By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has decided to temporarily suspend its educational assistance for the poor, as it almost completely depleted funds intended for “crisis” situations.
It announced on Wednesday the temporary suspension of the processing of educational assistance under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City to also give way to the provision of medical, burial, and funeral assistance.
“We sincerely apologize to our clients seeking educational assistance because we can no longer accommodate their requests. The budget of the Central Office for the AICS program has already been depleted and we need to request for additional budget to finance the program,” DSWD Secretary Virginia Orogo explained.
She encouraged clients to seek help from their respective local government units (LGUs) as they have the primary mandate to provide direct service to their constituents.
Orogo also emphasized that DSWD only augments the resources of LGUs explaining further that the Department comes in when they have already exhausted their resources.
Meanwhile, DSWD Undersecretary Mae Fe Templa, head of the Protective Operations and Programs Group also said that the DSWD is doing its best effort to facilitate the immediate provision of the educational assistance to those queuing up at the Central Office.
“Requests for educational assistance for elementary students have already been processed last week and high school students will be processed only this week, while those for state universities and college will be processed as soon as possible,” she said.
From June 25 to June 29, DSWD has already served 6,128 clients applying for educational assistance with a total amount of P8,838,500.
Orogo also expressed concern on the safety of clients and students lining up before the crack of dawn or staying overnight in the DSWD premises just to be ahead in the queue.
“As much as we want to help all of our clients, we fear for their health because of the changing weather condition and also for their safety. Some clients also bring their small children because they have no relative who can watch over their kids at home. It is very unsafe and we cannot guarantee their security at all times,” Orogo said.
“Our social workers and administrative staff are also working overtime to process all documents just to accommodate all of the clients. Most of them are going home late at night and some are already getting sick,” she added.