UNICEF AID. Personnel from the DSWD-7 and UNICEF engage residents of San Isidro, Bohol. The UNICEF and DSWD-7 partnered for the distribution of the Humanitarian Cash Transfer (HCT) Plus to 2,000 families in San Isidro and Tubigon in Bohol province. (Photo courtesy of DSWD-7)

CEBU CITY – Two thousand families in two towns in Bohol hit by the Typhoon Odette received cash assistance from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Department of Social Welfare and Development's (DSWD-7) said on Tuesday.
 
In a statement, the DSWD said the aid under the Humanitarian Cash Transfer (HCT) Plus was recently released through RD Pawnshop, the financial service provider tapped by UNICEF in the distribution of PHP5,000 assistance to the beneficiaries.
 
The DSWD’s field office in Region 7 said 537 beneficiaries of UNICEF's HCT Plus program were from the coastal town of Tubigon while 1,453 recipients were from the town of San Isidro.
 
San Isidro is a 5th class municipality with a population of 9,909 people while Tubigon is a 1st class municipality with a population of 47,886, based on the 2020 census.
 
Apart from the PHP5,000 each recipient family cashed out using a unique transaction reference code, they also received information and communication materials from UNICEF as well as the UN body’s advocacies.
 
Leah Quintana, DSWD-7 information officer, said beneficiaries from San Isidro were also given an additional PHP100 as a transportation subsidy to cover their trips to and from the nearest RD Pawnshop, where they could withdraw the cash grants.
 
“UNICEF also conducted learning sessions through a limited face-to-face discussion on child health and nutrition, protection, Covid-19 infection control, and water, sanitation, and hygiene,” she said.
 
Under the UNICEF-DSWD HCR Plus program, those households that did not receive cash assistance from government agencies or development partners, as well as those with children aged 18 and under, lactating and/or pregnant women, children with disabilities, and those suffering from or at risk of malnutrition are identified as beneficiaries.
 
The program also serves as the financial assistance covered under the government’s commitment to those affected by the Typhoon Odette that hit some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao, including Bohol.
 
Those who received aid under this program will no longer receive the same amount of aid under DSWD’s assistance to individuals in crisis situations, the DSWD-7 said.
 
The agency and the UNICEF signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) setting guidelines for the implementation of HCT Plus in March 2022.
 
More households are identified for the program. However, the agency and the UNICEF are still validating data and identifying beneficiaries. (PNA)