THE GOVERNMENT will distribute P500 million in cash assistance to indigent Filipino students, the Department of Social Welfare and Development head announced on Thursday.
Social Welfare Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo told a news briefing that the one-time cash assistance would benefit 24,000 students.
The cash aid would be P1,000 for elementary students, P2,000 for junior high school, P3,000 for senior high school, and P4,000 for college or vocational students.
The program is intended as a stop-gap mechanism to help people in a crisis situation, Mr. Tulfo said.
Students can use the money to pay for their tuition or school supplies.
Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it is collaborating with manufacturers of school supplies to ensure availability in the market ahead of the opening of classes.
“The DTI is closely coordinating with the manufacturers of school supplies to ensure reasonableness of prices and the availability of supply in the market,” DTI Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau Director M. Marcus N. Valdez II said in a statement on Thursday.
The DTI issued the statement days after it released a suggested retail price bulletin for school supplies on Aug. 12.
Under Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act, school supplies are classified as prime commodities.
Under the recently issued bulletin, the price of notebook ranges from P17.50 to P36.75, while Grades 1-4 pad paper prices vary from P6.50 to P24.00. The price of intermediate pad paper ranges from P22.50 to P30.00.
Prices of writing materials such as pencils and ballpoint pens range from P8.25 to P13.25, and from P4.75 to P19.00, respectively.
It added that the price of a box of crayons with eight colors ranges from P18.00 to P24.00, while a 12-color pack costs P32.00, and the price of a 16-color pack varies from P33.75 to P44.00.
The bulletin also showed that an eraser at small, medium and large sizes, has a price range from P8.75 to P17.00, while the price of sharpeners and rulers are priced at P19.00 to 32.00 and P13.00 to P39.00, respectively.
“Although some have increased in prices due to the movement of global fuel prices, consumers can save money by purchasing school supplies sold in bundles or promotional packs,” Trade Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Revin Mikhael D. Ochave