By Jose Cielito Reganit

GOV’T HELP. A social worker of the Department of Social Welfare and Development assists a beneficiary of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur on June 18, 2023. More than 6.5 million Filipinos facing difficult circumstances were provided with assistance by the DSWD through its AICS program in 2023. (Photo courtesy of DSWD)

MANILA – More than 6.5 million Filipinos facing difficult circumstances benefited from the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program in 2023, DSWD Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Romel Lopez said on Saturday.

In a statement, Lopez said the number of clients served under the AICS last year was more than four times the program’s annual target of 1,691,869 beneficiaries.

“It is evident that many of our kababayans (countrymen) need support from the government, and we, at the DSWD, remain committed to responding to their immediate needs through the AICS program,” the DSWD spokesperson said.

Under the AICS program, he said, beneficiaries were provided with various interventions, among them medical, food cash, burial/funeral, and transportation assistance, as well as psychosocial support.

“Our clients, who are in crisis, will be assessed by our social workers to determine the types of assistance that best fit their needs,” Lopez said.

He noted that food assistance, followed by psychosocial support, and medical aid were the most sought-after services under the AICS.

According to Lopez, most of the AICS beneficiaries were from the Calabarzon region, numbering more than 870,000 individuals.

Meanwhile, he said more than 314,700 individuals received services in the different Malasakit Centers across the country.

The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop located in various hospitals of the Department of Health, the Philippine General Hospital, and other public hospitals nationwide where indigent patients, as well as those who are financially incapacitated, could access medical and financial assistance from such government agencies as the DSWD, PhilHealth, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Lopez assured that the DSWD would continue to implement protective services so that Filipinos in need would be assisted by the government, as envisioned by the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (PNA)