Over 1M families living in Iloilo, CDO, other ECQ areas in provinces to receive P4K ayuda

Published July 31, 2021, 3:13 PM

by Chito Chavez

More than one million families living in areas placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the provinces will receive P4,000 cash assistance each to help them battle the adverse effects of lockdown measures amid the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

These areas include Iloilo Province, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro City and Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental, according to the joint guidelines issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Social Welfare and development (DSWD).

Under the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2 serie of 2021 dated July 15, the financial assistance shall be released by the DSWD to cities and municipalities that were placed under ECQ to provide economic relief to the affected families.

Each qualified family will receive P1,000 per member with a maximum amount of P4,000 per family.

The joint directive was signed by DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, and Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

“The financial assistance must be used exclusively by the concerned LGUs for the provision of such assistance and must in no way be used for any unauthorized program, project, or activity,” said Año.

The guidelines also state that the concerned local government unit (LGUs) shall release the assistance in cash to their constituents within 15 days from receipt of transferred funds.

“We leave it to the LGUs, however, to identify the type, manner, and process of distribution of the assistance which shall be stipulated in the memorandum of agreement that they will forge with DSWD in accordance with DSWD’s Special AICS guidelines,” he added.

The DILG chief also noted that “LGUs are also required to submit a complete liquidation report within 60 days from the last day of distribution of the financial assistance and to refund unused/unclaimed funds.

He directed the LGUs to closely coordinate with the DSWD, DILG field offices, Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or other government agencies on the necessary support that they need to ensure the smooth and efficient distribution of the cash aid.

Target beneficiaries

Under the guidelines, the target beneficiaries are those who are adversely affected by the economic disruption, including individuals belonging to vulnerable groups, such as individuals living alone, senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD) and individuals and families whose employment and livelihood have been affected by the ECQ including those who have been stranded by the ECQ.

“At the time of the ECQ, the beneficiaries must be physically residing, either permanently or temporarily, or who are still found in the province, city or municipality under ECQ for them to qualify for the AICS cash assistance,” Año stressed.

He urged the concerned city/municipal mayors to fast-track the identification, validation, and certification of eligible beneficiaries and to ensure that the list has undergone duplicate checking for efficient fund distribution.

Año noted that “the list of beneficiaries must be posted on the LGU’s official website, social media accounts and at conspicuous places in the concerned barangays and contain the given, middle and last names of the target recipients and their barangay and district prior to the actual payout schedule.’’

Grievance and Appeals Committee

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said that the concerned city/municipal mayor shall create a Grievance and Appeals Committee down to the barangay level if necessary.

Likewise, a Joint Monitoring and Inspection Committee (JMIC) shall be established under the leadership of the DILG Field Officer to advise and monitor LGU compliance to the provisions of the JMC and MOA on cash aid distribution.

He emphasized that the LGUs must submit to their DILG Regional Offices and the DSWD field offices a daily report on the status of the financial assistance distribution.

As the distribution of the aid is subject to accounting and auditing rules and regulations of the Commission on Audit (COA), Malaya said the signatory local chief executive (LCE) and other responsible officials of the LGU shall be held criminally, civilly and administratively liable for any irregularity, unlawful practices, undue delay or systemic anomalies in the distribution of the cash aid. (Chito A. Chavez)