Department of Social Welfare and Development's 6-week cash assistance program, the agency said Sunday.

The DSWD issued the breakdown of the payout amid the chaos that marred the distribution in some areas in different parts of the country after large crowds showed up in some centers to claim the aid.

DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo said during the announcement of the program, which is part of the agency's Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program, that up to P500 million had been allotted for poor students from the elementary until vocational and college levels.

Two regions recorded the highest payouts since the program started on Saturday: Ilocos Region and Western Visayas, where more than P20 million worth of cash assistance was distributed to more than 5,000 students in each region.

The breakdown of the first payout of the said cash aid is as follows:

  • National Capital Region: P4,191,000 to 1,594 clients
  • Cordillera Administrative Region: P3,706,500 to 1,124 clients
  • Central Office (Quezon City): P7,844,000 to 2,149 clients
  • Region 1: P20,422,000 to 5,715 clients
  • Region 2: P10,563,000 to 4,360 clients
  • Region 3: P7,154,000 to 2,661 clients
  • Region 4A: P14,292,000 to 5,019 clients
  • Region 4B: P5,629,000 to 2,483 clients
  • Region 5: P8,131,000 to 2,832 clients
  • Region 6: P20,760,000 to 5,144 clients
  • Region 7: P7,234,000 to 3,339 clients
  • Region 8: P4,897,000 to 1,627 clients
  • Region 9: P2,801,000 to 949 clients
  • Region 10: P7,654,000 to 2,306 clients
  • Region 11: P6,358,000 to 2,760 clients
  • Region 12: P8,694,000 to 3,755 clients
  • Region 13: P719,000 to 216 clients

Tulfo had said that the payout will be done every Saturday from Aug. 20 until Sept. 24. Only up to 3 students per family can participate in the said program.

The DSWD chief did not give a figure on how many students in total will benefit from this, but said the agency's central office alone recorded 24,000 indigent students who may participate in the program. 

Woes marred the first day of cash aid distribution on Saturday, particularly at the DSWD's main office in Quezon City.

Late Saturday evening, Leonida Macalinao Supapo stood in tears by the gates of the office after waiting since Friday night in hopes of getting aid for her children.

“Taga-Sta. Rosa, Laguna ako. Kagabi, alas-10 ng gabi pa ko pumila. Umutang pa ko sa kapitbahay para sa pamasahe, ” Supapo told ABS-CBN News.

Supapo had to endure the rain, hunger, sleeplessness, and overcrowding for the said cash aid.

"Umiyak sa sobrang pagod, init, walang tulog, uhaw, gutom, tulakan. Pagdating dito, sasabihin di kami nakapila,” she said.

She had lost her spot in the queue after seeking shelter due to the heavy downpour. 

But despite the odds, she continued waiting for the aid to come as she thought of her daughter, a person with disability (PWD), who had been looking forward to going back to school.

“PWD anak ko na iyon. Sabi niya, 'Mama bilhan mo ko sapatos, pasukan na sa Monday.' Sige, anak magbabasakali ako pumila doon kahit malayo. Inutang ko pa pera para makarating dito,” she shared in between cries.

Supapo's plea was eventually heard as was allowed inside the DSWD office's gates by 9 p.m. Saturday.

Following the chaos, Tulfo promised the agency will do better in the following weeks.

“Sa mga galit po sa amin ngayon dahil hindi po namin natulungan today…, ang amin pong taos-pusong paumanhin,” he said in a Facebook post.

"We will do better next Saturday at sa darating na limang Sabado," he added.

While Tulfo announced that the program will be branched out to more accessible locations, he assured that his department will not cascade the payout to local officers.

“'Huwag po kayong mag-alala dahil ang DSWD pa rin po ang mamimili ng mga benepisyaryo para maiwasan ang palakasan, kapit, at padrino. Katuwang na rin po namin ang DILG sa proyektong ito,” he wrote.

Under the program, elementary students will receive P1,000; high school students, P2,000; senior high school students, P3,000; and vocational and college students, P4,000.

"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 last week.

Public school classes will commence Monday.

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 last Monday.

Being poor means their 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.

- reports from Jervis Manahan, Anna Cerezo, Raffy Cabristante and Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

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