(Photo courtesy: Commission on Population and Development - NCR)
Did you know that the Philippine Government offers a variety of programs and services for Filipinos, free of charge?
From basic social needs to cost-free mental health care, we have compiled a list of different government services you may want to avail of.
Read on to discover 5 free government services you may not know about.
1. Free online mental health consultation
In a response to the spike in suicide rates during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, E-Konsultasyon was launched to help individuals needing support on their emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
An initiative by the National Center for Mental Health, E-Konsultasyon started on May of 2020 that offers free online consultation, done via the Zoom application.
For those who wish to acquire the service, visit https://ncmh.gov.ph/index.php/online-services.
2. Free family planning services
Part of the Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Program of the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) is to help couples, individuals and parents in exercising responsible parenting by achieving their desired number, timing and spacing of their children.
To do this, POPCOM has partnered with relevant agencies like the Department of Health (DOH) and Local Government Units (LGUs) in providing free accessible Family Planning Services at the local level.
These services include free counseling, and provision of condoms, pills, injectables, implants and IUD which can be availed through walk-in, provided that the beneficiary has a menstrual period at the time.
While ligation and vasectomy, both done by way of surgical procedure, must be done through an appointment.
Women who are single or married aged 18 and above are qualified for the said service, however, minors aged 17 and below, must present a parent’s consent.
For consultations, you may contact POPCOM - NCR via mobile phone: 0961-743-2337, 0945-590-8478, message their FB page @OfficialPOPCOMNCR or visit their POPCOM Family Wellness Clinic located at Welfareville Compound, Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City.
3. Free vegetable and fruit-bearing seedlings
In a mission to achieve food security and sustainability in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources distributes free vegetable and fruit-bearing seedlings to local communities to promote urban forestry.
The seedlings came from its activated Modern Mechanized Forest Nursery (MMFN) in Tarlac through the partnership between DENR and the Department of Agriculture (DA). It produces vegetable seedlings like string beans, pechay, okra and eggplant.
Others came from DENR’s requirement to persons or institutions who wish to acquire Tree Cutting Permits in exchange for donating seedlings.
Individuals and corporations or institutions can avail of the service depending on its objectives.
For personal purposes, you may visit DENR regional offices near you, together with a written letter stating the reason for your request. You may only ask for a maximum number of 10 seedlings, provided that it will be planted in the same region.
While for official purposes with a large number of seedlings needed, an email must be sent to the regional office addressed to the director, stating the purpose and the proposed planting site.
For more information, you may contact DENR-NCR via telephone: 887-61484 or visit their office at North Avenue, Quezon City.
4. Free WiFi For All
The Free WiFi For All project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is an initiative to connect people nationwide, by providing free internet in public places.
Based on Republic Act No. 10929, also known as the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act was signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte on August 03, 2017.
Under the law, free internet must be installed in public areas, like schools, universities, parks, health centers and transportation terminals.
With over 8,900 active sites all over the country, the program aims to give Filipino people equal access to opportunities, education and information through involved participation in the growing digital community.
To look for live sites near you, click here: https://freepublicwifi.gov.ph/livehotspots/.
5. Free seminars and shared facilities for MSMEs
To support the development of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) created various programs, offered for free, to empower MSMEs in their business ventures.
Some of which are the Kapatid Mentor Me (KMME) Program, Shared Service Facilities (SSF), and the Small, Medium, Enterprise Roving Academy (SMERA).
The Kapatid Mentor Me Program is a partnership of DTI with the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) that promotes mentoring as a tool for MSMEs’ development.
Aimed to empower MSMEs through e-learning sessions, beneficiaries need to complete ten modules and submit their Business Improvement Plan before they can be considered graduates.
Additionally, to continuously empower MSMEs with the proper knowledge in improving operations and promoting competitiveness in their businesses, the SMERA offers free seminars and management training, done through online or face-to-face.
Some of the topics are how to start a business, business registration, basic taxation, basic bookkeeping, digital marketing, online selling, and more.
While Shared Service Facilities (SSF) is an initiative of DTI to improve the quality of products and services of MSMEs by providing cost-free equipment and facilities through a shared system.
For more information about these programs, visit their website at https://www.dti.gov.ph/regions/ncr/programs-projects/, or you can send them an email at NCR@dti.gov.ph. You may also contact your respective area program coordinator provided in the website. (PIA-NCR)