By Argyll Geducos
Malacañang said the addition of five million more families to the original 18 million beneficiary-families of the first tranche of the social amelioration program (SAP) was a way to apologize to those who did not receive the emergency subsidy from the government.
In an interview over state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Duterte wants to provide assistance to more people affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) community quarantine.
“Ipapatupad po natin yung kagustuhan ni Presidente na lahat ng nangangailangan ng tulong, magkaroon ng tulong doon sa first tranche ng SAP,” he said Saturday.
(We will implement the President’s desire to help all those who need assistance to obtain assistance from the first tranche of the SAP.)
“Ibig sabihin po niyan, hindi lang 18 million ang makikinabang, dadagdagan pa po natin ng five million.”
(That means we will add five million more families to the original 18 million who will receive the emergency subsidy.)
According to Roque, this is a way to apologize to those who were not included in the original list of beneficiaries of the P200-billion subsidy program.
“Ito ay isang pamamaraan din para humingi ng pasensya sa mga ‘di nakatanggap, dahil hanggang ngayon po nade-delay ang release ng first tranche,” he said.
(This is a way to apologize to those who have not receive aid due to the delay in the release of the first tranche.)
However, Roque said it was up to the President to decide on what to do with the second tranche of the social amelioration program.
“Aaprubahan po ng Presidente ang rekomendasyon, pero hahayaan na po natin kay Presidente ang desisyon doon sa second tranche,” he said.
(The President will approve the recommendation, but let’s allow him to make decisions for the second tranche.)
Roque said the addition of five million families is proof that President Duterte fulfills his promise.
“Ito po ay patunay na, unang-una, tumutupad po sa pangako ang ating Presidente. Sinabi niya lahat ng nangangailangan mabibigyan,” he said.
(This is proof that the President fulfills his promises. he said all who need help will receive assistance.)
“Ipapatupad natin ‘yan dahil alam ng ating Presidente kung gaano kahirap ang buhay sa ilalim ng ECQ,” he added.
(We will implement this because the President knows how difficult it is to live under the ECQ.)
On Friday, Roque asked for public understanding over concerns on the slow distribution of financial assistance, assuring them of efforts to hasten the process.
Local government units (LGUs) have been given until May 7 to complete the distribution of the first tranche of the subsidy. The second batch of aid distribution will follow suit.
The LGUs were originally directed to finish the distribution of the financial aid to poor households last April 30, but this was hampered by problems caused by concern over physical distancing protocols.
According to Roque, Malacañang could not blame the LGUs for the delay due to changing guidelines issued by the national government. The government had initially required validation of the beneficiaries before giving aid, but later amended the policy to speed up the distribution.
Earlier, President Duterte warned LGUs to not pocket the cash aid intended for the beneficiaries or he will shame them in public.