By Chito Chavez and Vanne Terrazola
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday ordered all local government units (LGU) to submit on or before May 21 the names of five million households that were excluded in the first tranche of the cash aid distribution under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
The list must be submitted to the DILG and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which will validate the roster.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año assured that the qualified families that were left out in the first wave will be included in the second wave of the cash assistance.
Año explained that those “left out or wait-listed households” are low-income families who are not recipients of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) and who were not included in the initial 18 million households that benefited from the first tranche of SAP financial assistance.
The DSWD initially identified some 18 million families as low-income families based on the 2015 survey.
But the LGUs said the number has ballooned, giving barangay officials a hard time including the qualified recipients in the initial list.
Complaints against barangay officials who excluded families in the list of beneficiaries were many.
In a Memorandum Circular, Año directed all the Local Chief Executives (LCEs) to immediately determine and identify the low-income households and submit to the DILG Regional Offices and the DSWD field offices on or before May 21 the list of households excluded in the first tranche. Año said the initial list of qualified low-income families will be prepared by the barangays and included in the roster regardless of their length of stay. The list must be posted in conspicuous places in the community and on its social media platforms for public viewing and access.
Those with complaints about the initial list prepared by the barangay may appeal their case with the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office or with their respective mayors.
If no action is taken, the complainant may raise their concern with the DSWD.
In the same Memo Circular, Año clarified that the said list “shall in no way be construed as the final list of beneficiaries which shall still be subject to further validation by the DSWD.”
Año warned barangay officials against committing nefarious activities in the distribution of the second tranche of financial assistance as the DILG will run after them and have them locked up in jail.
The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group has filed criminal charges against 23 barangay officials over anomalies related to the distribution of cash assistance.
Release the remaining P100B
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Tuesday called on the government to release the remaining P100 billion allocation for the social amelioration program (SAP) so it can continue assisting indigent families.
“Klaro sa records ng debate iyon (The records of our debates were clear), that it should be given in two installments and is not linked to the quarantine status of the place,” Recto said.
“Hindi sinabi doon na kapag downgraded na ang quarantine (The law did not say that if quarantine was downgraded), we abort the grant of scheduled aid,” he added.
“The lifting of the lockdown does not give the government the excuse to end the assistance,” Recto said.
In President Duterte’s eighth report to Congress on the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act on Monday, May 18, a total of P100.62 billion has been disbursed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to local government units for the distribution of the P5,000 to P8,000 cash assistance to 18 million low-income households, including beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Of the amount, some P96.03 billion have been received by 17 million beneficiaries.
Section 4(c) of Republic Act No. 11469 provides an emergency subsidy to around 18 million low income households, with an amount ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 a month for two months.
The executive department later decided to add five million more beneficiaries to the program, but discontinued the grant in areas under general community quarantine due to depleting funds.
“The first tranche will cover the first month of the quarantine. Sixty days na ang lockdown kaya tama lang ‘yung two months na ayuda (It has been 60 days since the lockdown was imposed so it is just proper that the cash assistance be given for two months),” Recto said.
“Kaya mayroon pang balanse na kalahati, mga P100 bilyon. Kung two gives, bigay na kaagad yung other half. Lalo ngayon na mayroon nang listahan,” he added.
Instead of “shrinking the SAP, the challenge is how to expand it, on how to include the new poor,” Recto said.
“This would be the 10 million Filipinos ‘in the middle of the middle income bracket’ whose maximum subsistence capacity of four to six months is nearing empty,” he said.
The executive department is seeking Congress’ help in looking for more funds for the continued roll out of the subsidy program.