DSWD heeds appeals of SAP beneficiaries

Published May 4, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chito Chavez

Public policy think tank Infrawatch said on Monday that it has come to the aid of the qualified beneficiaries deprived of the financial assistance under the social amelioration program (SAP) administered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon/ FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN
Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon/ FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN

The group has filed 50 appeals on behalf of at least 50 families who reportedly have not received or claim to have been denied their share of cash relief from the SAP.

“As of today, we have submitted at least 50 SAP appeals coursed through the DSWD grievance system, in which 50 low income families may stand to receive at least P400,000 in cash assistance. Among those that sought our help, at least five families have already been confirmed to be eligible to receive SAP funds,” said Infrawatch PH convenor and former Kabataan partylist Rep. Terry Ridon.

Ridon said his group responded to the President’s call last week to help low income families that have not yet received any cash aid during the coronavirus crisis.

“The appeals are based on facts that these families are actually qualified under SAP rules, but were disqualified for various reasons. These include disqualifying unregistered voters in an area, senior citizens too weak to sign up at the barangay halls, solo parents failing to get IDs in time, lactating mothers that lost their ultrasound reports, distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) staying in agency apartments. All of these are qualified SAP cases but never found its way to the beneficiary list,” Ridon revealed.

Ridon said the appeals were made on behalf of families in Cebu, Pangasinan and in the National Capital Region (NCR).

He explained that Infrawatch discovered that responsible officials in different localities were confused on who were really eligible to benefit from SAP.

“Many local authorities disqualified construction workers and insisted that they receive assistance from the labor department. But SAP rules also state that cash assistance should benefit low income employees affected by the no work, no pay policy. In fact, many of these construction workers could not even be deemed employees, but directly contracted occasional workers, which is one of the SAP qualifications,” Ridon argued.

He noted that there was no let-up in individuals and families seeking SAP reconsideration.

“We continue to have a backlog of at least 50 more appeals for submission this week, which does not include more than a hundred new queries. What low income families need now is firm guidance on how to make sure that truly qualified families are not left behind,” Ridon added.

Ridon urged other volunteer groups to initiate similar appeal mechanisms in their communities.

“Due to the confusion on the ground, it is imperative that we help the poor navigate the specific rules on qualifications. The disqualified families deserve another look by the DSWD if they can demonstrate clearly their eligibility,” he added.

Ridon said the DSWD and its other partner agencies have been accommodating their submissions.

“The initiative was coordinated through another lawmaker who endorsed us to DSWD officials. The coordination was very effective. In fact, we had to recall one appeal for a jeepney driver because the LTFRB, through Board Member Ronaldo Corpus, had informed us that the driver is confirmed to be on the subsequent list of beneficiaries,” he noted.

Ridon said his group plans to submit more SAP appeals to the DSWD in the coming days.

“We trust that our formal appeals will be considered by the DSWD, which are based on their own SAP guidelines,” the former lawmaker concluded.