President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday assured Filipinos that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other concerned agencies were working hard to respond to the needs of the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged during and beyond the holidays.
Mr. Marcos issued the statement during a gift-giving activity where he distributed Christmas gifts to at least 400 children and 574 individuals and families, including several members of indigenous people (IP) groups and street children adopted by communities from all 17 local government units (LGUs) of Metro Manila.
Child beneficiaries received food packs and gift packs containing toys and books while adult beneficiaries each received six kilograms of rice, grocery items, hygiene kits, and cash assistance amounting to P10,000 from the DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program.
In his speech, Mr. Marcos lauded the DSWD for assisting Filipinos, especially during disasters.
“In the past six months, these people have been busy. A lot of disasters struck the Philippines, typhoons, an earthquake in Abra–that’s why perhaps we can say it’s one of the agencies that has been working 24/7,” the President said in Filipino at the Open Amphitheater at the Rizal Park in Manila.
“Typhoons don’t sleep, earthquakes don’t go on vacation, and floods don’t recognize holidays, but still they’re always there. Thank you for not just hosting this event, but for everything you’ve done because you have helped a lot of people,” he added.
Marcos noted that the DSWD will continue doing its part to help alleviate hunger and poverty among Filipinos beyond the holiday season.
“This assistance won’t just be during Christmas. You can expect that you will always be in our thoughts. DSWD has been thinking 24/7 about how we can help you…even after Christmas, the new year, we will stillcontinue to help you,” Marcos said.
Meanwhile, Marcos enjoined the public anew to enter the Malacañang Palace grounds to view the Malacañang Christmas Tree and lanterns and to attend the Simbang Gabi.
He said everyone is welcome to visit the Palace because it is their “home.”
“You are all welcome. The Palace is open. It’s not my home, it’s your home that’s why I opened it for you,” he added.
Marcos also underscored the importance of celebrating the holidays despite the hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflation.