Philippine economy

DSWD suspends activities of some safety net programs to prevent coronavirus spread

Michelle Abad

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DSWD suspends activities of some safety net programs to prevent coronavirus spread
Activities that require social contact in programs such as the 4Ps, unconditional cash transfer, emergency shelter assistance, and sustainable livelihood program are suspended from March 15 to April 14

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced on Monday, March 16, a month-long, nationwide suspension of activities involving a number of its safety net welfare programs to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as well as protect its community workers, beneficiaries, and stakeholders.

In a press statement, the DSWD said that activities requiring social contact in the following programs are suspended from March 15 to April 14:

  • Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens
  • Unconditional Cash Transfer
  • Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Social Welfare Development Indicator
  • 4Ps over-the-counter pay-outs
  • 4Ps distribution of cash cards
  • Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
  • Offsite Serbisyo
  • Listahanan
  • Emergency Shelter Assistance
  • Supplementary Feeding Program
  • Sustainable Livelihood Program
  • Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan
  • Service Delivery Assessment

DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said that the programs themselves are not suspended, but only some activities that require social contact or mass gatherings.

Tuloy pa rin ang programs (The programs are still operational),” Dumlao said.

Dumlao said that 4Ps pay-outs via cash card will continue “as long as ATMs are still available.” (READ: FACT CHECK: How 4Ps funds are paid out to beneficiaries)

Meanwhile, the following measures are still fully operational:

  • Assistance to individuals in crisis situation, which is limited to senior citizen assistance, burial and medical assistance in the form of guarantee letters, and cash assistance to victims of fire
  • Food and non-food items distribution, which will be delivered by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to local government units, which in turn will distribute these to their residents in need
  • Centers and residential care facilities, provided the number of visitors will be regulated
  • International social services office, which is in charge of providing DSWD services to distressed overseas Filipinos

All offices, bureaus, services, and units within the DSWD central office and field offices will operate with a skeleton force, such that while services will continue everyday, the staff can only serve a limited number of beneficiaries.

Clients may proceed to the Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Team Offices in the different provinces nationwide where 30 beneficiaries daily will be accepted for processing, and at various DSWD Field Offices where 50 beneficiaries daily will be processed. The DSWD Central Office will also accept and process the request for assistance of 100 beneficiaries daily.  A guarantee letter will be given to the beneficiaries,” the DSWD said in its press release. –

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.