By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday urged the government to use the Community-based Monitoring System (CBMS) Law to expedite the delivery of social amelioration program (SAP) to the rightful beneficiaries.
Gatchalian said the CBMS law, Republic Act No. 11315, will help ensure a faster and easier identification of beneficiaries for SAP. The data gathered through CBMS can be utilized by the national government and local government units (LGUs) in implementing focused and targeted welfare assistance.
It will also help policy makers and program implementers to have a comprehensive picture of the different dimensions of poverty and identify and implement appropriate interventions, the senator added.
“Sa batas na ito, mas magiging mabilis ang koordinasyon mula sa mga barangay ng bawat lokal na pamahalaan (With this law, there will be faster coordination from the barangay to each LGU),” Gatchalian said.
“Bawat barangay at munisipalidad katuwang dito kaya synchronized ang galaw, (each barangay and municipality will be helping each other that’s why their movements are synchronized),” Gatchalian said.
The CBMS Law, which Gatchalian co-authored, establishes a monitoring system that collects information on all households in the community that is LGU-based, starting at the barangay level.
Under the law, it is the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) that is tasked to lead as the implementing agency, while the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), is mandated to develop data-sharing arrangements between government agencies.
Also under the law, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is tasked to disseminate information relating to activities of the CBMS.
Gatchalian, vice chairman of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, said he is still disappointed over the slow-paced distribution of the SAP, noting that as of April 30, only 57 percent or 10.3 million families out of the 18 million targeted families for the program have been served.
Lawmakers had earlier prodded the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the COVID-19 crisis to carry out the national ID system or Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) to facilitate the quick release and distribution of the SAP funds but the lack of standards and budget stalled its implementation.
Gatchalian said the national government should, therefore, fast track the issuance of a set of standards and guidelines for the CBMS Law and utilize all available COVID-19-related budget, such as the P1.49-trillion total budget of the administration’s economic recovery plan ‘Four-Pillar Socioeconomic Strategy Against COVID-19’.
The lawmaker pointed out that the emergency support for vulnerable groups and individuals falls under Pillar 1, which has an initial budget estimate of P590-billion.
“Nakalipas na ang isang taon mula nang maisabatas ang CBMS pero hanggang ngayon ay naghihintay pa rin tayo sa mga panuntunan kung papaano ipapatupad ito (It’s been a year since the CBMS was enacted into law, but until now we are still waiting for the guidelines on how this should be implemented),” Gatchalian lamented.
“This is yet another wasted opportunity on the part of the government to maximize the potential of the new law, which could have been used for the seamless distribution of relief to many Filipinos during the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.