Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo has backtracked on his initial announcement that Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries were entitled to receive education aid under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program of his office.
This came after the first wave of distribution of the cash aid on Saturday, Aug. 20, had packed crowds queuing in front of the central office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Quezon City, and reports of a stampede in a school in Zamboanga City which served as a distribution center.
Under the program, elementary students from families in crisis are qualified to receive P1,000; high school students, P2,000; senior high students, P3,000; and college and vocational students, P4,000. A family can claim for up to three children.
Interviewed on CNN Philippines, Tulfo clarified that a 4Ps leader had corrected him through a text message, saying that beneficiaries of the program, which already covers educational assistance, were excluded from AICS as a matter of government policy.
“Opo, alam din po kasi nila ‘yan… na kasama po sa kondisyon na pinirmihan nila […] because 4Ps itself is already a form of educational assistance. Para po sa mga bata ito… kasi hindi ka pwedeng maging 4Ps member kung wala ka namang anak na nag-aaral.”
(Yes, and they know that, too, because that’s one of the conditions that they signed for because 4Ps itself is already a form of educational assistance. It’s for the children, because you cannot be a 4Ps member if you don’t have a child going to school.)
Tulfo, earlier in the same interview, mentioned that it was in an “ambush interview” that he mistakenly mentioned the inclusion of 4Ps recipients in the list of those eligible for the AICS program following a barrage of questions from journalists.
In a press briefing at the Malacañang Palace on Aug. 18, four days before the official resumption of face-to-face classes, Tulfo announced that the government would distribute cash assistance to “indigent students” all over the country under the DSWD’s AICS program.
Tulfo, answering a question to clarify if 4Ps recipients are included in the program, said:
“Yes, sir. Kasama po sila sa programa na ito. At hindi lang po 4Ps, kahit hindi ka 4Ps. Marami po ang nagtatanong – good question po – kung hindi po kayo 4Ps pero kayo ho ay nasa krisis, lahat naman po ngayon ng mga mahihirap ay nasa krisis […] pwede po kayo.”
(Yes, sir. They are included in this program. And not just 4Ps, even if you’re not [a recipient of] 4Ps. A lot of people have been asking – that’s a good question – if you’re not [a recipient of] 4Ps but you are in crisis, and all those who are poor are in crisis […] you can receive [the aid].)
Source: PTV Official Youtube Channel, WATCH: Press briefing with Press Secretary Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles | August 18, 2022, Aug. 18, 2022 watch from 20:23 to 20:44
Tulfo apologized for what he called a “mess” that happened on Aug. 20. He said that the DSWD will now partner with the Department of Interior and Local Government to streamline the distribution of the education assistance.
Both Tulfo and Assistant Social Welfare Secretary Rommel Lopez said 4Ps beneficiaries who received cash aid last Saturday must return the money. If they fail to do so, the amount will be deducted from the succeeding regular conditional cash transfers they receive under the program.
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Department of Social Welfare and Development, Memorandum Circular No. 15, Series of 2022, July 29, 2022
Department of Social Welfare and Development, Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation, Accessed Aug. 24, 2022
CNN Philippines, Gov’t to recalibrate system as long lines, large crowds hound educational aid rollout, Aug. 20, 2022
Inquirer.net Official Youtube Channel, Large crowd swarms DSWD central office for distribution of educational aid, Aug. 20, 2022
GMA News Online, Crowds flock to DSWD as it starts giving educational assistance, Aug. 20, 2022
Sunstar Zamboanga, Stampede mars education aid distribution, Aug. 21, 2022
Philstar.com, 29 hurt in stampede in Zambo educational cash aid payout, Aug. 20, 2022
Inquirer.net, 29 injured in stampede over DSWD cash aid payout in Zamboanga, Aug. 20, 2022
Department of Education, DepEd releases guidelines for School Year 2022-2023, July 12, 2022
PTV Official Youtube Channel, WATCH: Press briefing with Press Secretary Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles | August 18, 2022, Aug. 18, 2022
CNN Philippines Official Youtube Channel, DSWD Sec. Erwin Tulfo | The Source, Aug. 22, 2022
DSWD Official Facebook Page, BASAHIN I Mensahe ni Kalihim Erwin T. Tulfo, Aug. 20, 2022
ANC Official Youtube Channel, ‘I made a mistake’: DSWD Chief Tulfo apologizes for ‘chaotic’ distribution of education aid | ANC, Aug. 22, 2022
GMA News Online, 4Ps beneficiaries who received education aid need to refund grant —Tulfo, Aug. 22, 2022
Inquirer.net, DSWD: 4Ps grantees who got student aid must return money, Aug. 23, 2022
Radio Mindanao Network, Student cash aid na natanggap ng benepisyaryo ng 4Ps noong Sabado, ipinare-refund, Aug. 22, 2022
Department of Social Welfare and Development, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act: Implementing Rules and Regulations, Dec. 10, 2019
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