ASSISTANCE. Local residents seeking food and non-food assistance line up at a covered court in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte on March 28, 2023. Two more payout payouts were made Thursday and Friday (March 30 and 31). (Courtesy of FAM Congressional District Office)

LAOAG CITY – Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte First District Representative Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos warned village officials in the province against collect any payment from the issuance of a certificate of indigency.

The presidential son issued the warning following reports in his district about some village chiefs in Laoag City allegedly selling indigency certificates to their constituents.

“I am dismayed by reports that some village chairmen had been selling certificates of indigency. Let me reiterate this to everyone, if I learn that it is true, I will not hesitate to go to the Ombudsman and file a case against that kapitan (chairperson),” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

Last March, the office of Marcos, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), rolled out a food subsidy program that entitles an indigent recipient to receive at least PHP3,000.

This is aside from various assistance programs being implemented by the lawmaker which include educational, medical, cash, transportation assistance, and burial assistance, among others.

Due to the overwhelming number of local residents wanting to avail of various assistance in his district, Marcos vowed that the next payout distribution, particularly in urban areas like Laoag City, will be done in clusters to avoid long lines and large crowds.

He assured all those who are in need of help, regardless of party affiliation, that they will be given due assistance.

As per the definition of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, an individual is considered indigent if he or she has no source of income or the source of income is insufficient to support the basic needs of the family.

Marcos also plans to request additional workforce or plantilla positions at the DSWD to speed up the process of releasing assistance to the less fortunate.

“It is the first time in history [under Marcos administration] that we have a huge allotment for all these and our [social] workers are overwhelmed,” said Marcos.

Marcos' office earlier announced that it can only assist 500 beneficiaries for educational assistance and 500 beneficiaries for food assistance per day. (PNA)