Social workers assess the situation of the clients before they are granted assistance through AICS.

BUTUAN CITY Furthering the aim to assist individuals in disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Caraga continues to serve more individuals in crisis situation as it records an increase of 135% served clients in 2018 against the previous year.

Disbursing a total of P164, 823, 682, DSWD-Caraga, through the program Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), pursues its works towards the achievement of improved capacities and opportunities of the poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals, families and communities in need.

OIC Director Mita Chuchi Gupana-Lim said that this increase in the number of served clients only proves the efforts of the Department in its commitment to assist individuals who face financial difficulties.

“AICS enable them to improve their quality of life and withstand the challenges and problems particularly along health aspects, education, transportation, burial, medicines and psychosocial support,” Lim added.

AICS is one of the flagship programs of DSWD that seeks to provide attention and intervention to individuals and families in crisis through the provision of integrated services.

“The program was found to be one of the solution to the inflation problem the country faces today wherein the poor, the middle class and even the elite are greatly affected especially when beset with health problems,” Lim emphasized.

Aside from the basic assistance on hospital bills, medicines, burial and education, Lim said that AICS has expanded its services by providing clients access to laboratory tests like the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), chemotherapy and dialysis good for three months session.

“The [Crisis Intervention Section] has also extended food assistance and family food packs to former rebels, wounded and killed individuals in police operations, repatriated migrant workers, people living with HIV and other clientele category such as the [persons with disabilities], senior citizens, solo parents and other vulnerable sectors,” Lim said.

In 2018, the Department has served a total of 32, 649 clients in the field office and six other satellite offices in Surigao City (Surigao del Norte), Prosperidad (Agusan del Sur), Dapa (Surigao del Norte), San Jose (Dinagat Islands), Tandag City and Tagbina (Surigao del Sur).

“AICS is a program devolved to the local government units but the LGUs, as pointed out in AO 5 series of 2008, can hardly provide funds for this program, thus, the people continue to rely on the help of the national government,” CIS head Melanie Juan clarified.

Juan also added that DSWD could not provide all the needed assistance asked by the clients hence “it requires a pool of service providers such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, other medical institutions and funeral homes that have the resources to address or satisfy the client’s needs.”

To strengthen its partnership with these service providers and resolve the issues and concerns that has arisen during the span of the partnership which started in 2014, the CIS has conducted a series of consultation dialogues in the first quarter of 2019.

CIS Head Melanie Juan reorients the service providers on the types of assistance provided through AICS during the consultation dialogues.

The leg was conducted in Butuan City on February 8, Municipality of San Francisco on February 28, Tandag City on March 5 and Surigao City on March 12.

The dialogues aimed to reorient the service providers on AICS and the type of assistance it provides, discuss issues and concerns and come up with recommendations for the smooth implementation of the program.

Also introduced was the cash voucher scheme that would be implemented by the region to ensure fast disbursement of funds and expedite the payment of the billings.

“This is a solution to the issues of delayed payments to the service providers and forge a healthy partnership with these providers, all for the betterment of our service to those in need,” Juan said. – MAPP/DSWD-Caraga