By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA: Some 75 percent of low-income households have already received the cash aid from the national government under the social amelioration program (SAP), Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said only 25 percent of the first tranche of emergency subsidies have yet to be distributed to SAP beneficiaries.
“Sa SAP po, 75 percent na po ang naibigay sa taumbayan. So sa original na first tranche po, 25 percent na lang (About 75 percent of SAP subsidies have already been given to the intended beneficiaries. Only 25 percent of the first tranche of the cash aid have yet to be distributed),” Roque said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.
Under the PHP200-billion SAP, the local government units (LGUs), in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), are mandated to distribute the emergency subsidies, ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP8,000, to poor families affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The LGUs were initially told to complete the payout on April 30.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), however, gave LGUs in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Cebu City, and Davao City another seven days or until May 7 to finish the distribution of cash assistance to low-income households.
On Thursday, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año extended to May 10 the deadline for the distribution of the first tranche in “some other areas” of Metro Manila.
“Metro Manila is a populous region. We have to give them some additional days. I’ll be extending the deadline up to May 10 for some other areas. It depends on their efforts,” Año said in a television interview.
The national government initially planned to distribute cash aid to 18 million poor households, but the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases recently agreed to grant financial assistance to an additional five million families.
The total number of SAP beneficiaries is now 23 million.
Roque said SAP beneficiaries who will not receive the emergency subsidies may report erring LGUs to DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño.
“Iparating niyo po kay Undersecretary Diño ang inyong reklamo (Inform Undersecretary Diño about your complaint),” he said.
The LGUs have so far disbursed PHP58.472 billion out of the PHP80.266 billion downloaded to them by the DSWD for the implementation of the SAP.
Some 9.824 million families have already received the emergency subsidies from LGUs.
The DSWD said it has begun posting the list of the names of the SAP beneficiaries on the websites of its field offices (FOs) to promote transparency.
The public may easily access the FO websites through dswd.gov.ph.
On Monday, Malacañang announced that President Rodrigo Duterte would give a PHP30,000 cash reward to each individual who can name public officials involved in the anomalous distribution of emergency subsidies.
The second tranche of cash aid will only be released after the submission of the LGUs’ liquidation reports.