By Chito Chavez
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año on Friday granted a seven-day extension for the distribution of Social Amelioration Program (SAP) cash in Metro Manila and other densely populated areas.
He made this decision after some mayors requested for the extension of the financial assistance for varying valid reasons.
“The mayors told us that they need more time because they could not meet the deadline without violating the rule on social distancing and mass gathering. We are faced with the reality that some areas are more populated compared to the others, hence, an extension of another seven more days will be accorded to these selected LGUs,’’ Año said.
With the seven-day extension, Año said this will ensure that more qualified beneficiaries are given the cash aid.
He added that the extension also showed the DILG’s recognition of the hard work and dedication put in by the LGUs despite mounting challenges.
However, Año upon careful scrutiny on the ground understood that it was physically and mathematically impossible to meet the April 30 deadline for the SAP cash aid distribution due to their densely populated areas of jurisdiction.
As of April 29, the Department of the Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that it has downloaded a total of P80.8-billion of SAP assistance that is equivalent to 98.8 percent of the overall SAP budget for 1,515 LGUs nationwide.
Año said that the LGUs in Metro Manila, which have earlier submitted a letter seeking for an extension of SAP aid distribution, the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, and Cebu and Davao City will be given additional seven days to complete distribution of the financial aid to qualified low-income families.
He added that other provincial LGUs having issues with the distribution will also be given a four-day extension. (Chito Chavez)