The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will temporarily suspend activities of some of its programs and services that require meeting or gathering of beneficiaries and other stakeholders until April 14.

The Department is temporarily suspending the payouts of Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens and Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT); Listahanan enumeration; activities of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) particularly the administration of Social Welfare and Development Indicator (SWDI), over-the-counter pay-outs and distribution of cash cards; activities in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Offsite Serbisyo, Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP), Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), and  Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS); and service delivery assessments.  

The temporary suspension of the activities will minimize the exposure of beneficiaries, especially those from vulnerable groups such as children, persons with disabilities, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, and senior citizens, as well as DSWD employees, from the threats of COVID-19.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista though clarified that “social amelioration will not stop,” explaining that, “it is during these trying times that the Department shows its compassionate care to the poor, vulnerable and marginalized,” while recognizing, “that health is more valuable than anything else.”

Those needing medical and burial assistance, however, can still avail these through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), the DSWD said.  Even with the temporary suspension of some activities of certain programs and services, procedures on AICS are in place to ensure that clients receive their needed assistance.  Meanwhile, families who are affected by fire can still receive financial assistance or guarantee letters under the AICS, which will be given out in evacuation centers.

Secretary Bautista added that distribution of food and non-food items to clients will also continue through pre-determined channels. Local government units, as frontline in service delivery, will be provided with the necessary augmentation from the DSWD upon their request.

DSWD Centers and Residential Care Facilities (CRCFs) nationwide will also continue its operations, though visits from family members and other guests will be regulated, and proper social distancing will be implemented.

All Social Welfare Attaches shall remain in their diplomatic posts to continue assistance to distressed Overseas Filipinos (OFs).

Secretary Bautista also assured his colleagues in the DSWD that labor and workplace concerns are being addressed “as we refuse to compromise the safety of our personnel given the risks of COVID-19”.  “Government is now making arrangements so that workers affected by the community quarantine period will be remunerated, following existing regulations,” he stressed.

This, as he appealed to everyone “to remain calm and to fully cooperate,” reiterating that “makakaasa ang lahat na magpapatuloy ang maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo mula sa DSWD.”