DSWD: 4Ps grantees who got student aid must return money | Inquirer News

DSWD: 4Ps grantees who got student aid must return money

/ 05:35 AM August 23, 2022

Erwin Tulfo —LYN RILLON

Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo (Photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps) who braved crowds to get their education assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will have to give the money back, the agency said on Monday, in a move likely to worsen fallout from the disorderly aid distribution last week.

If the 4Ps beneficiaries can’t or won’t return the money, the DSWD would deduct it from conditional cash transfers (CCT) they are yet to receive, Assistant Social Welfare Secretary Rommel Lopez said in an interview on Monday.


“If they had already used the amount, the agency understands. But since we’re also the ones who will be disbursing the CCT, we can just deduct it in a staggered way so it will not be too hard on them,” he told the Inquirer.


So far, the agency has not come up with guidelines for the deduction, according to Lopez.

Mistakenly advertised

Under DSWD policy, 4Ps beneficiaries are not entitled to the education aid for indigent learners, which amounts to P1,000 each for elementary school students; P2,000-P3,000 for high school students; and P4,000 for college students.

On the other hand, 4Ps beneficiaries receive a minimum of P1,650 and a maximum of P3,450 per month, depending on the number of children they have. Parents may get P300 for every child in grade school, P500 for every child in junior high, and P700 per child in senior high.

But the DSWD mistakenly advertised that people under 4Ps were also eligible for the education aid, resulting in thousands of people flocking to payout sites on Saturday. Cash distribution in many areas was marred by crowding and disorganized queues. In Mindanao, a stampede broke out, hurting dozens as people rushed to the gates.

Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo, a former broadcaster who used to criticize the DSWD and his predecessor, Rolando Bautista, on his public service show, apologized to parents and students on Saturday, acknowledging that part of the problem was erroneous messaging.

Overwhelmed by demand

The agency had been “overwhelmed” by the unexpected demand in aid, Lopez admitted during the interview.


Before Saturday’s first payout, the DSWD had projected a target of P500 million offered to at least 125,000 students. “But when we opened up requests, we were overwhelmed by the response and the total amount of requests [via email] reached billions of pesos,” he said.

“So it doubled. Part of that might be because so many households were affected by the pandemic and many fell below the poverty threshold,” Lopez added.

As of Monday, the agency has given out at least P164 million in aid to 53,159 students, he said.

To compensate for Saturday’s disorganized payout system, Tulfo and his team are studying the feasibility of raising the amount of aid to up to P1 billion. They are also finalizing an agreement with the Department of the Interior and Local Government to improve aid distribution in the coming weeks.

One proposal for the “recalibrated strategy” is an alphabetical approach, in which households whose surnames start with the letters A-H can receive the payout for a particular week, followed by I-Z for the next week.


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4Ps recipients, gov’t scholars not included in DSWD cash aid for students — Tulfo


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