The upsurge of Delta variant cases of the coronavirus disease (COVD-19) in Metro Manila may slow down the distribution of the cash assistance to the residents who are severely affected by the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), said the ayuda (cash assistance) distribution process is very challenging with the Local Government Units (LGUs) having to identify the distribution sites and authorized disbursement officers to handle the funds.
“The Delta variant is also a big concern as the LGUs have to assure that no crowd clustering will occur,” said Malaya,
“Most importantly, dapat siguraduhin na may cash (in the banks) para masimulan ang pamimigay ng ayuda. Itong preparasyon ng LGUs (the availability of cash should be assured to start the ayuda distribution. This preparation of the LGUs) takes some time),’’ Malaya added.
In the August 7 and 8 meetings, Malaya stated that the DILG informed the Metro Manila mayors that the funds for the cash aid were downloaded to them and are ready for distribution.
He noted that the NCR mayors agreed to simultaneously start the ayuda distribution on August 11. The DILG and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will monitor the distribution.
“Base sa ipinalabas na joint memorandum circular (JMC) ng DSWD, DILG and DND (Department of National Defense), may 15 days ang LGU na tapusin ang pamamigay ng ayuda (Based on issued joint memorandum circular of the DSWD, DILG and DND, the LGus have 15 days to complete their cash aid distribution),’’ he added.
However, Malaya said that DILG Secretary Eduardo Año and DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista acceded to the LGUs’ possible requests for the extension of the ayuda distribution in case they do not meet the deadline citing that mass gatherings are prohibited with physical distancing being maintained in the dispensing financial assistance.
In the issued JMC, Malaya disclosed that the cash aid distribution should be done in the most efficient way within 15 days starting from the day the LGUs begin the process citing Makati City which will do it through money transfer service specifically G-Cash.
On concerns about the fraudulent social amelioration program (SAP) disbursement, Malaya said that cases were already filed before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Prosecutors’ Office against the barangay officials allegedly involved in the unlawful ayuda distribution.
With the national government’s fourth cash assistance, Malaya said there were no reports of corruption anymore in the succeeding monetary aid distribution for the low-income individuals.
He disclosed that there were minor reports of corruption in the April financial assistance disbursement with the barangay officials knowing pretty well of the consequences they will face for any misdeeds in the ayuda distribution. (Chito A. Chavez)