DSWD: possible assistance to “No Work, No Pay” citizens

Published April 20, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is eyeing possible assistance to “No Work, No Pay” workers who were not included in the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

DSWD Undersecretary for Special Concerns Camilo Gudmalin (PNA / MANILA BULLETIN)
DSWD Undersecretary for Special Concerns Camilo Gudmalin

DSWD Undersecretary for Special Concerns Camilo Gudmalin said the Department, upon the directive of DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, asked local government units (LGUs) to submit the list of daily paid workers in their respective areas. He said the DSWD will then submit the LGUs’ lists of additional beneficiaries to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Finance (DOF) for assessment.

“Ang instruksyon ng ating mahal na Secretary na kung hindi ito napabilang sa ating listahan, isumite ito ng ating local government units sa DSWD para galing dito sa DSWD, maendorsar ito sa ating economic managers para kung sakali mabigyan ng additional pondo ang DSWD at mapasama na itong hindi nakalista dito sa ating social ameliotation program,” he said in a virtual press briefing.

(The instruction of our dear Secretary is that if they were not included in the list, the LGUs will submit the list to the DSWD and the DSWD will endorse it to the economic managers so that in case the DSWD will be given additional fund, they will be included in the social amelioration program.)

The DSWD earlier included barangay health workers, barangay tanods, and barangay day care workers as “target beneficiaries” in the emergency subsidy program, “subject to proper screening.” Bautista signed a two-page memorandum dated April 17 directing the inclusion of the concerned sectors in SAP as recommended by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Gudmalin disclosed that as of April 19, a total of P22 billion SAP funds have been distributed to 4.7 million beneficiaries nationwide, including the 3.7 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) families, and more than 40,000 Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers. Though the total number of beneficiaries who benefitted from SAP is only 26.11 percent of the target 18-million low-income households, he expressed confidence that the LGUs’ distribution of the first tranche of emergency subsidies will be completed by end of April.

He said the second tranche of emergency subsidies will be distributed in May as scheduled. “Our local government partners are doing everything they can to finish the distribution for the first tranche within the month of April so that we can start also the distribution of the social amelioration subsidy for the second tranche in the month of May,” Gudmalin said.

Under Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” 18 million low-income households are entitled to receive an emergency subsidy ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 for two months starting April. Gudmalin noted that P74.5 billion SAP funds have been transferred to 1,359 LGUs. The amount is 90 percent of the P81 billion” downloaded by DSWD Central Office to its Regional Offices for distribution to non-4Ps SAP beneficiaries numbering to 13.556 million households.

On proposals for the DSWD to forge partnership with civil society organizations (CSO) and non-government organizations (NGOs) for the immediate distribution of emergency subsidies. He also noted that there is an existing Commission on Audit (COA) circular that imposes tedious requirements before such alliance can be inked.

“There is existing COA circular issued in 2012 titled Revised Documentary Requirements for Common Government Transactions na nagsasabi na bago ang isang transaction financial para sa NGOs, CSO may documento na isumite sa DSWD para maproseso at bago pa dyan makapasok sa MOA.(which provides that before NGOs and CSO get involved in financial transactions, there will be documents that are required for submission to the DSWD for processing, and before a MOA can be entered into),” the DSWD official said.

“Sa aming tingin, masyadong marami ang mga pangangailangan na itinakda ng COA at ang pagprocess nito ay matatagalan kaya sa aming pagtataya, dahil ito ay isang emergency, nakipagugnayan tayo sa DILG na ating mga katuwang na local government units ang mamamahala at magdistribute ng subsidy,” Gudmalin said.

(In our opinion, the COA is imposing many requirements and the processing will take time so based on our calculation, because this is an emergency, we coordinated with the DILG and decided that our partner LGUs will supervise and distribute the subsidy.)

Gudmalin thanked the DILG for directing the LGUs to post the list of target SAP beneficiaries to ensure transparency, saying that the DSWD and the DILG have been “advocating for transparency.” He also said the DSWD is “saddened” by reports that SAP recipients are spending their cash aid for illegal gambiling, cockfighting, drugs, and other vices. The DSWD official said he is certain that such reports are isolated, and many of the beneficiaries are prudently and properly using their cash assistance.

Gudmalin said the DSWD through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) has provided P86 million worth of medical and burial assistance to 18,649 clients who “have COVID-related concerns.” He also said the DSWD has distributed a total of 445,580 Family Food Packs (FFPs) worth about P173 million nationwide as augmentation support to LGUs.