By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday extended to May 10 the deadline for local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila to complete the distribution of the first tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) financial assistance to poor families.
“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,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a television interview.
He also ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to exempt personnel engaged in the distribution of cash aid and its recipients from curfew in their localities.
“We are now working 24/7. In fact, I have given instruction to the PNP to exempt all citizens who are going to distribution points to be exempted from curfew because all our LGUs are working all the time,” Año stressed.
Año said local government officials are already doubling their efforts to finish the distribution of cash assistance from the government.
Meanwhile, Año said that as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, a total of 985 out of 1,654 LGUs have already completed the distribution of cash assistance to qualified families.
On Tuesday, the DILG hailed 828 LGUs nationwide that have completed the payout of the first tranche of the SAP.
Of the 828 LGUs that beat the deadline on Monday, 56 are in the Cordillera Administrative Region, 38 in Ilocos Region, 31 in Cagayan Valley; 36 in Central Luzon, 63 in Calabarzon, 62 in Mimaropa, 70 in the Bicol region, 114 in Western Visayas, 52 in Central Visayas, 95 in Eastern Visayas, 71 in Zamboanga Peninsula, 17 in Northern Mindanao, 26 in Davao region, 32 in Soccsksargen, and 65 in Caraga.
Metro Manila LGUs and the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, and Cebu and Davao City were earlier given until May 7, a seven-day extension from the initial April 30 deadline, to complete the first tranche of the SAP payout.
Meanwhile, DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said 77.68 percent of the intended beneficiaries nationwide have received their SAP as of 10 p.m. Wednesday.
He said that Caraga has the highest payout rate at 99.88 percent followed by the Bicol Region at 99.51 percent and CAR at 89.26 percent.
It is followed by the Ilocos Region at 86.36 percent; Soccsksargen at 85.59 percent; Northern Mindanao at 82.26 percent; Central Luzon at 78.50 percent; Eastern Visayas at 76.05 percent; Western Visayas at 77.89 percent; Cagayan Valley at 77.39 percent; Calabarzon at 73.61 percent; Zamboanga Peninsula at 70.42 percent; MIMAROPA at 66.97 percent; Central Visayas at 62.58 percent; National Capital Region at 62.51 percent; and Davao Region at 57.87 percent.
He said that the national pay-out rate is expected to increase to 80 percent by the end of Thursday.
“That means that for every 10 low-income families, 8 would have received their emergency subsidy by the end of the day today (Thursday). That is a good number,” he said.