By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has requested the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release the P100 billion allocated for the second tranche of emergency subsidies to be distributed to 18 million low-income families in May.
DSWD Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin said the DSWD already sought the release of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) funds, as they eyed to complete the distribution of the first tranche of subsidies by end of this month.
“Ang timeline natin matapos ang distribution ng first tranche will be by end of April (Our timeline to complete the distribution of the first tranche will be by end of April),” he told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.
“Nagpadala na ang DSWD ng request to DBM for the release ng second tranche. Antay na lang namin ang sagot, (The DSWD has already forwarded the request to the DBM for the release of the second tranche. We are just waiting for their response),” Gudmalin said.
He assured the public that once they receive the funding, it will be immediately downloaded to the local government units (LGUs) for distribution to the SAP beneficiaries.
“Pag na release yun, ilipat namin kaagad sa mga LGUs para maibigay kaagad sa mga beneficiaries (Once it is released, we will immediately transfer it to the LGUs so it will be given to the beneficiaries right away),” the DSWD official said.
As of April 15, more than P929 million worth of emergency subsidies have been distributed to 172,357 lowincome households who are nonbeneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) nationwide.
Gudmalin had earlier said that from April 3 to April 14, DSWD Regional Offices transferred P59.532 billion to the 1,033 LGUs or “74 percent of the P80 billion” downloaded by DSWD Central Office to its Regional Offices on April 3 for distribution to non-CCT SAP beneficiaries numbering to 13.556 million households.
“For the remaining 601 LGUs, DSWD is still waiting for the LGUs submission of the signed MOAs (memorandum of agreement) and Project Proposals with allocation of about P20 billion,” he noted.
The P800 million SAP allocation for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has yet to be downloaded.
“As of April 14, DSWD already served 3.8 million households/families and disbursed to the beneficiaries the amount of P17 billion. We are confident that this week, with P59 billion already in the hands of the LGUs, significant number of families will be served,” Gudmalin said.
Under Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, 18 million low-income households are entitled to receive emergency cash subsidies, ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 based on respective regional wage rates.
Gudmalin said the estimated amount to cover the 18 million households is about P200 billion for two months – April and May.
On April 2, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released the DSWD the P100 billion for the first tranche of subsidies to be distributed to 18 million low-income families affected by the enhanced community quarantine.
A day after releasing the P100 billion SAP funds, the DSWD credited to 3.7 million 4Ps beneficiaries the subsidy in the amount of P16.4 billion, Gudmalin said.
DOLE stops cash aid
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment has ceased to accept online application for the P5,000 financial assistance for formal sector workers under the COVID19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) effective April 15.
In a statement, the DOLE said it has been swamped with volumes of requests that the available fund for the program amounting to P1.6 billion is very close to being “depleted”.
“The requests simply ballooned beyond the capacity of DOLE’s resources. The situation was aggravated by the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) up to April 30,” DOLE said.
“We seek the full understanding of employers and workers who were unable to receive the assistance,” it added.
DOLE revealed that since the implementation of CAMP last March 23, it was able to provide the one-time assistance to 236,412 workers from 10,663 establishments, with total cash disbursements of P1.2 billion.
It added that they have yet to pay 85,563 more workers.
DOLE said it is now working closely with other agencies, including Congress, for an alternative program to help ease the burden on the greater number of workers who did not benefit from CAMP.
DOLE added that it is now moving fast its recovery plan for workers and employers to cope with the “new normal” after the ECQ.
“We are preparing a menu of programs that will complement national efforts to effectively address the needs of the people,” the department said.
The CAMP served as a safety net for workers in the formal sector to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. (With a report from Leslie Ann G. Aquino)