Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday hit the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for its slow distribution of the second tranche of cash aid to low-income households.
In an online interview with reporters, Gatchalian said the government's Social Amelioration Program (SAP) could be "the fastest way" to address the involuntary hunger that families experience due to the pandemic.
A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey estimated 5.2 million Filipino families experienced hunger in the past three months. This was the highest hunger incidence SWS recorded since 2014.
"To be honest about it, isa sa mga underperfoming agencies ay itong DSWD dahil ang bola nasa kamay na nila, pagdating sa pag-eexecute ng SAP, hanggang ngayon wala pa rin. (DSWD is one of the underperforming agencies, because the ball is already in their hands on the SAP's execution, but until now it is not yet completed)," he lamented.
The legislator said he spoke with local government officials who complained about the delay in the DSWD's implementation of the second round of the subsidy program, which was mandated under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act that lapsed last month.
The local leaders supposedly cited errors in database, recurring paperworks and the agency's alleged lack of coordination with local government units.