DSWD to give emergency aid for families in areas under granular COVID-19 lockdown

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2020 12:51 PM

MANILA— The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Saturday said it would provide emergency subsidies for families affected by granular COVID-19 lockdowns, among other social development programs, as it finished distributing cash aid under the social amelioration program (SAP).

In a press briefing Saturday, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista said this is part of their "response and recovery intervention" for qualified beneficiaries under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

Bautista said they are finalizing guidelines for the recovery programs.

"Isasapinal ang panuntunan upang magsimula, hinihimay-himay namin para makaalign sa maging function ng aming ahensiya," Bautista said.

(We will finalize the guidelines so we could start, we are threshing out details so they're aligned with our agency's functions.)

Among the other projects DSWD will focus on are assistance to individuals in crisis situations, livelihood grants, social pensions for indigent senior citizens, feeding programs, and support through non-food items.

Since coronavirus lockdowns started in March, the government has distributed 2 tranches of SAP funds, ranging from P6,500 to P8,000, to the poorest Filipino families affected by the pandemic. Local government units facilitated distribution.

Just this week, senators quizzed the DSWD over some P10 billion in unused funds for the second tranche of SAP distribution.

While presenting its proposal for the 2021 budget, the DSWD said it had disbursed P83.1 billion of P94.5 billion in SAP funds. During the hearing, the DSWD also said that 14 million families received the second tranche of funds, 4 million less than the number of families that received the first tranche.

DSWD then explained that LGUs went through a "revalidation" process because of supposed duplicates, slashing the number of beneficiaries. They said they planned to realign the excess SAP funds to livelihood programs, pending approval from the Office of the President.