Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go called on concerned national government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to work together to resolve conflicting lists of beneficiaries and improve the distribution system for the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) for the Filipinos affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis.
“I am appealing to all concerned agencies and LGUs that they should aim to perfect the distribution system of food and cash assistance as the government continues to address the Covid-19 situation,” Go said.
Go said it is important to immediately fix the problems to make sure that assistance from the government will be used properly by the affected people even by those in the remote areas.
He said the LGUs must work hand-in-hand with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its local offices to resolve discrepancies.
“Since some LGUs have encountered issues on the actual number of beneficiaries who are qualified to receive the emergency subsidy, LGUs must work together with the DSWD and its local offices so that their lists can be reconciled accurately and immediately,” Go said.
Go said DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista reported that the DSWD is already providing the cash assistance to four million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries considered as the poorest of the poor.
Baustista also reported the ongoing distribution of emergency subsidies for identified beneficiaries belonging in the vulnerable and informal sectors.
“Hinihikayat ko ang mga LGUs at ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino na merong nakikitang discrepancy sa datos, i-report po ninyo sa DSWD mismo. Ayusin na natin kung meron mang nakikitang problema (We encouraged the LGUs and the ordinary Filipinos to report if they noticed discrepancies in the data to the DSWD. Let’s solve if you see problems),” Go said.
The DSWD said if there are families that may be left out from the initial list, those shall be submitted to the department for validation and, if found to be entitled, the list will be submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for endorsement for additional funding.
In Manila, the government is currently conducting a pilot implementation of the “ReliefAgad” system. If successful, DSWD will use the system for the second tranche of the emergency subsidy distribution.
“Ang prayoridad natin ngayon ay mabigyan ng ayuda ang pinaka-mahihirap. ‘Yung mga hindi maisama sa eighteen million families para sa emergency cash subsidy, mayroon ring mga programa ang gobyerno na makakatulong sa iba pang mga apektadong mamamayan (Our priority is to give assistance to the poorest of the poor. Those who were not included in the 18 million families for emergency cash subsidy, the government has other programs that can help the affected people),” Go said.
Aside from emergency subsidies for the 18 million low-income households, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has been giving one-time PHP5,000 Covid-19 Adjustment Measure Program (CAMP) for affected workers in the formal sector.
Some 3.4 million workers will also benefit from the subsidy program for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) employees that was recently introduced by the Department of Finance.
Go said the DSWD clarified that barangay health workers and barangay nutrition scholars from low- income families are also included in the social amelioration program.
“Let us work together to fill in the gaps as the needs of Filipino families affected by the Covid-19 crisis continue to grow,” Go said.