DILG, DSWD set ‘ayuda’ guidelines for NCR+ residents

Published April 1, 2021, 3:33 PM

by Chito Chavez

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have issued the guidelines on the P1,000 “ayuda” or cash aid that indigent individuals in “NCR-plus” are entitled to amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Residents queue up to enter a market in Manila on March 28, 2021.

In a statement Thursday, April 1, the DILG bared that each family can receive a maximum amount of P 4,000 in financial assistance, or four persons with a P1,000-cash aid each.

DILG officer-in-charge (OIC) Bernardo Florece Jr, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued joint memorandum circular (JMC) no. 1, series of 2021 dated March 31, 2021 “to serve as guidelines in the distribution of financial assistance after President Duterte approved the release of P22.9 billion to affected individuals.’’

“As we pray this Holy Week that this COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic will finally end, we also take care of providing for the basic needs of affected low-income families during this ECQ,” said DILG Usec. Jonathan Malaya.

Under the JMC, all local government units (LGUs) were directed to determine through an Executive Order the most effective and efficient way of releasing the assistance to their constituents in 15 calendars days upon receipt of the funds if the assistance is in cash, and within 30 calendar days if the assistance is in kind.

Malaya explained that it is up to the LGUs to decide if the assistance will be given in kind or in cash, provided that the aid is delivered to the qualified recipients in the soonest time possible.

“The mayors will need to issue an Executive Order detailing therein the type, manner, and process of distribution. After the issuance of the EO, they can start the distribution,” he added.

The NCR-plus composed of the NCR (National Capital Region), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal is currently under a week-long enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which began on Monday, March 29.

Under the JMC, the priority target beneficiaries of the financial assistance are low-income individuals and those working in informal economies who were beneficiaries of the first tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP); additional beneficiaries in SAP 2; SAP wait-listed beneficiaries; and those belonging to vulnerable groups such as low-income individuals living alone, persons with disabilities (PWD), solo parents, and the like.

Malaya noted that the LGUs may give assistance to other individuals affected by the ECQ provided that funds are still available.

Under the agreement, the DSWD will provide the LGUs with the complete list of previous SAP beneficiaries which will serve as reference in determining the individuals who will be granted cash aid in their respective localities.

Unlike the previous practice wherein the list of SAP beneficiaries was posted afterwards, Malaya emphasized that the concerned city/municipal mayors, and punong barangays should first post the approved names and barangay/district of the target beneficiaries before actual distribution.

The list shall be posted on the LGUs’ official website, social media accounts, and at conspicuous places in the community to foster greater transparency and accountability.

Malaya assured the public that safeguards are in place to ensure that the funds will get to the intended beneficiaries. He also said that there would be an appeals mechanism in the LGU where people can submit their complaints.

“We will make sure that the funds downloaded to the LGUs are used for purposes they were intended for.

“Before distribution, the mayor should issue an executive order detailing therein the type, manner or process of distribution so that the public is properly guided. They are also required to create a Grievance and Appeals Committee per LGU where people can submit complaints,” Malaya said.