Cayetano, House leaders seek probe of DSWD for delays in SAP aid distribution

Published June 16, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Ben Rosario

Leaders of the House of Representatives on Tuesday called for a congressional inquiry into the confusion and delays in the distribution of cash assistance to sectors most vulnerable to the adverse effects of the COVID 19 pandemic.

House speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
House speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the agency tasked to implement the Social Amelioration Program, will be at the center of the investigation sought under House Resolution No. 923 filed by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and other key officials of the Lower House.

Authors of the resolution said the DSWD should be assisted in finding ways to improve the system of distribution and helping out Filipinos reeling from the effects of the viral plague.

In his speech at the adjournment of the First Regular Session, Cayetano agreed that problems were expected in the implementation of the Bayanihan as One Law considering the scale and novel nature of the crisis.

However, the House leader noted that “there were problems in the implementation that are inexcusable.”

“The general principle espoused by the President in the distribution of aid is that the 18 million Filipinos who are most vulnerable to the adverse effects of the COVID 19 pandemic and the community quarantine must get the resources at the fastest possible time with the least number of requirements and regulations,” authors of HR 923 stressed.

Instead, the lawmakers noted that what unfolded was a virtual trial and error right from the very outset of the SAP implementation.

According to them complaints have been aired by various sectors over the requirement of filling out (social amelioration card (SAC) forms which they described as “long, tedious and intimidating” to accomplish.

“The issuance of four MC’s (memorandum circulars) in a span of five (5) days, in addition to the prescription of a 30-step procedure caused confusion to LGUs and the intended recipients, thereby unnecessarily exacerbating the mental anguish and serious anxiety they have experienced as a result of the pandemic,” the House officials lamented.

They also recalled that congressmen, including Cayetano, had repeatedly called on the DSWD to review the guidelines for distribution of SAC. They also appealed for closer coordination with other concerned government agencies by sharing critical information.

The suggestions aimed at streamlining the process of identification, recording and distribution were apparently ignored by the DSWD, the House leaders noted.

The DSWD, authors of HR 923 insisted, failed to observe the “principles and directives” set forth by Duterte to expedite the distribution of assistance to the public.

Aside from Cayetano, other authors of the proposed congressional inquiry are Deputy Speakers Dan Fernandez (NUP, Laguna); Raneo Abu (NP, Batangas); Luis Raymund Villafuerte (NP, Camarines Sur) and Neptali Gonzales II (NUP, Mandaluyong City), together with Reps. Manuel Luis Lopez (PDP-Laban, Manila); and Abraham Tolentino (PDP-Laban, Cavite).