By Ben Rosario
The Department of Social Welfare and Development and local government units are mandated to address all issues raised by the public over the slow distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) benefits.
Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor aired this statement as he urged DSWD and all LGUs to resolve the problems that have hampered the distribution fo P5,000 to P8,000 financial assistance to 18 million families affected by the enhanced community quarantine.
Defensor, chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, said he was making the appeal since just a little over half of the target beneficiaries have actually received the assistance for this month as of today, the deadline for its distribution.
“Obviously, there are problems slowing down the delivery of aid. The DSWD and LGUs, which the department has tasked to distribute the funds, should resolve these issues,” he said.
He noted that at least one local official, Navotas Mayor Tobias Tiangco, has complained in a television interview of lack of coordination between the local DSWD office and his LGU in qualifying households for the financial assistance.
Defensor said resolving distribution issues would speed up the delivery of the remainder of the P100 billion in aid budgeted for April and another P100 billion for May.
In passing the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law last March 23, Congress targeted 18 million poor and near-poor households to get P5,000 to P8,000 a month for two months, including 4.4 million families covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps and pre-identified by the DSWD.
The remaining 13.6 million families are non-4Ps, and were to be identified and qualified by the DSWD and the more than 1,600 LGUs nationwide.
The process of identification and validation is where the problem lies.
Citing information posted on the DSWD website today, Defensor said of the targeted 18 million household-beneficiaries, 3.7 million covered by 4Ps and 5.7 million non-4Ps have received cash assistance.
This means that there are 8.6 million families waiting for the financial aid for April, including about 700,000 4Ps beneficiaries, he said.
He expressed confidence that the DSWD and its LGU conduits could expeditiously iron out the kinks hampering the distribution process.
Defensor also said since almost half of the funds for April is yet to be delivered to the beneficiaries, the DSWD should allow LGUs to continue distributing the funds beyond today’s deadline.