By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Of the P100 billion allocated for the first wave of cash aid under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), P62.8 billion has been distributed to over 11.6 million beneficiaries, the Department of Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Sunday (May 3).
As of 8 p.m. of May 2, over 11.6 million poor families or almost 64.5 percent of 18 million households targeted to receive cash assistance nationwide have so far been served, based on the DSWD’s latest SAP monitoring report.
Of the total amount, P45.8 billion has been given to 7,799,398 million low-income and non-Pantawid Pamilya (4Ps) families, the report said.
The DSWD has transferred P80.6 billion to the local government units (LGUs) for the non-Pantawid Pamilya families.
Also included in list of SAP beneficiaries were 3,806,516 4Ps families who received P16.7 billion worth of emergency subsidies; and 40,418 families of transport network vehicle service (TNVS) and public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers who received a P323 million subsidy allocation.
On May 1, the DSWD started posting the lists of SAP beneficiaries on its website.
Under Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act” , 18 million low-income households are entitled to receive an emergency subsidy ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 depending on the minimum wage level in a region for two months from April to May.
The DSWD earlier assured the public that it is closely coordinating with the local government units (LGUs) to ensure the speedy distribution of the first tranche of the emergency subsidies.
DSWD Spokesperson Irene Dumlao said on Saturday that the distribution of the second tranche of subsidies will depend on the LGUs’ submission of their liquidation reports for the first tranche.
She noted that the LGUs in the National Capital Region (NCR), Cavite, Bulacan, Davao, and Cebu have been given a seven-day extension to finish distributing the cash aid from the first tranche, while the rest of the LGUs have been given four days.
“Tayo po ay nagtitiwala sa local na pamahalan na maipapahatid po nila itong ayuda sa kanilang nasasakupan in that particular period,” she said.
(We trust that the local governments will deliver the aid to their constituents in that particular period.)
She explained that based on DSWD guidelines, within 24 hrs upon receipt of the SAP fund, LGUs are expected to conduct payout within five to seven days; however, LGUs in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas are given seven days to conduct the subsidy distribution.
DSWD said there are 1,632 LGUs in the country.
Last week, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said the distribution of the second tranche of the emergency subsidies will not take that long, as the LGUs can start submitting their liquidation reports while their SAP payouts are still ongoing and have yet to be completed.
Under DSWD guidelines, the LGUs are required to submit the liquidation and financial reporting documents to the DSWD within 15 days from the completion of the distribution.
Among the documents that must be submitted by the LGUs to the DSWD are the report of checks (ROC) issued or report of disbursements (ROD) duly approved by the LGU accountant and approved by the local chief executive (LCE), and a copy of the official receipt for any refund of unutilized balance.
The LGUs are expected to refund all unutilized or disallowed amounts within 15 days from submission of the liquidation report, based on the guidelines.
Bautista reminded the LGUs that the second tranche of emergency subsidies will be given after the DSWD’s “full validation” of their liquidation reports.
Dumlao reiterated the DSWD’s stern warning against barangay officials who commit irregularities in implementing the SAP, amid continued reports of ghost beneficiaries and inclusion of ineligible beneficiaries.
“Based on our guidelines, the local government unit that gave cash aid to ineligible beneficiaries will be subjected to investigation by competent authorities.
“Ire-refund ng local government unit ‘yung (The local government unit will refund the) amount that was paid to the ineligible beneficiary,” she said.
She said upon investigation, administrative, civil, and/or criminal liabilities will be slapped on the erring barangay officials.
Under the guidelines, in cases of duplication in the emergency subsidy program, the family shall be disqualified from receiving the next tranche of the cash assistance.