‘Special ayuda’ on the way to over 1 million ECQ-affected families, individuals in Visayas, Mindanao- DSWD

Published July 26, 2021, 10:59 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

More than one million individuals and families affected by the imposition of localized lockdowns in Visayas and Mindanao are expected to receive “special” cash assistance from the government, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced on Monday, July 26.

Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (left), Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista (center), and Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano (right) present the signed guidelines for the implementation of financial assistance to local government units under enhanced community quarantine in Visayas and Mindanao. (Photo from DSWD)

The DSWD announced the provision of cash assistance to areas placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), more than six hours before President Duterte physically delivers his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa.

“Individuals and families affected by the localized lockdowns in Visayas and Mindanao areas are set to receive aid,” it said in a statement on Monday.

The provision of “special” financial assistance was made possible after the DSWD, along with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of National Defense (DND), signed on July 25 the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2, Series of 2021 or the implementing guidelines for the aid distribution to local government units (LGUs) under ECQ.

“An estimate of more than one million affected individuals and families in Iloilo Province including Iloilo City; Cagayan de Oro City, and Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental, will receive P1,000 cash assistance for each member with a maximum amount of P4,000 per family through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) of the DSWD,” the DSWD said.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista expressed gratitude to the DILG and DILG for being one with the department in ensuring that necessary assistance will be extended to Filipinos in need during this pandemic, especially the families in Iloilo City, Iloilo Province; Cagayan de Oro City and in Gingoog, Misamis Oriental.

Based JMC No. 2, the target beneficiaries of the “special AICS” are the following:

-Families who were previous recipients of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) under Bayanihan 1 and additional beneficiaries of emergency subsidy under Bayanihan 2;

-Individuals belonging to vulnerable groups, such as individuals living alone, senior citizens or Persons with Disability (PWD); and

-Others who have been stranded by reason of employment in the province, city, or municipality under ECQ.

Under the JMC, “the target beneficiaries, at the time of the declaration of the ECQ, must be physically residing, either temporarily or permanently, or who are still in the ECQ areas.”

The government’s cash assistance will only be given to affected individuals and families, who are suffering from the economic disruption brought about by the declaration of a localized ECQ in their area.

The DSWD vowed to assist the LGUs by providing the list of beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP). The SAP list will serve as reference for LGUs in identifying the final list of beneficiaries to be granted assistance in their respective localities.

The implementing guidelines encouraged the LGUs to post on their official websites, social media accounts, and at conspicuous places in the concerned barangays the list of approved beneficiaries, prior to actual distribution.

“LGUs are expected to release the assistance in cash to the beneficiaries and conduct the distribution of financial assistance within 15 days from receipt of funds transferred by the DSWD.”

The JMC directed the LGUs to create their own Grievance and Appeals Committee to receive and address complaints or grievances.

It also provides for the creation of a Joint Monitoring and Inspection Committee (JMIC) to provide technical assistance to the concerned LGUs and to monitor their compliance with the provisions of the JMC and the Special AICS Guidelines of the DSWD.

The DSWD said the distribution of the special AICS is an additional assistance on top of the provision of Family Food Packs to help ease the socio-economic effects of the pandemic, most especially for Filipinos living in areas under ECQ.