By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured the public on Wednesday evening (April 29) that it is closely coordinating with the local government units (LGUs) to ensure the expeditious distribution of the first tranche of emergency subsidies.
DSWD Spokesperson Irene Dumlao made the assurance amid criticisms that the agency’s delayed downloading of Social Amelioration Program (SAP) funds to the LGUs resulted in the snail-paced distribution of the cash aid.
“LGUs are DSWD’s partners in the implementation of the SAP. We are in constant coordination with them so we could expedite the process of distribution,” she told reporters in a Viber message, following reports that LGUs were scrambling to distribute the subsidies without observing protocols on social distancing and prohibition on mass gathering.
“We discuss issues with LGUs and identify measures so we could provide aid to the beneficiaries,” she added.
The LGUs were ordered on Tuesday (April 28) to complete the SAP distribution within three days or be charged with dereliction of duty, Malacañang earlier announced.
Dumlao explained that under its guidelines, the LGUs are required to submit the budget proposals to the Field Office along with the signed memorandum of agreement (MOA).
“DSWD will transfer funds to LGU 24 hrs after LGU’s submission of signed MOA and project proposal. Within 24 hrs upon receipt of funds, the LGU will conduct payout within five to seven days,” she said.
Under the guidelines, the LGUs in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) are given seven days to conduct the subsidy distribution.
There are 1,632 LGUs in the country, according to the DSWD.
“DSWD validation will be conducted after the payout as a measure to expedite the process of distribution of aid,” Dumlao said.
In a Facebook post, the DSWD cited San Miguel, Bulacan for its “100-percent” distribution of P110.5 million worth of subsidies to 17,000 low-income families. “Shout-out to the LGU [that] has completed ESP distribution! Great job!” it wrote.
The DSWD said that as of April 28, 8 p.m., more than P46 billion worth of emergency subsidies have been distributed to over 8.8 million beneficiaries nationwide, or 48.7 percent of the target 18 million beneficiaries.
The total amount of disbursed SAP funds is 46 percent of the P100 billion allocated for the first wave of cash aid for the month of April.
Of the P46 billion distributed cash subsidies, P29.3 billion has been distributed to 5,019,210 low-income and non-Pantawid Pamilya (4Ps) families.
The SAP beneficiaries also include 3,731,422 4Ps families that received P16.4 billion worth of emergency subsidies, and 40,418 families of transport network vehicle service (TNVS) and public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers who received a P323.3 million subsidy allocation.