By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Despite the failure of lawmakers to pass the 2019 budget on time, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Thursday assured the beneficiaries of the government tax subsidy program that they will still receive their cash grants this year.
The unconditional cash transfer (UCT) program is a tax subsidy provided for under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (TRAIN) to help 10 million indigent Filipino families and individuals cushion the effect of the policy in terms of the adjustments in the excise tax of petroleum products.
The grant amounts to P200 per month or P2,400 for one year for its implementation in 2018 and P300 per month or P3,600 for one year for 2019 and 2020.
According to DSWD Assistant Secretary for Policy and Plans Noel Macalalad, the implementation of UCT and the additional monthly P100 increase in cash grant this 2019 will push through.
He explained that the UCT program has been a priority since last year and that it has already been budgeted by the Department of Finance (DOF).
Also this year, Macalalad announced that DSWD will transition from the manual payment of UCT to cash cards.
“Right now we are transitioning. In 2018 we were doing manual payment to the beneficiaries. This 2019, the government would like to push to transition them to cash cards so that we can eliminate the need to put up face-to-face payouts. What will happen is that the money will be deposited to the beneficiaries’ cash cards’ accounts,” he said.
“What we are trying to do now is to become more efficient in the delivery of the subsidy to the beneficiaries,” he added.
Macalalad pointed out that similar to last year, DSWD is targeting to start the distribution of UCT grant in June.
During the first half of the year, DSWD will also focus on the registration of the beneficiaries for their cash cards.
The 10 million UCT beneficiaries include the 4.4 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps beneficiaries, 3 million senior citizen-beneficiaries of the social pension program; and 2.6 million households from the DSWD’s Listahanan or database of poor households.