By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has appealed to the mayors and their respective city and municipal councils to tap into their savings or look for other funding sources to grant cash assistance to their constituents who are not included in the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
The DSWD encouraged the local government units (LGUs) to initiate their own amelioration program by using their own finances and other possible sources of funds.
“For the LGU constituents that are not covered by the Social Amelioration Program cash assistance of the government but are included in the lists of their respective mayors, may we kindly request the mayors and their councils to look into their councils’ finances, savings, programmed projects for the year that are to be implemented which can be deferred, and other possible sources of funds that are available to them, which can be used to fill in the gap of their additional beneficiaries being requested from the DSWD so that they can come up with the same amount as dictated by the regional wage rates of their area in an amelioration program of their city or municipality,” the DSWD said in a recent Facebook post.
The 17 Metro Manila mayors earlier sought the restoration of their original number of target emergency aid beneficiaries, which is higher than the DSWD’s actual target.
The DSWD also urged the LGUs to urgently submit their master list of beneficiaries and faithfully distribute the emergency subsidies as provided for by Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020.
“The DSWD would like to appeal to the LGU leadership including barangay councils to try to come up with their list as soon as possible and distribute the cash assistance in accordance with the rules of the Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020,” it said.
Amid criticisms expressed by netizens that the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) should not be included in the SAP, the department called on the public to “try to understand the plight of our poor brothers and sisters.”
The DSWD cited the urgent need for the government to ease the financial plight of the country’s poorest of the poor during this COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
“These poor vulnerable households depend on their daily income to survive and are totally hand-to-mouth survivors. The poor informal sector members of society have nothing, are not educated, have undernourished members, have no opportunities, and were born on the other side of the tracks, so to speak. Some of them are trying to get out of that bondage. Let’s help them survive this crisis,” DSWD said.
“We understand the plight of salaried workers from the middle class who also need help. The government is looking into assistance for the middle-class sector.”
President Duterte has approved a P50.8-billion small business wage subsidy (SBWS) program for around 3.4 million middle class workers.
“The coronavirus pandemic has taken the world by storm. Not even first-world countries were prepared for the aftermath unleashed by the virus. We were all learning from what worked for other countries and adapting what was appropriate to our Philippine setting,” the DSWD said.
It cited that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has enabled all government agencies to act as one for the good of all.
“Indeed the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge for the national government, and each and every elected public official down to the barangay level,” it said.
The DSWD expressed gratitude to all the LGUs, police, military, concerned stakeholders, donors, and the Filipino people for their cooperation, patience, and support.
“COVID-19 is a time of crisis, that calls for unity, brotherhood, sisterhood, and healing as one nation!” it said.