By Ben Rosario
Farmers and displaced overseas Filipino workers have the least access to the financial aid under the social amelioration program (SAP) with only one of out 10 of them receiving the government support, a congressman said today, April 29.
Deputy Speaker and 1Pacman Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero made this observation which was based on the recent reports submitted by implementing agencies to Malacañang.
Romero said the reports indicated that it would take a lot of effort for government to reach these two sectors but he stressed optimism that they will soon get their share in state-sponsored financial aid.
“Clearly, we have a long way to go in helping the affected sectors,” he stated.
As for the 18 million poor and near-poor households to be given P5,000 to P8,000 under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law Congress passed last March 23, so far only 6.3 million or 35 percent – roughly 3 in 10 families — got the assistance, he said.
Romero said based on reports submitted to Malacañang last week by SAP implementing agencies, of the 591,246 rice farmer-beneficiaries targeted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to get P5,000 each, only 53,881 have actually received the cash award.
In the case of dislocated OFWs, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was to help 135,720, of whom, 20,500 workers have been given P205 million or P10,000 each, he said.
Between those two groups, the total number of target beneficiaries is 726,966, Romero, who represents party-list group 1-Pacman, added.
He pointed out that of this number, a combined 74,381, or just 10.23 percent – which translates to roughly 1 in 10 persons – have received aid based on the reports of the two agencies.
The House leader stressed that aid delivery has not improved much since two weeks ago, when a total of 52,043 farmers got assistance, while 86,054 OFWs had applied for aid, and 3,245 applications had been approved and were “being processed for payment.”
The DA has P3 billion for rice farmers, of which the department has reported using P645 million as of last week. On the hand, the DOLE is allocated P1.5 billion for displaced OFWs.
Romero commended the DOLE for its 96.6-percent performance in helping a combined 565,125 formal and informal workers out of target of 585,303, delivering P2.3 billion in assistance out of a P2.7-billion budget.
In the case of the 18 million households that were to get aid from the DSWD, 4.4 million are covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), he said.
Of the 4.4 million, 3.7 million have received assistance, he said.
He said the remaining 13.6 million are non-4Ps households, of which 2.5 million, or a little over 18 percent, got the aid, he said.
Romero added that in Metro Manila, of the 1.6 million household targets, aid recipients totaled only 67,109, or just 4.3 percent, getting P536.872 million, or P8,000 each.
Some P12.5 billion is allocated for the National Capital Region.
Romero reiterated the appeal he aired last week for the implementing agencies to scale up the delivery of financial assistance under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law.