THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has already stopped accepting online applications for educational assistance, DSWD spokesperson Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez said on Monday, September 12, 2022.Lopez said the agency has so far received two million applications, surpassing their target to provide cash aid to around 400,000 students.”Nakalulungkot man, talagang hindi na po kaya ng aming sistema,” he said, adding that they also lack staff who would handle and verify the requests, resulting in the delay of their response to the applicants.‚ÄúDati ‘yung aming pag-reply sa kanila tumatagal lang ng two to three days. May natatanggap kaming reklamo. Inaamin namin na ‘yung iba August pa nag-apply, isang buwan na hindi pa kami nakaka-reply,” Lopez added.The P500 million initially allocated for the program was increased to P1.5 billion to cater more students amid the resumption of face-to face classes. Of this amount, around P600 million to P800 million have already been distributed.Lopez vowed, though, that they will continue the distribution of cash aid as long as there is still a budget.Under the program, indigent elementary students will be given P1,000, P2,000 for high school, P3,000 for senior high school and P4,000 for college or vocational students.This aims to cushion the effects of the pandemic, as well as soaring prices of basic commodities amid the resumption of face-to-face classes.The DSWD partnered with the local government units for the distribution of the cash aid, which is scheduled every Saturday until September 24. (SunStar Philippines)