By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has advised senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) to instead send their representatives to claim their Social Amelioration Program (SAP) emergency subsidies during payouts.
The DSWD issued an advisory on Wednesday, May 6, in the wake of reported cases of senior citizens who died, while queuing to receive their cash assistance.
Senior citizens and PWDs have been reminded “to refrain from going out and lining-up to claim their emergency subsidy,” it said in a statement after a senior citizen died in Bulacan and Bacolod City, while waiting in line for their subsidy.
“Instead, they can send a representative to claim the cash aid if these are given through payouts,” it added. Reports said Sonny Candelara, 62, succumbed to a heart attack in Marilao, Bulacan while queuing to receive his subsidy. Another senior citizen in Bacolod City also suffered the same fate. Gualberto Hurtado, 84, collapsed and died of cardiac arrest while waiting for SAP grant.
The DSWD assured the public that families of those elderly who died during SAP payout will be given assistance. “The DSWD extended sympathies to the bereaved families of these senior citizens and ensured that their families will be given appropriate assistance,” it said.
It also reiterated its reminder to the local government units (LGUs) to have a standby ambulance with available paramedics in their respective sites of payout.
“Compliance with the stringent social distancing measures in the identified distribution points is likewise enjoined to ensure the safety of the beneficiaries,” it said.
In a virtual press briefing, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista on Tuesday asked the LGUs to dedicate an ambulance and designate paramedics to attend to emergency situations involving SAP beneficiaries.
He said the DSWD has recommended the door-to-door delivery of SAP subsidies to the elderly and PWDs following the reported deaths of some senior citizens.
The DSWD said such a recommendation was made “so they will no longer need to go out of their homes.”
Citing the protocols set by the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) under the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the country, it said persons below 21 years old and those who are above 60, as well as pregnant women and those with immunodeficiency, comorbidities, and other health risks, should remain in their residences at all times because they are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
“The existing conditions of these sectors shall likewise be taken into consideration so the queuing protocols may not cause them inconvenience or difficulty,” it said.