GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen) has vowed to further strengthen this year the implementation of its social protection programs, which served around 1.1 million residents in the area in 2020.
Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-Region 12 director, said Tuesday they are working on various adjustments to enhance the delivery of various assistance to individuals in need, especially those in crisis situations.
Last year, he said the agency released over PHP272 million worth of financial assistance through their expanded support programs.
He said these include the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) and the emergency support component of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
AICS is a continuing emergency government initiative that serves as a social safety net or a stop-gap measure to support the recovery of individuals and families suffering from unexpected life events or crises.
The beneficiaries are residents belonging to the informal sector and those classified as poor, marginalized, vulnerable, and disadvantaged.
Espejo said they served a total of 148,582 children who required special support, 1,648 youths, 22,608 women, 705,352 families, 247,984 senior citizens, and 368 persons with disabilities.
“We will continue our services this year. There’s no room for corruption in the office. The assistance of the government must go to rightful recipients,” he told reporters.
Ellah Aratuc, chief of the DSWD-12’s protective division, said the beneficiaries last year availed of transportation, medical, burial, and education assistance under the AICS program.
She said they provided some of them with emergency support in line with the rollout of the SAP program.
Aratuc said the recipients included former rebels who were covered by the government’s reintegration assistance programs under Executive Order (EO) No. 70.
EO 70, which adopted the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict, provided for the prioritization and harmonization of the delivery of basic services and social development packages in rebel and conflict-infested areas.
It aims to facilitate societal inclusivity and ensure the active participation of all sectors of society in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda.
Aside from the AICS, DSWD-12 provided assistance to rebel returnees through the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program, Sustainable Livelihood Program, Cash-for-Work, and the Protective Services for Individuals and Families. (PNA)