MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) tasked local government units (LGUs) to help the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in distributing education financial assistance or “ayuda”, in the wake of the chaotic aid rollout nationwide on Saturday, August 20.
In a statement on Monday, August 22, DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos said a memorandum of agreement between his agency and the DSWD instructs the latter to coordinate with LGUs on disseminating information on the guidelines, mechanics, and schedule of aid disbursement.
He added that LGUs must provide manpower support and fixed venues, but clarified that DSWD personnel and social workers are still the ones in-charge of handing out the cash aid.
“In cases of cities and big municipalities, it is encouraged to have multiple distribution centers to avoid over-crowding of students and their parents,” the DILG’s press release quoted him as saying.
DILG’s response followed DSWD’s call for help, when thousands of Filipinos seeking financial education assistance trooped to the government’s central and regional social welfare offices.
Progressive groups criticized the DSWD for being ill-prepared, while DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo had already apologized.
“I apologize if you were not able to receive cash aid. But we did not say we will give everyone cash aid within today,” DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo had said.
Under the DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, vulnerable families with children in elementary schools will receive financial assistance worth P1,000; high school, P2,000; senior high school, P3,000; and college, P4,000.
A maximum of three students per family can join the six-week program originally scheduled every Saturday, from August 20 to September 24.
A total of 24,175 schools returned to five days of face-to-face classes in the Philippines on August 22 after two years of pandemic-driven distance learning. – Rappler.com
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