ISABELA, Philippines – Students in Ilagan Town, Isabela have voiced their complaints as several fainted from the heat and exhaustion while queuing for educational assistance provided by the Department of social welfare and development (DSWD).
Thousands of students, parents and guardians lined up on Saturday, after the DSWD announced it would distribute cash assistance to elementary, secondary and college students as they return to school for the new school year.
However, problems arose while they waited to receive their cash assistance.
Jaylord Acob, a freshman attending Cagayan State University, said queues and money distribution were not properly organized, leading to overcrowding.
Several students as well as some tutors passed out without any medical team on standby. People who needed medical assistance had to wait for health and safety officers to arrive at the Social Development and Welfare satellite office in Ilagan City before they could receive treatment.
Acob also said there were minors and elderly people queuing for the aid distribution despite a notice that these groups of people are not encouraged to go for safety reasons.
Parents of students have also expressed disappointment after being told to return home due to overcrowding and some medical cases.
DSWD Ilagan suspended payment and said it would resume on August 27 and September 3, 10, 17 and 24.
According to DSWD – Region II, a total of 12,000 students traveled to four field offices in the region, but only 4,000 were accommodated by the 7 a.m. deadline.
2,000 were from Cagayan, 5,000 from Isabela, 3,000 from Quirino and another 2,000 from Nueva Vizcaya.
According to DSWD secretary Erwin Tulfo, the agency provides 4,000 pesos for each student; P3,000 for each high school student; P2,000 for each lower secondary student; and P1,000 for each primary school student.
The only requirement for students is either a valid ID, school ID or registration form.