MANILA - The Department of Social Welfare and Development is pushing to give P15,000 cash assistance to vendors and other small-store owners whose livelihoods were affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Ang atin pong tina-target dito [ang] informal sector. Yung mga kababayan nating nagtitinda sa mga palengke. Yun pong mga nagtitinda ng gulay-gulay, mga sari-sari store. (We are targeting the informal sector for this. Those who are selling in the markets. Those who are selling vegetables, and [owners] of sari-sari stores.)
We have already oriented our local government units for this particular program. So they are ready now, hintay lang po kami ng pondo para po makapag-start na kami immediately, (We will just wait for funds so we could start this immediately.” DSWD Undersecretary Restituto Macuto said in a Senate hearing on the agency's budget, Tuesday.
Applicants will be assessed whether they are capable of running a small-scale business, and that if their current business had been affected by the pandemic.
For the funds, the agency is planning to allocate the unspent P10 billion in the second tranche of the social amelioration program - the cash aid of the government to the poorest of families during the pandemic.
However, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the funds should explicitly be used in the allocation of SAP.
"Wouldn’t that be against the law, if the law provides under Bayanihan 1 is to provide SAP? It is clearly written in the law [that the funds are] for 18 million families,” Recto said.
"Bayanihan To Heal As One" Act mandates the government to distribute two batches of cash aid to the poorest Filipino families affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Senator Nancy Binay also raised concerns on the success rate of DSWD's proposal.
"Ano ang magiging basis nila kasi yun ang nagiging concern ko kasi wala pa tayong nakukhhang success rate [para rito]. Itong 15,000 ito pakitain [ng success rate] hindi lang i- dole out ang pamimigay sa kababayan ayaw natin na ang papasukan nila [na negosyo] ay hindi maging successful," Binay said.
(What will be their basis on this because there is no success rate for this. This P15,000 livelihood fund should be backed by a success rate instead of simply doling out the fund to the beneficiary. We don't want these beneficiaries to start a business and end up unsuccessful.)
-- With reports from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News