(File photo)

MANILA – The PHP1.08 billion cash-for-work fund allotted for persons with disabilities (PWDs) is not alms but fruits of their labor despite of their infirmities, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin Tulfo said during a payout activity on Dec. 3.

In a news release on Wednesday, the DSWD said about 264,186 PWDs have received assistance through the Buhay Bayanihan para sa Mamayan (BUHAYnihan), a nationwide simultaneous payout activity for its cash-for-work program for PWDs.

Tulfo said the activity was in line with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s directive to bring the program of government closer to persons with disabilities.

“Hindi po limos ang ibinigay sa inyo ng gobyerno. Ito po ay pinagtrabahuhan ninyo ng ilang araw sa ilalim po ng tinatawag na cash-for-work program ng DSWD (What you have received from the government is not alms. It is in exchange of what you have worked for a few days under the cash-for-work program of the DSWD),” Tulfo told the recipients.

The BUHAYnihan CFW for persons with disabilities was spearheaded by the DSWD Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS).

“Kaya huwag ninyong iisipin na kayo ay walang silbi sa mundong ito. Kayo po ay may silbi. Ang tatanggapin ninyo ay pinaghirapan ninyo. Hindi naniniwala ang gobyerno na kapag kayo ay may kapansanan ay wala na kayong silbi. May silbi kayo. Habang may buhay ay may pag-asa (So do not think that you are useless in this world. Each one of you has a contribution to share. What you will receive today is a fruit of what you have worked for. The government does not believe that if you have disabilities, you are useless. As long as there is life there is hope),” he said.

The CFW aims to distribute cash support to beneficiaries in exchange for their rendered community work. It also provide short-term intervention by giving temporary employment to low income or families with no income and members who have disabilities.

In case the person with disability-beneficiary cannot perform the assigned job because of physical limitation, they may recommend a member of their family to do the task on their behalf.

Each beneficiary was given the opportunity to work for six to ten days with the corresponding daily wage based on the 2022 Regional Daily Wage Rate of their region.

Gerry Sto. Domingo, one of the persons with disabilities who received cash assistance, expressed gratitude for being chosen as among the beneficiaries of the CFW program.

“Sa mga gawain pong ito napatunayan ko po na ang isang person with disability na kagaya ko ay may puwang at silbi sa ating pamayanan. Kasama na rin po nito ang pagpapahalaga ko sa aking sarili. At napatunayan ko na ang aking kapansanan ay hindi hadlang upang ako ay makapag-ambag ng isang makabuluhang gawain sa ating lipunan (Through these activities, I have proven that a person with disability like me has a valuable contribution to our community. It also raised my self-esteem because I have proven that my disability is not an obstacle in providing meaningful contributions to our society),” Sto. Domingo said.

The DSWD hopes to create more transformative solutions that will help empower persons with disabilities to improve their capabilities and eventually, help break the social barriers that hinder their full participation on an equal basis with others. (PNA)