Barbers: SAP implementation was a failure

Published June 8, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellson Quismorio

A House leader said Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s criticism of certain agencies, most notably the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in the problematic distribution of cash aid under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), was warranted.

Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (YouTube / MANILA BULLETIN)
Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (YouTube / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Yes, I agree with Speaker Alan. Palpak ang DSWD implementation [ng SAP] (The DSWD’s implementation of SAP was a failure),” Committee on Dangerous Drugs chairman, Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Barbers said Monday.

Barbers was referring to Cayetano’s speech just before the sine die adjournment of the House of Representatives last Friday when the latter expressed some frustration over the distribution of the emergency cash assistance.

“I go back to President Duterte’s consistency. Those of you, those of us who knew the President before he became President, his policy is simple: Don’t let the people wait, deliver service promptly. That’s still his policy as President. He always tells us, no red tape, no corruption,” the Speaker said.

But Barbers, like Cayetano, said it was red tape or unnecessary bureaucracy within the agencies that gave SAP beneficiaries such a hard time.

“Masyadong mahaba at marami ang dinadaanan. In other words, walang sistema (The process was too long and tedious. In other words, there was no system),” he said.

The SAP is one of the key features of Republic Act (RA) No. 11469, the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. Under the program, some 18 million low-income families were supposed to get P5,000 to P8,000, depending on the region, per month for two months (April and May) as assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of lending its ear to the experienced members of Congress and local government officials, the DSWD, which had been tasked to prepare the list of beneficiaries, chose to listen to its regional directors, “many of whom do not possess experience in problems of this magnitude,” said Cayetano.

“The original sin of not coming up with a better list spiraled into many problems,” he said.

“So, to the different departments, let me make it clear: we are your allies, we will work with you. But let me also make it clear: do not confuse our kindness with weakness,” said the Speaker.

If Barbers would have his way, he would prefer that all 18 million households identified by the DSWD to receive cash aid sans all the needless scrutiny.

“Wala nang iimbestighan pa kung may anak na OFW (overseas Filipino worker), kung semento ang bahay, kung may trabaho (No need to investigate whether or not they have an OFW relative, if their house is made out of cement, if they have a job). Everybody is a victim of COVID, so everybody deserves support from the national government,” he said.