DSWD Assistance to Communities in Need (ACN) Projects for Pinoy Community Centers

The DSWD in the Philippines is the executive department of the Philippine Government responsible for the protection of the social welfare rights of Filipinos and to promote social development. One of the initiatives that epitomize this mission is the Assistance to Communities in Need (ACN) led to support vulnerable groups facing adversities caused by disasters and crises.

This ACN program acts to give temporary employment opportunities, reconstructing childcare and senior citizen centers, and supplying essential food provisions to individuals, families, and communities in their most challenging times. Its reach allows immediate attention to safety, sustenance, and employment needs, while also fostering long-term resilience and community solidarity through infrastructural support and active participation in recovery endeavors.

Not to be confused with AICS program, the ACN directly targets community centers and initiatives that require urgent attention in the aftermath of disasters in the spirit of Bayanihan (community spirit) among Filipinos. The root word here is ‘community’ or ‘groups’. It is one of the ways that the DSWD seeks to build resilient and empowered communities throughout the Philippines.

Credits: DSWD / Facebook

DSWD ACN: Overview

The Assistance to Communities in Need by the social welfare department is a comprehensive plan designed to provide various forms of support to Filipino individuals, families, and communities who are adversely affected by calamities, disasters, or other crises

Its goal is to alleviate the immediate difficulties these groups face and to help them recover and rebuild in the aftermath of such events.

The scheme encompasses several specific initiatives that cater to different needs:

  1. Cash for Work: This component offers temporary employment to those affected by disasters, allowing them to earn an income while contributing to recovery and rehabilitation efforts. Participants receive compensation for their work, typically pegged at a percentage of the local minimum wage.
  2. Child Development Centers: The initiative provides funds for the construction or repair of day-care centers that serve as safe spaces for children. These centers are equipped with basic facilities and materials necessary for the care and development of young children, particularly in communities recovering from disasters.
  3. Food Packs: To address food insecurity during crises, the DSWD distributes food packs to families in evacuation centers or those identified through the Disaster Family Access Card system. These packs contain staple food items to support the nutritional needs of affected families.
  4. Senior Citizen Centers: The plan also includes the establishment or refurbishment of centers for senior citizens. These centers are intended as community spaces where the elderly can engage in social activities, receive care, and share their skills and wisdom.





Significance of this Initiative

Its significance lies in its multifaceted approach to providing immediate and tailored assistance to Filipinos during times of crisis. The initiative is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Emergency Response and Recovery: It acts as a frontline response to the immediate needs of individuals and communities affected by disasters, ensuring that the most vulnerable populations receive timely support.
  2. Employment and Livelihood: Through initiatives like Cash for Work, the scheme provides temporary employment opportunities, helping individuals earn an income while contributing to community recovery efforts, which is vital for sustaining livelihoods disrupted by calamities.
  3. Child Welfare and Development: By funding the construction and repair of Child Development Centers, this ensures that children have access to safe and nurturing spaces for continued learning and development, even in the face of adversity.
  4. Food Security: The distribution of Food Packs is a direct intervention to prevent hunger and malnutrition among families displaced or affected by disasters, securing their basic right to food.
  5. Support for Senior Citizens: The establishment and refurbishment of Senior Citizen Centers offer a place for the elderly to gather, receive care, and participate in community life, thereby recognizing and valuing their contribution to society.
  6. Community Resilience: By assisting in rebuilding and improving community infrastructure, it strengthens the overall resilience of communities against future disasters.
  7. Social Solidarity: The initiative embodies the ‘Bayanihan’ spirit, where community members work together towards a common goal, fostering a sense of unity and collective action.
  8. National Development: By mitigating the impacts of disasters on the well-being of citizens, it contributes to the nation’s overall development, ensuring that no one is left behind, especially in times of crisis.

Legal Basis

The scheme is grounded in various laws and executive orders that mandate the government to provide assistance and services to the Filipino people, especially those who are in need due to disasters, crises, or poverty. 

This includes the mandates from the Philippine Constitution, the DSWD Administrative Orders, and other relevant legislation like the Republic Act No. 10121, known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.


The benefits of the scheme are multifaceted. They range from:

  • providing emergency employment and livelihood opportunities, 
  • rebuilding and repairing community facilities, to 
  • ensuring food security during times of crises. 

Initiatives like Cash for Work, Child Development Centers, Food Packs, and Senior Citizen Centers are specifically designed to address the urgent needs of affected individuals and communities.

Eligibility / Qualifications

To qualify for these initiatives, individuals or families must be affected by calamities or disasters. Specific criteria include:

  • For the Cash for Work program: Affected individuals or families must be physically capable of work and possess a DSWD Disaster Family Access Card (DFAFC).
  • Child Development Centers require the location to lack a functioning center, and the community must need immediate establishment or repair of such facilities.
  • Food Packs are given to registered or listed individuals in evacuation centers or those with the DFAFC.
  • Senior Citizen Centers are for communities without such centers or those requiring immediate repair or upgrades.


The requirements for each component vary but generally include:

  • For Cash for Work: A project proposal that outlines the work to be done, a disaster report, and a list of beneficiaries.
  • Child Development Centers and Senior Citizen Centers need certification from the Mines and Geo-science Bureau or Local Building Official, a deed of donation for the site, a project proposal, and a bill of materials.
  • Food Packs assistance requires a letter of request, a disaster or incident report, and a certification from the Local Treasurer that no funds are available from the Calamity Fund.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Apply for DSWD ACN Projects

Please follow the guidelines below if you wish to avail this service from the department.

Step 1: Identify Your Eligibility

Match your situation with the eligibility criteria of the specific scheme you are interested in.

Step 2: Gather the Required Documents

Collect all the necessary documents as specified for the component you are applying for.

Step 3: Submit a Proposal or Request

Prepare a project proposal if required, or a letter of request, and submit these along with other documents to your Local Government Unit (LGU).

Step 4: LGU Coordination

Your LGU will coordinate with the agency and submit the necessary documents and proposals for verification and approval.

Step 5: Await Approval and Implementation

Once approved, the benefits will be implemented by the LGU in coordination with the the agency.

Difference Between AICS and ACN

While the Assistance to Communities in Need (ACN) centers on post-disaster relief and recovery assistance, it differs from another DSWD program called the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS). The latter provides financial aid or material assistance to individuals or families who face emergency situations such as illness, death of a family member, or displacement due to armed conflict or natural calamities.

The ACN, on the other hand, is designed for collective assistance in response to disasters or crises that affect communities instead of individuals. The ACN directly impacts community locations, while the AICS is a direct assistance program for individuals or families. Both are critical programs that demonstrate the commitment of the DSWD to provide support and protection to vulnerable groups in times of need.

Success Stories / Recent Updates

Cash-for-Work Payout for Parents and Guardians of DSWD Tara, Basa Tutoring Program Beneficiaries

Close to 3,000 parents and guardians of student beneficiaries of the DSWD Tara, Basa Tutoring Program eagerly await their turn to receive their cash-for-work (CFW) from the agency personnel. 

The payout took place at the Valenzuela City People’s Park Amphitheater on Thursday, December 28.

As part of the scheme, parents and guardians are compensated with Php235 for attending the Nanay-Tatay learning sessions. In addition to attending the sessions, they are also required to assist their children in preparing for learning and reading, as well as completing after-reading assignments.

On the previous day, Wednesday, December 27, approximately 2,000 parents and guardians in Valenzuela City received their CFW from the social welfare department. The Tara, Basa! Tutoring program is one of the the agency’s initiatives aimed at supporting college students facing difficult circumstances and elementary learners who are struggling or non-readers.


PBBM Highlights Complementary Role of FSP in Nutrition Continuity Programs

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has underscored the vital role of the Food Stamp Program (FSP) in complementing the existing nutrition continuity plans implemented under his administration. In addition to the FSP, the Supplementary Feeding Program will specifically focus on addressing the nutritional needs of children attending Child Development Centers and provide nourishment to public school students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 who are facing wasting and severe malnutrition. These initiatives aim to ensure that every child in the country receives the necessary nourishment for their growth and development, promoting a healthier and brighter future for all.


Government Agencies Collaborate in Repacking Family Food Packs for DSWD MIMAROPA Region

On January 30, 2024, personnel from the Coast Guard Investigation and Detection Management Service (CGIDMS) joined forces with other government agencies, including the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Philippine Navy (PN), for their second day of cooperation and solidarity. Their mission took place at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) MIMAROPA Region, specifically at the National Resource Operations Center (NROC) in Pasay City. Together, they worked tirelessly to repack Family Food Packs, ensuring that essential supplies reached those in need. This collaborative effort exemplifies the dedication and commitment of these agencies to support and uplift communities during challenging times.



The scheme exemplifies the Philippine government’s commitment to serving its most vulnerable populations. By providing immediate and practical assistance, the social welfare department helps uplift Filipinos from the throes of crises and guides them towards recovery and development. These are a testament to the spirit of ‘Bayanihan‘, reinforcing the community’s collective effort in times of need.

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