By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has admitted that it has “limited capacity” to fully implement the emergency subsidy program, which prodded them to ask the assistance of the local government units (LGUs) to distribute the cash subsidies under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
DSWD Spokesperson Irene Dumlao said the LGUs have been tapped to help the government in the identification of target beneficiaries and the distribution of the cash aid to 18 million low-income households because they know the profile and background of their constituents.
“Sa pagpili ng mga pamilyang maaaring makatanggap ng SAP, ang Local Government Unit ang may malaking gampanin dito, dahil kinikilala natin na sila ay mas mayroong kaalaman tungkol sa kani-kanilang mga constituents,” she told the Manila Bulletin in an interview amid criticisms that the identification of beneficiaries should have not have been given to the LGUs because the SAP payout is being politicized.
(In identifying the families who will receive the SAP, the Local Government Unit has a big role. We recognize that they are more knowledgeable about their constituents.)
The DSWD also has limited capacity to distribute the cash aid nationwide that prompted us to further strengthen our partnership with the LGUs, she said.
Dumlao said the DSWD has given the LGUs leeway on how they will identify their target SAP beneficiaries.
She noted that some LGUs have already existing database or list, while some laid down their own application process to
determine who among their constituents should be prioritized.
The official said the process of identifying the beneficiaries varies, based on their visit to the LGUs, the family went through assessment process and facilitated by Local Social Welfare Development Officer to determine their status in life. From here, the LGUs will have prioritization on who should be included in the SAP.
She assured the public that the agency is not remiss on its duty to conduct “on-the-spot validation” of the SAP beneficiaries.
Nevertheless, the DSWD has been continuously assisting the LGUs in giving the aid. We conduct on-the-spot assessment as to whether the families who received the aid are qualified based on our eligibility requirements as stipulated in the JMC No. 1, s 2020 and our Omnibus Guidelines.
She explained that based on Omnibus Guidelines, a DSWD representative can join “validation team” to conduct the on-the-spot validation to look into the reported complaints. The on-the-spot validation also involves name-matching/crossmatching, community validation or verification, she added.
Section VIII (C) of our Omnibus Guidelines, it is stipulated that the “validation team must verify the details on the spot to determine their eligibility,” Dumlao said.
The DSWD staff will make a note on the SAC form if the beneficiary is for further validation. In this way, we are not limiting the definition of validation because this encourages that all observations from the ongoing payouts will be noted, she added.
Dumlao said the poorest of the poor or the families with monthly income lower than P10,000 must be prioritized in the SAP.
“If you observe, the word “indigent” has been given emphasis because we will give them the highest priority.”
She said families shall be qualified to receive the SAP if one or more members of their households belong to the following sectors: indigent senior citizen, person with disability, employees in the informal sector (which include no work, no pay; occasional workers; transportation group; operator of sari-sari stores; farmers; fisherfolk; and indigent indigenous people.
In cases of individuals who are renters, she noted the LGUs through city social welfare and development office have been taking care of them and are determining whether their families are included in the SAP.
She said the SAP is for families and this should not be given to an individual.
Under the DSWD Omnibus Guidelines, families shall be excluded from receiving emergency subsidy if any of their members are:
Elected and appointed government officials such as permanent, contractual, casual, coterminous or personnel contracted (under Memorandum of Agreement, Cost of Service, Job Order, and other similar arrangement/s) in any National Government Agency, Government-owned and Controlled Corporation, 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 GOCC without original charters, regardless of the existence of employee-employer relationship, and regardless of the fact that they are receiving salary or wage; retired individuals who are receiving pension; and families with independent financial capacity.
Based on the Omnibus Guidelines in the implementation of the SAP, the identified personnel of the LGU will conduct a house-to-house distribution of the SAC forms, which shall be manually accomplished by the head of the family.
The SAC forms shall be given to non-Pantawid Pamilya target beneficiaries, and “be used as verification and monitoring tool for the subsequent payouts”, it said.
The guidelines provide that should there be multiple families in a single household or residence, each head of the family shall execute his or her own SAC form for his or her family.
The barangay personnel, together with a validation team from any of the representatives of the LGUs – Province/City/Municipality, DSWD, DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) , PNP (Philippine National Police) or AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) shall collect the accomplished SAC forms and verify the details on the spot to determine the eligibility; and the LGU shall prepare the payroll for the payout,” based on the omnibus guidelines.
Under the guidelines, the LGUs are required to submit the budget proposals to the Field Office along with the signed memorandum of agreement.
As of May 2, a total of 284 LGUs or 17.38 percent of the total 1,632 LGUs in the country already completed the distribution of SAP emergency subsidies in their respective areas.
Among the LGUs that recorded 100-percent SAP payout are San Miguel, Bulacan; Abra de Ilog, and Rizal in Occidental Mindoro; Busuanga, Palawan; Baco, Gloria and Pinamalayan in Oriental Mindoro; Ligao City, Jovellar, and Libon in Albay; Casawayan, Esperanza, Baleno, Uson, and Pio V. Corpuz in Masbate; San Vicente in Camarines Norte; Bagamanoc and Gigmoto in Catanduanes; Casiguran, Barcelona and Sorsogon City in Sorsogon; and Siruma, Bombon, Ragay, Garchitorena, Ocampo, Tigaon, Presentacion, Goa, San Fernando, Magarao, Pamplona, Pili, Lupi, Sagñay, Iriga City and Gainza in Camarines Sur.