MANILA — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported Thursday that it has released PHP1.411 billion worth of aid to 410,939 people nationwide who have experienced a crisis from January to June this year.
“When we say ‘in crisis’, these are events that cause shock or trauma, producing mental, psychological, and physical distress to a person,” DSWD Undersecretary for Operations and Protective Programs Hope Hervilla said in a news release.
The assistance was delivered through the department’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), which serves as an immediate response or a social safety net to support the recovery of families and individuals from an unexpected crisis, such as illness, death of a family member, natural and human-induced emergencies.
Under the AICS, the DSWD provides educational, medical, transportation and burial assistance to people in a crisis situation, especially those who are poor, marginalized, vulnerable, and disadvantaged.
Hervilla said the assistance prevents them from feeling helpless and thus helps them cope with their crisis.
Meanwhile, in an interview, a client of AICS from Bagumbong, Caloocan City, a woman who declined to be named, said she was able to obtain a financial assistance from DSWD after she presented to the department a certificate of indigency she had secured from their barangay.
The woman was a high school dropout who once worked as an entertainer in Japan. She was not able to save much from that job, so she worked illegally in Malaysia but was caught, jailed and deported. She later suffered a stroke that paralyzed half of her body and slurred her speech.
When her bedridden father died, she again sought assistance from the DSWD. After presenting his death certificate and the certificate of indigency, she was able to obtain PHP5,000, which was spent on the coffin and other burial expenses.
Another client, a student whose father was hospitalized, told this reporter that she was thankful for the financial assistance provided by the AICS.
She said she needed the funds for her siblings’ daily transportation fare to school and for their baon (pocket money) so they could continue their studies while their father was ill.
She approached AICS and presented a letter certifying that her father was confined in a hospital, the diagnosis of his illness, and the medicines prescribed to him, as well as the registration forms of her siblings.
Social workers interviewed her and assessed her documents. She obtained about PHP5,000, which she spent on her siblings for three months.