Bong Go urges gov’t agencies, LGUs to ‘perfect’ distribution system for social amelioration program

Published April 15, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, has called on concerned national government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to work together to resolve issues on conflicting lists of beneficiaries and improve the distribution system for the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) to benefit Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go (Senator Christopher “Bong” Go official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go
(Senator Christopher “Bong” Go official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“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 on Wednesday (April 15).

“Ayusin na natin agad kapag may mga nakikitang problema. Siguraduhin natin na magamit ang pondo ng tama, walang masayang, at maramdaman ng mga tao kahit sa malalayong lugar ang tulong mula sa gobyerno,” he added.

(Let us fix the problems as they arise. Let us ensure that government funds are spent wisely with no wastage and that the impact of government help be felt by the people, including those in far-flung areas.)

Go 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.

“LGUs naman po ang nakakaalam ng aktwal na kalagayan ng mga nasasakupan nila, at ang DSWD naman ang maniniguro na ang distribution ay magiging ‘fair and equitable’ lalo na sa mga pinaka-nangangailangan,’’ he added. (LGUs know what is happening in their jurisdictions while the DSWD ensures that assistance distribution is fair and equitable, particularly to the the needy.)

Go said according to DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, the DSWD is already providing the cash assistance to four million 4Ps beneficiaries considered the poorest of the poor.

The distribution to identified beneficiaries belonging to the vulnerable and informal sectors is also ongoing.

According to the DSWD, if there are families that are left out from the initial list, their names should be submitted to DSWD for validation and, if found to be entitled, the list would be submitted to Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for endorsement for additional funding.

The government is currently conducting a pilot implementation in Manila of the “Relief Agad” system. If successful, DSWD will use the system for the second tranche of the emergency subsidy distribution.

Starting from the poorest of the poor, around 18 million Filipino family-beneficiaries shall receive assistance from the DSWD for two months under the Social Amelioration Program.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), meanwhile, has the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) for affected workers in the formal sector, consisting of a one-time P5,000 cash assistance and employment facilitation services.

“After sa DOLE, ang DOF (Department of Finance) at Social Security System (SSS) naman po ang magbibigay ng tulong. Hinihimay po ng mabuti to avoid duplication. Ito naman ‘yung sa mga MSMEs natin para naman maitawid rin sila… Ang importante ‘yung tiyan ng bawat Pilipino, walang magugutom dapat,” he added.

(After DOLE, the DOF and SSS will also be extending help. [The names] are being carefully checked to avoid duplication. These are for the MSMEs, to help them as well. What’s important is that no Filipino go hungry.)

Some 3.4 million workers will benefit from the subsidy program for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) employees that was recently introduced by the DOF.

Go also said that according to DSWD, barangay health workers and barangay nutrition scholars from low-income families are also included in the SAP.

“Let us work together to fill in the gaps as the needs of Filipino families affected by the COVID-19 crisis continue to grow,” he added.