The Department of Social Welfare and Development is studying a possible one-time extension of the distribution of educational cash aid even after the six-week payout ends on Sept. 24.
DSWD spokesman Romel Lopez said the extension depends on the availability of funds after the last day of distribution.
“DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo is studying it. Since there are many applicants, we might have a one-time big time payout. But the Sept. 24 remains as is – our last payout date for the P1.5-billion allocation. If there are any funds left, we will come up with guidelines,” he said.
DSWD has so far exceeded its target of 400,000 beneficiaries, having released educational assistance to a total of 414,482 students as of Sept. 17, amounting to P1 billion.
Lopez said even if the one-time extension pushes through, the DSWD will no longer reopen its online registration.
“If we will be getting beneficiaries outside the two million applications we received online, it will be those who do not have access to the internet or gadgets. It’s very unlikely that we will accept new applicants,” he added.
Tulfo earlier said he will discuss with Speaker Martin Romualdez for a possible arrangement with district lawmakers to cover the educational assistance of those who failed to make the cut for the online registration.
Under the program, up to three students per indigent family can receive a cash aid worth P1,000 for elementary students, P2,000 for high school students, P3,000 for senior high school students, and P4,000 for tertiary students.
Earlier, during a budget hearing at the House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations chairman Rep. Elizaldy Co said the increase in the budget of DSWD’s flagship assistance program next year will help lift the country’s poorest of the poor out of poverty, malnutrition, and lack of opportunity and education.
He said DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) addresses both the immediate need for social assistance and the strategic goal to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
The House appropriations panel head thanked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for the 7.3-percent 4Ps’ budget increase from P107.7 billion that will have served 4.37 million households this year to P115.6 billion to reach 4.4 million households next year.
Co enumerated the beneficiaries of DSWD programs: around 700,000 households that benefited from its disaster response program, 209,000 households that received emergency shelter assistance and cash for work, the 3.6 million individuals who benefited from its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations program, and the 3.7 million senior citizens who received social pensions.