By Genalyn Kabiling
The government has vowed to enforce discipline among local government officials who fail to complete the financial aid distribution to poor families before the end of the month.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said President Duterte recognizes the suffering of people living under quarantine restrictions and wants concerned local government officials to hasten the distribution of the emergency subsidy.
“Paumanhin po, but we will enforce the law. We will enforce discipline among those who should have acted faster,” Roque said in an interview over ANC’s Headstart program.
“Money is there to be given to those in need. It should have been given yesterday and not today,” he said.
Roque warned anew that local government units will be held accountable over the sluggish distribution of financial aid to target beneficiaries.
He said the President appreciated Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año’s warning on possible disciplinary action against local government officials who are unable to complete the relief distribution by April 30.
“Siyempre naiintindihan ng Presidente na napakahirap ng buhay habang tayo ay nasa ECQ (extended community quarantine) kaya nga nagagalak ang presidente na nagbigay na ng taning itong si Sec Año na (Of course the President understands that life is difficult while we are under ECQ so the President is pleased that Secretary Año gave a deadline that) within three days, the LGUs must disburse to the intended beneficiaries itong ating SAP (social amelioration program). Otherwise, they will be issued a show cause order and will be subjected to disciplinary action,” he said.
“I think that reflects the President’s general predicament,” he added.
Roque also appealed for understanding from people who have yet to receive the subsidy from the government. He assured that efforts are underway to speed up the distribution.
“Doon sa mga talagang nag-aantay ng ayuda, humihingi ng inyong pag-unawa ang ating Presidente pero binigyan na natin ng order ang mga lokal na opisyales na kinakailangan na gumalaw sila, ipamigay ang ayuda dahil alam namin na kinakailangan ang ayuda na ‘yan kahapon pa (To people waiting for the aid, the President asks for your understanding but we have ordered the local officials to act fast and distribute the aid because we know the relief should have been given yesterday),” he said.
The President, in his fifth weekly report to Congress on Monday, said the government has so far disbursed P96.8 billion for the DSWD’s aid program. Of the 18 million beneficiaries, at least 6.2 million households have been given the financial aid as of April 24.
Under the P200-billion program, the government intends to give emergency subsidy to 18 million low income families for the months of April and May. A household beneficiary may receive financial aid ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 depending on the minimum wage level of the region.
The welfare program, authorized by the Bayanihan law, is part of the government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the quarantine restrictions on the people.