DILG keen on extending April 30 deadline of SAP cash aid distribution in selected cities

Published April 30, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chito Chavez

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday is keen on extending the April 30 deadline on the distribution of cash aid under the social amelioration program (SAP) in cities facing huge social distancing issues and population woes.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN)
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (Photo from Philippine Information Agency / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a press briefing in Malacañang, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said he will confer with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista to assess the current situation in the distribution of the financial assistance amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

Earlier, some local chief executives (LCE) expressed doubts of meeting the DILG’s April 30 deadline.

Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco admitted the near impossibility of complying with the directive due to the extreme difficulty of ensuring that only qualified recipients are given the cash grant.

Initially, the DILG warned that non-complying LCEs will be charged administratively for violating Republic Act 11469.

But it seems that the DILG has softened its stance when informed of the various woes faced by the LCEs in the distribution of the cash aid.

With the difficulty faced by the LCEs, Año–after conferring with Bautista–is thinking of granting the request for the extension of the deadline in the distribution of the cash assistance, particularly in Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, Cebu, and Davao City.

After scrutinizing the situation in Metro Manila and other high-density populated urban poor areas, Año found validity in the explanation of the LCEs in their request to have the April 30 cash aid distribution extended.

Under normal circumstances, Año said the LGUs would have distributed the SAP aids promptly if not for the strict enforcement of physical distancing and other quarantine protocols.

He added that they intend to give seven-day extensions to Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, Cebu, and Davao City, while less problematic areas will be given four-day extensions.

After the expiration of the extension period, Año said the LGUs have to liquidate immediately to expedite the preparation of the second tranche, even if it is only “partial liquidation,’’ to speed up the process en route to full liquidation.

Once this is accomplished, Año said the DSWD will now have the basis to release the second tranche of cash aid after strict validation.

“Ito ay pagkilala sa mga LGUs na nakita nating nagtatrabaho pero physically and mathematically very impossible na magagawa yung pagdistribute sa dami ng pamilya ng kanilang nasasakupan (This is in recognition of the LGUs that are doing their jobs but physically and mathematically are faced with the impossibility of distributing the cash aid to the huge number of families in their respective turfs),’’ Año concluded.