By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reminded on Thursday, April 23, the local government units (LGUs) to carefully scrutinize the list of target beneficiaries, in order to ensure that the eligible and deserving recipients receive their emergency subsidies under the government's Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista
(PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said since the identification and listing of eligible beneficiaries rests solely on the shoulders of the LGUs, they must be held responsible for the inclusion of unqualified SAP recipients.
"Actually, base sa ating guidelines, may responsibilidad diyan ang LGUs--ang ibig sabihin nyan—ang barangay LGU ang nagpahintulot na ilagay sya diyan sa ating listahan maski hindi siya eligible ay may karampatang pananagutan ang LGUs. Alam naman natin na maliwanag 'yun kaya binigay ang autoridad sa LGUs na mag-identify ng mga target beneficiaries, dahil sila ang nakakaalam ng profile at background ng kanilang nasasakupan," he said during the "Laging Handa" network briefing.
(Actually, based on our guidelines, the LGUs have responsibilities--meaning, if it was the barangay LGU which allowed the ineligible beneficiary to be included in the list even if he or she is not eligible, the LGU has corresponding liabilities. We know that it is clear that the reason why the LGUs were given the authority to identify the target beneficiaries, it is because they know the profile and background of their constituents.)
Bautista was referring to Memorandum Circular No. 9 series of 2020, which tasks the LGUs to provide the list of target beneficiaries, facilitate the preparation and approval of the payroll, and ensure the timely delivery of payment to the beneficiaries.
"Nakalagay din sa Local Government Code, in times of disasters, sila ang frontliners kaya in the aspect na kilalanin ang nasasakupan, sila dapat ang eksperto dun," he said.
(The Local Government Code provides, that in times of disasters, they are the frontliners so in the aspect of identifying their constituents, they should be the expert.)
Based on the joint memorandum circular issued by the Inter Agency Task Force COVID-19, the DSWD briefed the LGUs on who are the target beneficiaries.
Bautista said for those SAP beneficiaries who received two tranches of assistance from the government within a month, they will not be given the second tranche of the emergency subsidies to be distributed in May.
"Pag nadetermine na nakatanggap sila sa isang buwan ng dalawang ayuda galing sa dalawang ahensya, sa pangalawang buwan hindi na sila makakatanggap (Once it is determined that in a month, they received assistance from two agencies, in the second month, they will no longer receive assistance) ," he explained, citing a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program who received the emergency subsidy from the DSWD and the Department of Labor and Employment's Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) assistance as an example.
He said in case that the beneficiaries resorted to fraudulent means in order to be included in the SAP, the LGUs should ensure that they return the cash subsidy for distribution to other low-income households who are deserving and are in most need.
The DSWD Chief earlier said charges will be filed against unqualified beneficiaries who claimed the emergency subsidies, and the concerned barangay officials who were behind their improper inclusion in the list of beneficiaries will also be charged.
During the network briefing, Bautista said as of last night, April 22, the DSWD downloaded more than P77 billion SAP funds to LGUs or 94.75 percent of the P81 billion downloaded by the Central Office to its Field Offices.
He noted that a total of 2,021, 282 low-income and non-4Ps families have benefitted from the subsidy program.
He said they are expected to submit the list of other eligible beneficiaries who were not included in the initial list of SAP recipients.
"Meron na kaming numbers sa bawa’t probinsiya, sa bawa’t lalawigan kung ilan ang hindi nabigyan ng ayuda although sila ay sinasabi nating eligible," he said.
(We have numbers in every province, on how many were not given the aid, although they are eligible.)
"Within this week, ifo-forward namin ang mga datos sa ating economic managers, sa pamumuno ni Secretary Dominguez," he assured Quirino Governor Dakila Cua who asked him if his constituents who were not included in SAP will be financially assisted by the DSWD.
Cua, former Quirino representative who served as chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, thanked Bautista "for being open to the adjustments."
He cited the need to improve the data gathering to ensure the "accurate" targeting of poor households in the country.
"Hindi lang NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) at PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) ang may trabaho, makikipagtulungan din po ang LGU dyan. Dyan kami siguro magiging instrumental, listahin ang actual number para maging accurate ang targeting," Cua said.
(It is not just the job of NEDA and PSA, the LGU should also do its part and help. We can be instrumental in that aspect, to list the actual number to make the targeting accurate.)
Bautista maintained that DSWD will post the name of SAP beneficiaries on its website as one of the "safety nets" to ensure transparency in the implementation of SAP.
"Isa sa mga safety nets para kung sino gustong magsamantala ay hindi makakagawa ng ganyang iregularidad sapagkat mismong taong bayan na nagbabantay para masigurado ang mga karapat dapat lang makakatanggap ng ayuda," he said.
(This is one of safety nets so that those who want to abuse the program will not commit any irregularities because it is the public that is monitoring to ensure that only those who are deserving receive the aid.)