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DSWD: Food stamps program beneficiaries required to enroll in DOLE, TESDA job programs

Beneficiaries of the government’s food stamps program would be required to get enrolled in the job-generating programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Sunday.

In a Super Radyo dzBB interview, DSWD Undersecretary Eduardo Punay explained that this requirement aims to end the Filipinos’ “culture of dependency” on the financial assistance typically provided by the government.

“Itong design natin para sa food stamp program ay multi-purpose… Nag-e-evolve na ang DSWD. Hindi lang kami puro ayuda na kinalakihan ng ating kababayan. Kami ay nagiging developmental na. Sinisiguro namin na 'yung aming mga beneficiary ay hindi masasanay lang sa ayuda lang na tanggap nang tanggap,” he said.

(The design for the food stamp program is multi-purpose... The DSWD is evolving. We don’t just provide financial assistance to our countrymen anymore. We are aiming for development. We now ensure that our beneficiaries will not get used to just receiving help.)

Thus, in order for the food stamp beneficiaries to remain in the program, Punay said among their requirements is to submit a certificate proving that they are looking for a job through DOLE or TESDA.

“‘Yun ang objective natin para sagutin na natin ‘yung isang pagkain nila for the day para ‘yung gagastusin nila sa pagkain, ipang-pamasahe na lang nila o ipang-training na lang nila para makahanap sila ng trabaho,” he added.

(That is our objective. We will provide their one meal for the day, so they could use their remaining money for their fares or training so they can find a job.)

The DSWD earlier said that the estimated P40-billion budget requirement for the food stamps program will cover the P3,000 per month allowance of targeted one million poor families.

The agency would provide "electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards" that will be loaded with food credits for beneficiaries to purchase a select list of food commodities from the DSWD-registered or accredited local retailers.

Dubbed as "Walang Gutom 2027: Food Stamp Program," the project aims to assist targeted households to address involuntary hunger in the country.

Punay said on Saturday that the government is still discussing how it will bankroll the implementation of the food stamps program. —KG, GMA Integrated News