By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday stressed that local officials may appeal their case pertaining to the number of poor families in their jurisdiction who are entitled to the social amelioration program (SAP).
This was raised by the DILG after some local government units (LGUs) had complained that the SAP funds that they are set to receive may be insufficient since the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) based the number of the indigent sector on the 2015 census.
DILG undersecretary Jonathan Malaya noted the government had already adjusted its list based on population growth with the addition of some 1.5 million recipients.
He suggested that the LGUs should prioritize the “poorest among the poor’’ in handing out the social amelioration cards (SAC) and just include the other qualified recipients in the second batch with the list being provided to the DSWD immediately.
Malaya noted that DSWD secretary Rolando Bautista has guaranteed that the list will be consolidated and brought to the attention of the Department of Finance (DOF) for proper funding.
To recall, Malaya said the government has started its 2020 census but it was off-tracked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With some local officials at the receiving end of accusations of baseless favoritism, Malaya vowed to raise to concerned Cabinet officials the proposal to just divide the cash assistance equally for all residents.
Currently, Malaya noted those eligible for the government’s financial assistance are low income families and those working in the informal sector.
President Duterte has strongly supported calls to include the middle class in the SAP aid but is in a quandary where to get the needed funds.
Meanwhile, Malaya emphasized that the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) who have cash cards do not need to fill up the DSWD forms as the assistance has already been deposited in their automated teller machines (ATM) accounts.