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  • DSWD Secretary Addresses Problems With Amelioration Program: 'Walang Perfect Na Sistema'

    He said the agency will be able to help more households if families are validated properly.
    by Kitty Elicay .
  • Amidst problems and complaints surrounding the government’s social amelioration program (SAP), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista maintained that their agency has a credible list of beneficiaries and that they were able to funnel the money to field offices for implementation at the local government unit (LGU)-level.

    “Nung dumating ang 100 billion [para sa] cash amelioration program, in a matter of 3 to 5 days, naibaba ang kaukulang ayuda for 4Ps members. Hindi po tayo masyadong nagkaroon ng problema dahil we have a credible list maintained by DSWD,” Bautista said during a briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte and fellow cabinet secretaries that aired midnight of Thursday, April 9, 2020.

    “Kasunod rin po nun ay nagpayout rin po tayo sa mga transport group beneficiaries. Nakuha lang po natin ito ng dalawa o tatlong araw. Ibig sabihin po nito, from April 3 to April 7 nakuha po nating bayaran ang mga beneficiary/transport groups,” he added.

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    The SAP is a cash assistance program for low-income households affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469), the DSWD is mandated to provide aid to vulnerable sectors throughout the enhanced community quarantine.

    In a Facebook post, the DSWD said that the target beneficiaries for SAP are low-income households with family members who are working in the informal sector (i.e. drivers or construction workers) or are part of the vulnerable sector.

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    Beneficiaries of the SAP will receive an amount between Php5,000 to Php8,000 depending on the minimum wage in that region.

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    Bautista said that 80 million pesos was distributed to DSWD field offices for distribution to LGUs. However, they encountered problems because the list of individuals who would be getting the cash aid was not available.

    “Ang ineexpect namin na ang LGU, they have the profiles, the names, the work, and other livelihood activities ng kanilang mga nasasakupan. Dahil hindi rin nila masyadong kabisado [at may] kakulangan sa listahan, dito na po nagkaroon ng problema,” Bautista said.

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    He added that this is the first time they have encountered this kind of situation. “Masasabi kong walang perfect na sistema. As we continue to engage the LGU municipal city social welfare development offices, we are able to identify what are the gaps and the shortcomings. Hopefully, in due time we will be able to distribute the cash amelioration systematically and [in an] orderly [manner],” Bautista said.

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    SAP is for families

    Bautista also clarified in the briefing that the cash assistance is intended per family and will be given to household heads, which is why they are asked to complete their profiles. (Read how to fill up a social amelioration card here.)

    The cards will be used to verify the different kinds of aids being given to families. “May mga pagkakataon na ang isang miyembro ng pamilya ay beneficiary rin ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Agriculture, o Department of Trade and Industry. Magiging problema kapag hindi navalidate ang isang pamilya [dahil] magkakaroon ng duplikasyon ng mga benepisyong ibibigay sa kanya,” Bautista explained.

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    “Ano po ang magiging epekto nito? Mababawasan po ang mga [beneficiary] dahil ang

    isang pamilya ay makakatanggap ng, kung hindi nabantayan, isa, dalawa o tatlong ayuda sa ibat-ibang ahensiya,” Bautista said, adding that the agency will be able to help more households if families are validated properly.

    Bautista earlier identified that more than 18 million families are in need of cash assistance. However, Metro Manila mayors have also raised the issue that hundreds of thousands of families in their respective cities have been left out of the program.

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    DOLE also offers financial aid for affected workers during the enhanced community quarantine. Click here to learn how to apply. For more stories on COVID-19, click here.

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