By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Sunday assured the public that the government will provide cash aid under the social amelioration program (SAP) to an additional five million qualified recipients on top of the initial 18 million beneficiaries.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya appealed for public patience and understanding as millions have accused barangay officials of playing favorites towards their relatives and supporters.
He explained that the five million qualified grantees excluded from the initial batch will be included in the second tranche.
Malaya has recognized the challenge barangay officials face in determining the qualified beneficiaries for the subsidy.
With this current situation, Malaya said some barangay officials were unfairly branded as corrupt while admitting that the others were indeed deceitful and dishonest.
DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño said his office has received some 2,000 complaints of various SAP-related offenses.
Aside from playing favorites, Diño said there were complaints about barangay captains demanding cuts or shares from the subsidy that the recipients will receive in exchange for being included in the list of poorest of the poor or most vulnerable families affected by the health crisis.
Malaya said the 18 million low-income family-beneficiaries were selected based on a 2015 DSWD survey.
As of May 2, the government has provided 11 million families with SAP cash aid.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año has extended the deadline for the distribution of the first tranche of the SAP financial assistance to May 7 upon the request of many LGU officials.
Malaya noted that the DILG is still waiting for the DSWD guidelines with regard to the distribution of the cash aid in the second tranche to the left-out families.
He said those in the informal and vulnerable sectors are prioritized in the program.
Under the DSWD omnibus guidelines, those excluded from receiving SAP benefits are the following:
• Elected and appointed government officials such as permanent, contractual, casual, coterminous, or personnel contracted (under memorandum of agreement, contract of service, job order, and other similar arrangements) in any national government agency (NGA), government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), local government unit, and GOCC with original charter;
• Employees in the private sector or those in the formal economy, including those who are employees of GOCCs without original charters, regardless of the existence of employee-employer relationship and regardless of the fact that they are receiving a salary or wage;
• Retired individuals receiving pensions;
• Families with independent financial capacity consistent with the intent of Republic Act No. 11469 (Bayanihan Act) to provide assistance to low-income families.