Long lines of students and their parents or guardians were seen outside the offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Saturday as the agency started giving educational assistance.
At the DSWD Central Office in Batasan Complex, Quezon City, some students said they were in line as early as 5 p.m. on Friday to make sure they will make it to the cutoff, according to a report by Luisito Santos on Super Radyo dzBB.
The lines have become so long that they reached the Batasan-San Mateo Road.
In Kalibo, Aklan, long lines of beneficiaries formed outside the DSWD office even before dawn, Ava Moises of Super Radyo Kalibo reported on Dobol B TV.
Hundreds of beneficiaries also formed long lines at the DSWD Region XI office in Davao City, according to a report by Jhesa Torrefranca of Super Radyo Davao on Dobol B TV.
DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo announced on Thursday that the agency will distribute financial assistance to indigent students every Saturday until September 24.
Tulfo said the DSWD will give out P1,000 for elementary students, P2,000 for high school students, P3,000 for senior high school students, and P4,000 for college students or vocational courses.
He said there can be three beneficiaries per family.
Those who wish to avail of the assistance only need to bring the enrollment certificate and their school ID.
Tulfo said parents of elementary and high school students could get the assistance without bringing their children while senior high school students and college students may get the cash themselves.
He said those interested may set appointments online or they can walk in.
The program has a P500 million budget, Tulfo said.
At the DSWD Central Office on Saturday, a cutoff was implemented at 7 a.m. and only 2,000 beneficiaries were accommodated.
Those who did not make it to the cutoff were dismayed.
Around 4,000 beneficiaries and their parents or guardians were outside the DSWD Central Office on Saturday.
"Humihingi po ako ng paumanhin," Tulfo said on Saturday, addressing those who could not be accommodated.
(I am appealing for your understanding.)
"Meron pa namang next Saturday. Hanggang September 24 ito," he said in an interview on Dobol B TV.
(You can try again next Saturday. This will be until September 24.)
Tension however rose after those who were not accommodated fought their way inside the gate of the DSWD Central Office.
FLASH REPORT: Mga nakapila sa labas ng central office ng DSWD sa Quezon City, nagtulakan matapos magtangkang pumasok sa tanggapan ang ilan sa mga hindi nakaabot para mabigyan ng educational assistance ngayong araw. | via @luisitosantos03 pic.twitter.com/mOVs5uNn1c— DZBB Super Radyo (@dzbb) August 19, 2022
Some students climbed over the fence while others pushed the security guards manning the gate.
There were some senior citizens who fainted while others cried.
MORE: Nahimatay ang isang senior citizen matapos makipagsiksikan para lang makapasok sa central office ng DSWD sa Quezon City para sa educational assistance. | via @luisitosantos03 pic.twitter.com/ps1TKFBNxL— DZBB Super Radyo (@dzbb) August 19, 2022
Some students took a tarpaulin and made a placard demanding they be allowed inside.
LOOK: Ilang college student na pumila sa pamamahagi ng educational assistance sa punong tanggapan ng @dswdserves sa Quezon City, nanawagan na unahin sila. | via @luisitosantos03 pic.twitter.com/Pix2dVZ4TN— DZBB Super Radyo (@dzbb) August 19, 2022
Tulfo then went out of the DSWD Central Office with a megaphone and addressed the crowd.
He said the DSWD will not be able to accommodate everyone.
"Hindi po natin kakayanin lahat kayo. Ang kakayanin namin hanggang mamayang gabi lang," Tulfo said.
(We will not be able to accommodate all of you. We can only process until tonight.)
However, the beneficiary applicants can get an appointment via QR code, and the DSWD will then contact them for their schedule of claiming their educational assistance, he said.
"Kailangan po niyong sagutan ang QR code na ito... Kukunan niyo ng cellphone at sasagot kami ng schedule niyo," Tulfo added.
(You need to fill out this QR code. Use your cellphone, then we will reply to give you your schedule.)
Later in the morning, Tulfo again apologized to students and their parents and guardians who did not receive their educational assistance despite falling in line at Batasan Complex in Quezon City.
"Pasensiya na po kayo. Ginagawan naman ho namin ng paraan. Nagre-recalibrate po kami, ina-adjust po namin," Tulfo said in media interview.
Tulfo also said the DSWD has targeted that processing for each beneficiary's application will be for two minutes only to make sure the lines will move fast.
The cash assistance will be given right there after the applicant has presented the required documents and answered the social worker's questions.
The DSWD secretary said the agency's website could not handle all the traffic coming from beneficiary applicants, but their information technology department is already working on it.
Tulfo also said the DSWD Central Office started giving educational assistance at 7 a.m. while regional, provincial, and satellite offices started at 8 a.m.
However, he said the DSWD will also coordinate with municipalities so as to give the educational assistance in their offices. —KG, GMA News