A DSWD staff speaks to partner beneficiaries during a village assembly in Pikit, North Cotabato. (DSWD Photo)

KORONADAL CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development appealed Thursday to thousands of residents covered by the state’s conditional cash transfer to strictly observe social distancing once they withdraw their grants in bank’s automated teller machines next week amid the current crisis brought about by Covid-19.

Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), made the appeal as more than 200,000 households with cash cards under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will start withdrawing their grants in any Land Bank of the Philippines ATM on March 24, 26, 28, and April 4.

“We are calling our partner beneficiaries  to follow instructions authorities and bank officers instructions. By putting in place social distancing measures, the growth of virus can be slowed down dramatically, and thousands of lives can be spared,” Dir. Espejo said. 

Earlier this week, the agency temporarily halted all on-site payouts of thirteen major programs, including the 4Ps across the region hours after President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire  country under State of Public Health and Emergency due to increasing number of people infected by Covid-19 virus. 

However, clients in need of medical and burial assistance can still avail assistance under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), a program that serves as a social safety net or a stop-gap measure to support the recovery of individuals and families suffering from unexpected life events or crisis.  (JBM / DSWD)