Frustration, confusion cloud DSWD distribution of education aid

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/August 21) – Confusion and frustration marred the first day of the distribution here of cash aid for education by the region’s Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) from Soccsksargen on Saturday.

Thousands of residents of this city and the province of Sarangani flocked to the distribution kiosks set up by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Soccsksargen area for aid to indigent students in P1,000 for each primary school student, P2,000 for junior high, P3,000 for each high school student and P4,000 for each college student to enable them to purchase school supplies before classes start on August 22.

There are three designated distribution areas in this city to accommodate the influx of beneficiaries from this city and the neighboring province of Sarangani, said a staff at the Unihub kiosk in the city center. This is to avoid clutter at the DSWD field office, she said.

A mother and baby are among hundreds of Sarangani province residents who flocked to a DSWD distribution kiosk in the city of General Santos for educational aid to needy students, ranging from 1,000 to 4 000 pesos on Saturday, August 20, 2022. MindaNews Photo by ROMMEL G. REBOLLIDO

Many hopeful beneficiaries spent the night in front of these offices, but many of them returned home empty-handed, lamented a resident of the nearby town of Alabel in Sarangani province.

Rowena Alido, who was trying to get help for her two children, complained that she had been ducked. A DSWD staff member at the Unihub kiosk told him to go to Dadiangas South Elementary School, but found the school closed.

Alido returned to the hub kiosk but was told the time was already cut off and could no longer be served.

Alido, like the others who stood in long queues, hoped his children – an elementary school student and a high school student – would be included in the list of beneficiaries.

At least two residents of Alabel fainted in the scorching sun while queuing and were treated in a DSWD ambulance which was on standby.

In the town of Koronadal, hundreds of residents formed queues before daybreak. As soon as the DSWD office opens, residents jostle, jostle, jostle to try to be the first to be taken care of.

“The worst plan,” resident Harriet Corpuz said of the distribution system. She said the distribution should have been done in the schools with the children bringing the needs. The DSWD requires the presentation of a valid ID, school ID or registration form.

Another resident said “the money you get from DSWD won’t be enough for medicine if you get sick after spending hours in the sun.” (Rommel G. Rebollido/MindaNews)

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