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DSWD needs up to P300M for revival of education aid program

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be needing an additional P200 to P300 million to reopen its educational assistance program for indigent students, which ended on Saturday, Secretary Erwin Tulfo said Sunday.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, Tulfo admitted that the P1.5-billion budget for the program was not enough, considering that the number of students who registered in their system reached two million. He said some of them also registered twice or thrice.

As the DSWD suggested, the proposed P200 to P300 million additional funding for the cash assistance program could be distributed per district, and the registration could then be done in every region.

“Maghahanap kami ng pondo dahil ‘yun ang nailaan namin at medyo wala na po, so maghahanap kami ng savings within the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS). ‘Yang pondo na ‘yan nasa loob ng AICS, so maghahanap kapag may nakita kami, then maaaring magbigay muli ng educational assistance para sa mga hindi pa nabigyan,” he said.

(We will look for funds because what we have allocated is nearly exhausted. We will look for savings under the AICS. If we find something, then we may provide educational assistance again for those who have not been given yet.)

In a message to GMA News Online, DSWD Undersecretary Jerico Javier said that as of 6 p.m. of September 24, the overall amount disbursed under the cash assistance program was at P1,631,350,000.

He pointed out that this amount resulted in a 108% utilization of the original P1.5-billion budget for the initiative.

Javier said that the excess P131 million was obtained from DSWD’s regular funds under the AICS program.

Since August 20—the first of the six Saturdays set for the cash payout that ended on September 24—the program catered to a total of 676,922 beneficiaries.

The agency initially targeted to serve only about 400,000 students all over the country.

Under the program, up to three students per indigent family could receive 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. —LBG, GMA News