DSWD International Social Services Office (ISSO)

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Philippines runs a special program known as the International Social Services Office (ISSO). This program is dedicated to addressing the needs and challenges faced by Overseas Filipinos (OFs) and their families.

Credits: DSWD / Facebook

Legal Basis

The ISSO is established under the mandate of the DSWD, which is tasked with providing assistance to vulnerable sectors of the society, including Filipinos abroad. This program operates under the legal framework set by the Philippine government to protect and serve its citizens, wherever they may be.

Significance of the Program

The ISSO program is significant as it extends the reach of its services beyond the borders of the Philippines. It recognizes the unique and often urgent needs of OFs who might be in crisis situations or require government assistance. By doing so, it ensures that the welfare of Filipinos is safeguarded globally.


Specific benefits provided by the ISSO include:

  • Family Food Packs
  • Hygiene Kits
  • Financial aid for transportation
  • Assistance for children in need, such as milk provision
  • Medical aid for the sick


Eligibility / Qualifications

Beneficiaries of the ISSO program include:

  • Victims of trafficking and illegal recruitment
  • Those facing family issues such as relationship breakdowns and abuse
  • Individuals lacking legal documentation abroad
  • Filipinos detained in foreign facilities
  • Children left behind by OF parents who need to be reunited with family in the Philippines
  • People requiring information about DSWD services
  • Filipinos abroad who are sick and need medical assistance

beneficiaries beneficiaries-1


To avail of the ISSO services, applicants must provide:

  • Valid identification documents
  • Proof of overseas residence or situation (e.g., detention notice, medical reports)
  • Documentation of the crisis situation (e.g., police reports for abuse cases)

Services under the ISSO

The International Social Services Office (ISSO) of the DSWD offers a range of services tailored to meet the needs of Overseas Filipinos (OFs) in various situations. Here is a list of the services provided:

  • Psycho-Social Services:
      • Counseling for individuals, families, or groups
      • Psychological First Aid (PFA)
      • Psycho-Social Processing (PSP)
      • Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD)
      • Play/Art Therapy for children
      • Value orientation and inculcation
      • Socio-cultural activities
  • Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS):
      • Food assistance
      • Transportation support
      • Medical assistance
      • Provision of clothing
      • Hygiene kits and other non-food items
      • Educational support
      • Communication assistance
  • Marriage Counseling Services:
      • Pre-Marriage Counseling (PMC)
      • Marriage Enrichment Counseling (MEC)
      • Marital Crisis Counseling (MCC)
  • Orientation/Information Services on DSWD:
      • Information about adoption processes
      • Foster care systems
      • Legal guardianship
      • Travel permits
      • Other DSWD services available in the Philippines
  • Referral for Services Outside the ISSO:
    • Coordinating with other institutions and organizations to provide services not directly offered by ISSO.

interventions marriage counseling

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Benefit from the DSWD ISSO Program

  • Identify Your Need: Determine which service you require from the ISSO offerings.
  • Gather Necessary Documents: Collect all the necessary documents that prove your situation and eligibility.
  • Contact ISSO: Reach out to ISSO through their official channels or visit their website.
  • Application Submission: Submit your application along with the required documents.
  • Assessment: Wait for the ISSO to assess your situation and eligibility.
  • Receive Assistance: Once approved, ISSO will coordinate the delivery of services and assistance needed.

Success Stories / Recent Updates

Office of the Social Welfare Attaché (OSWA) Now Under the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW)

Did you know that the Office of the Social Welfare Attaché (OSWA) has been transferred to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW)? This development involves the transfer of authority, power, rights, and responsibilities in caring for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families to the new government agency, DMW. However, the operations of OSWA and ISSO to Overseas Filipinos have only been implemented until December 2022.


Gino Jiz de Ortega’s Journey to Success: From OFW to Thriving Entrepreneur

Gino Jiz de Ortega, a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), embarked on a new chapter in his life by approaching DSWD Field Office X. Through the ISSO to overseas Filipinos and Sustainable Livelihood Program, Gino received capital for his raw chicken production, lumpia, maja blanca, banana chips, fried peanuts, and Spanish sardines business. Within a few months of operation, his business flourished, prompting him to hire additional staff and acquire assets to further enhance his enterprise. Gino’s inspiring story showcases the transformative power of support and determination in achieving entrepreneurial success.

Irish Abao Receives Assistance from DSWD as an Overseas Filipino Worker in Crisis

Irish Abao, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, faced unexpected job loss in January, leaving her struggling to meet her daily expenses. Seeking support, she approached the Philippine Overseas Labor & Office (POLO), who referred her to the DSWD under the ISSO for overseas Filipinos. As a result, Irish was provided with food, clothing, and financial assistance for her and her child’s transportation through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program of DSWD.

DSWD Deploys New Social Welfare Attachés to Protect and Promote the Welfare of Overseas Filipinos

The DSWD has taken a significant step in fulfilling its mandate to safeguard the rights and welfare of overseas Filipinos (OFs) and their families by deploying four new Social Welfare Attachés (SWAtts) through the ISSO. These SWAtts, namely Ms. Rosemarie F. Alvez, Ms. Narrabelle Z. Bue, Ms. Josephine B. Macalagay, and Ms. Remilene C. Marcelino, have recently been sworn in by Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista. With their expertise and dedication, they are now stationed in their respective Foreign Service Posts (FSPs), ready to provide assistance and support to OFs in distress.


Video: DMW, DSWD sign deal to provide cash aid to OFWs in Saudi Arabia | ANC

In a significant development, the Philippine Migrant Workers and Social Welfare Departments have come together to sign an agreement that will bring much-needed relief to overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia. Under this agreement, eligible workers will receive a cash aid of 10,000 pesos. This initiative aims to support and assist Filipino workers who have been facing various challenges and difficulties while working abroad. The cash aid will provide them with financial assistance to meet their immediate needs and alleviate their financial burdens. This collaborative effort between the two departments demonstrates the government’s commitment to the welfare and well-being of its migrant workers.



The ISSO program by the DSWD is a critical service for Overseas Filipinos who find themselves in challenging circumstances. With its clear eligibility criteria, tangible benefits, and straightforward application process, the program underscores the Philippine government’s commitment to the welfare of its citizens globally. If you are an OF or know someone who might benefit from these services, reach out to the DSWD to learn more about the assistance available.

error: Content is protected !!