By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged on Tuesday, April 21, concerned national agencies and local government units (LGUs) to consider in their respective lists of beneficiaries the barangay workers who are qualified to receive assistance from the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) as the country battles the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Go had earlier appealed to national government agencies and LGUs to immediately provide assistance to barangay tanods, barangay health workers (BHWs), and daycare workers as recipients for the program.
“Dapat lamang po silang maisama sa mga mabibigyan ng tulong ng DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development). Malaki rin po ang kanilang papel bilang frontliners ng ating mga barangay, lalo na sa kasalukuyang emergency na dinaranas ng bansa dulot ng COVID-19,’’ Go said. (They deserve to receive assistance from the DSWD. They also perform important roles as frontliners in our villages, especially in the current emergency in the country due to COVID-19.)
During a radio interview, Go said that barangay workers who are considered sub-minimum wage earners should not be disqualified from receiving the said assistance.
He pointed out that barangay workers, such as BHWs, tanods, and daycare workers, serve as frontliners in their communities amid the ongoing global pandemic.
Go also thanked the DSWD for considering the barangay workers eligible for the benefits.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa DSWD dahil maisasama na po nila itong mga barangay tanod, BHWs, daycare workers na qualified sila as part po ng target beneficiaries ng social amelioration program,’’ he said. (We thank the DSWD for the inclusion of barangay tanod, BHWs, daycare workers who are qualified as target beneficiaries of the social amelioration program.)
While the DSWD has released a memorandum that deems these barangay workers qualified for the assistance, Go clarified that the provision of the benefit will still depend on the prioritization of their respective LGUs.
Go also assured that the government is doing its best to address other appeals and fill in the gaps in providing assistance to communities and other sectors of society.
In a memorandum released by the agency on Thursday, April 16, the DSWD adopted the recommendation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to include barangay functionaries as target beneficiaries of the program.
According to the recommendation, barangay tanods, BHWs, and daycare workers should not be disqualified from the assistance since they belong to the vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors as sub-minimum wage earners.
Sub-minimum wage earners, by definition, refer to any person who earns a wage below the prescribed minimum and are the sole income earners of their respective families.
The DILG and DSWD also noted that “the so-called heavy-lifting job for the immediate response to the pandemic has been delegated to BHWs and tanods as the frontliners in all communities.”
Go also called on concerned national government agencies and LGUs to work together to resolve issues on conflicting lists of beneficiaries and improve the distribution system for the government’s social amelioration program.
“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.