By Genalyn Kabiling
The distribution of the second tranche of emergency subsidy to 12 million low income families has been bogged down by the “slow uploading” of beneficiaries’ information by local government units, limited state personnel, and reports of scam or fake messages.
In his latest report to Congress, President Duterte listed five “issues” that confronted the government regarding the payout of the cash grants after only 1.3 million families have so far been given aid.
The government recently started to distribute the second tranche of cash grants to qualified beneficiaries after completing 99.4 percent of the first batch of aid.
“Some of the issues encountered on the ground include: LGUs were having difficulty in submitting the list of waitlisted families because they are still in the process of validation (based on the grievances received) in order to have a clean list of eligible beneficiaries based on the first tranche,” the President said in a report released by the Palace Tuesday.
According to the President, there has been “slow uploading of Social Amelioration Card information by LGUs affecting the deduplication process of the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development).”
The government likewise received reports that some beneficiaries have fallen victim to “scam/fake messages” about the distribution of the cash grants. The beneficiaries were supposedly informed that the second tranche of subsidy was credited to their bank accounts or could be claimed in money remittance centers, Duterte said.
Another issue besetting the distribution aid to waitlisted families mentioned by the President is the limited number of social disbursing offices at the DSWD field offices. Some field personnel have also been exposed to coronavirus patients in the implementation of the aid program.
The government has distributed cash grants to 1,335,711 out of 1,387,130 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries under the second tranche. Duterte said the 4Ps beneficiaries without cash card accounts will receive their aid through conduits of the Land Bank of the Philippines.
The distribution of subsidy to 7,286,170 million non-4Ps beneficiaries is still “in process,” according to the President. “The target beneficiaries and disbursed amount for non-4Ps beneficiaries continued to be adjusted as names included in the original lists are being excluded for not being qualified,” he explained.
Around 4,625 of 3,856,707 million waitlisted families have already received their financial assistance. The payout of cash subsidy started in Benguet, La Union, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pampanga, and Bulacan this month.
The total fund allocation for the second tranche of aid is around P79.9 billion.
In the same report to Congress, the President said 17,650,872 low income families have benefited from the first tranche of the emergency subsidy program. The estimated beneficiaries of the P101-billion first tranche is around 17,946,554.
Duterte said the decrease in the beneficiaries paid was due to the amendment of the number of low-income non-4Ps families paid where some were found ineligible or disqualified specifically in Regions I and Vi.
“If excluding the 195,459 identified ineligible/disqualified non-4Ps beneficiaries from the target beneficiaries, the total will be 17,751,095 instead of 17,946,554 while the competition rate is 99.44%,” Duterte said.
The President said the government will continue to implement programs related to the coronavirus response despite the expiry of the Bayanihan law.
“We will continue our whole of government response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“Most of the programs and activities aimed at assisting our fellow Filipinos in this crisis will continue to be carried out by our various departments, agencies, and instrumentalities, in accordance with their respective mandates and to the extent consistent with existing laws and regulations,” he said.