Not all BHWs, tanods will receive SAP emergency subsidy — DSWD

Published April 22, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clarified on Wednesday that not all barangay health workers (BHWs) and barangay tanods will receive the emergency subsidies under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje said since the benefit for the concerned sectors will be sourced out from the existing P200 billion SAP funding as provided for under Republic Act No. 11469, the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” there will be strict and proper screening.

“Nais ko pong linawin na hindi po automatic na kabilang ang lahat ng barangay workers,” he said during the “Laging Handa” briefing on Wednesday.

“Isasailalim pa rin po sila sa pagsusuri o assessment ng local na pamahalaan at sisiguraduhin na ang kanilang kalagayan sa buhay ay pasok sa mga panuntunang umiiral para sa SAP benefits,” he said. (They will still undergo assessment by the local governments and make sure that their status in life is within the requirements for SAP benefits.)

Paje urged the local government units (LGUs) to meticulously identify the beneficiaries who will receive the cash subsidy.

“Nakikiusap tayo sa local na pamahalaan na tiyakin ang saturation drive para matukoy o ma-identify ang target beneficiaries at pamilya na nasa listahan,” he said. (We appeal to the local government to ensure its saturation drive to determine or identify the beneficiaries and families that should be on the list.)

He assured homeless families or street dwellers that they will be given cash aid.

Paje said that for those who are not included in the list of beneficiaries but are eligible to receive the emergency subsidy, they can appeal to their respective local social development and welfare officers who will then submit their names to the Regional Offices for assessment and immediate action.

He reiterated the DSWD’s earlier appeal to LGUs to find ways on how to implement its own amelioration program to benefit their constituents who are not included in the SAP.

The DSWD earlier decided to include barangay health workers, barangay tanods, and barangay Day Care workers as “target beneficiaries” of SAP after DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista signed a two-page memorandum dated April 17, directing their inclusion in the emergency subsidy program.

Bautista said the decision was arrived at after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) “recommended their inclusion” given that they are “sub-minimum wage earners” and belong to the “disadvantaged or vulnerable sectors.”

In a letter to the DILG on April 16, 2020, Bautista sought the “guidance of the DILG and requested for clarification as to whether the identified sectors, being part of the local government, are to be considered as excluded from the implementation of the SAP.”

The DILG, through Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya, responded to Bautista and recommended the sectors’ inclusion as target beneficiaries of SAP.

In its response to DSWD, the DILG said the “nature of appointment of the BHWs, barangay tanods, and Barangay Day Care Workers, should not outrightly disqualify them from being included in the target beneficiaries under the SAP,” Bautista said.

Citing the DILG’s recommendation, the DSWD Chief said the BHWs, tanods, and Day Care workers fall under the definition of sub-minimum wage earners which refer “to any person who earns a wage below the prescribed minimum and is the sole income-earner of their family.”

“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 community. It is but just to give them reasonable leeway to be entitled in the programs of the government,” Bautista said, quoting the DILG.

DSWD Undersecretary for Special Concerns Camilo Gudmalin had earlier explained that the BHWs, barangay tanods, and Day Care workers “are not outrightly disqualified, but are still subject to assessment.”

“If BHWs, tanods, Day Care workers are either 4Ps members or have family member who is also a government employee, they can no longer avail of SAP,” he told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.

“They should be screened on a case-to-case basis,” he said.