More than two years have passed since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures were put in place.

Lives were affected, and it has presented several challenges including to the students who are struggling financially even so that the schools are resuming face-to-face classes.

DSWD FO 1 staff and some Educational Assistance beneficiaries during the 2nd batch of payout on 27 August at DMMMSU-MLUC, City of San Fernando, La Union.

As a result, many students sought Educational Assistance (EA) under Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1).

Most of these students are breadwinners of their families, working students, orphaned or abandoned and living with relatives, and children of single parents.

Also, they are children whose parents are unemployed especially when either of them has disability or with a severe disease or a parent with human immunodeficiency virus, children of distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), victims of child abuse, and victims of calamity or disaster.

One of the student-in-crisis EA recipients is Wilbert John Lopez, a construction worker and a nursing student who hails from Caba, La Union.

According to Lopez, he saw DSWD’s AICS-EA on DSWD FO 1 Facebook Page.

Ang aking tatay ay walang permanenteng hanapbuhay. Namatay na ang aking nanay na dating OFW. Upang ipagpatuloy ko ang pag-aaral, nagtatrabaho ako bilang isang construction worker (My father does not have a permanent job. My mother who was an OFW has passed away. In order for me to continue my education, I work as a construction worker),” narrated Lopez.

Wilbert John Lopez, resident of Caba, La Union and a nursing student shows the Educational Assistance he received.

“Sobra-sobra ang pasasalamat ko sa programang ito ng DSWD dahil malaki ang maitutulong nito sa aking pangangailangan. Kaya sa mga estudyanteng tulad ko na nakatanggap, sana ay gamitin natin ang tulong pinansyal na ito sa tama dahil para rin ito sa ating magandang kinabukasan (I am very thankful for this
DSWD program because it will help in my daily needs. For those students like me who have received it, I hope we use this financial aid in the right way because it is also for our bright future),” he added.

Just like Lopez, the majority of them are figuring out ways to sustain themselves financially by paying for their education such as their tuition, supplies and materials, school projects, and other allowances.

They believe that the cash aid is timely and helpful given that classes have begun in all school levels despite the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Another eligible beneficiary is Teresita M. Abero, a grandmother and the guardian of a Grade 11 student from the City of San Fernando, La Union.

Teresita Abero, resident of City of San Fernando, La Union and a grandmother of EA beneficiary who is now in Senior High School

Abero expressed her sincere gratitude to DSWD FO 1. “Maraming salamat sa DSWD dahil malaking tulong ito sa Apo kong nasa Senior High School na ako lang ang nag-aalaga. Ito ay gagamitin ko pambili ng gamit niya sa paaralan gaya ng notebook, sapatos, at iba pa
(Thank you very much to DSWD because it is a big help to my grandchild who is in Senior High School that I am taking care of alone. I will use this to buy his school supplies such as notebooks, shoes, and so on).”

The AICS-EA provides financial aid to deserving students, based on the assessment of DSWD Social Worker, to help in their educational needs and rise above their circumstances.

As of 3 September 2022, 18,036 students-in-crisis have already been served.

DSWD FO 1 will conduct payout in various sites in the Ilocos region until 24 September 2022 for those eligible and approved beneficiaries of the EA.
by Princess R. Dumpit, Information Officer I, Social Marketing Unit