GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 August) — Confusion and frustration marred the first day of the distribution here of educational cash assistance by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Soccsksargen region on Saturday.
Thousands of residents from this city and Sarangani province flocked to distribution kiosks set-up by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Soccsksargen region for the aid to indigent students at P1,000 for every elementary student, P2,000 for junior high student, P3,000 for every senior high school student and P4,000 for every college student to enable them to buy school supplies before classes start on August 22.
There are three designated areas of distribution in this city to accommodate the influx of beneficiaries from this city and nearby Sarangani province, said a staff at the kiosk at the Unihub in the downtown area. This is to avoid crowding at the DSWD field office, she said.
Many of the hopeful beneficiaries spent the night in front of these offices, yet many of them went home empty handed, lamented a female resident from nearby Alabel town in Sarangani province.
Rowena Alido, who was trying to get assistance for her two children, complained that she was given the runaround. A DSWD staff at the Unihub kiosk told her to go to the Dadiangas South Elementary School, but found the school closed.
Alido went back to the kiosk at the hub but was told it was already cut off time and she could no longer be served.
Alido, like the others who stayed on long queues, was hoping to have her children – an elementary pupil and a high school student, be included in the list of beneficiaries.
At least two Alabel residents fainted under the scorching sun while waiting in line and were treated at a DSWD ambulance that was on standby.
In Koronadal City, hundreds of residents formed queues before daybreak. As soon as the DSWD office opened, residents jostled, pushed and shoved one another in their attempt to be the first to be attended to.
“The worst plan,” resident Harriet Corpuz said of the distribution scheme. She said distribution should have been done in schools with the children bringing the requirements. The DSWD requires the presentation of a valid ID, school ID or enrollment form.
Another resident said “the money you will get from the DSWD will not be enough for medicine if you get sick from staying for hours under the sun.” (Rommel G. Rebollido / MindaNews)