Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has issued a strong reminder to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to prioritize and ensure the delivery of various government social services to the poor and vulnerable sectors around country.
Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, issued the call in yesterday’s budget hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Finance to discuss the proposed budget of the department, its supervised and attached agencies for fiscal year 2021.
Go, who is one of the vice chairmen of the committee, expressed full support for the proposed budget and stressed the importance of DSWD and the work it does to deliver critical social services to Filipinos throughout the country amid the challenges encountered in the distribution of financial assistance to Filipinos affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
With P171.221 billion proposed to be allocated for the DSWD and its attached and supervised agencies for 2021, Go urged its leaders to ensure that every peso goes directly to the less fortunate, most especially in these trying times.
He expressed his gratitude to the department for its efforts to facilitate the nationwide distribution of COVID-19 cash aid under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
Go said he recognizes that the ongoing public health crisis and quarantine measures had made the process difficult.
He, however, maintained that challenges such as these must not prevent the department from fulfilling its mandate to serve the poor and vulnerable.
Despite delays and amid the economic hardships, Go was heartened by the fact that many honest Filipinos came forward to return the money that is not intended for them.
“At ako naman po, sa handling ninyo ng Social Amelioration Program, kahit matagal, gaya ng sinabi ko, talagang ‘yung second round ninyo po ay dapat mapunta doon sa pinaka-nangangailangan, wala pong pambili ng pagkain. Basta importante, ‘yung mga mahihirap ang makatanggap,’’ Go stressed. (With your handling of the Social Amelioration Program, though it might be delayed, the second round should really go to the most in need, they have no money to buy food. It is important that the poor will receive it.)
“Mayroon namang nadodoble, balita ko, may nakakatanggap ng doble. At marami naman pong Pilipino ‘yung honest at nagbalik po ng SAP dahil doble natanggap nila. Ang importante po ay ginamit nila ito pambili ng pagkain, ‘wag lang po isugal at ‘wag lang po ipambili ng droga,’’ he added. (I learned that some received double. And many honest Filipinos returned it after receiving twice, What is important is that they used the money to buy food, not for gambling or to buy drugs.)
Go reiterated his full support and gratitude to the DSWD for the work that they do.
“Pinapaalala ko din sa lahat na i-prioritize po natin ang kapakanan ng ating kapwa lalo na ngayong krisis. Magtulungan tayo. Magbayanihan po tayo para maiwasan natin ang hindi pagkakaunawaan at para magkaisa ang ating bansa sa panahong it,’’ he explained. (I am reminding everybody to prioritize the welfare of our fellowmen especially now that we’re in a crisis. Let’s help each other so could avoid misunderstanding and have unity of the nation amid the pandemic.)
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the national government was directed to implement a multi-billion-peso cash subsidy program for poor families, including the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, who were expected to receive the brunt of the economic difficulties triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.