A point of contention lately in many local government units is how to allocate the national government’s social amelioration program (SAP) to all rightful citizens given the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s list leaves out a significant portion of the population. These include families whose members are elected and appointed government officials and employees, employees in the private sector, retired individuals receiving pension, among other qualifications.
Many citizens are equally agitated demanding an update on the DSWD list, which was based on the 2015 census. Local officials are in a limbo, too. The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced Sunday that not only will elected officials found misusing the SAP allocation be charged with criminal, civil or administrative liability, they will also have to pay back the P5,000 to P8,000 cash if given to wrongful beneficiaries.
“If the beneficiary is ineligible, the DSWD will inform the LGU. The LGU will be constrained to reimburse the money and there will be an investigation for determination of administrative, civil, and criminal liability,” Nograles said.
In Pasig City, where the whole nation’s eyes seem to be set at the moment for its commendable efforts amid the COVID-19 crisis, residents are ailing about the DSWD package. Of the 206,000 families the city previously requested funds for, DSWD only gave enough to support 93,000 families.
Despite the disparity, Mayor Vico Sotto was none the less thankful. In a Facebook live stream on Sunday, he thanked DSWD for what he said was “still a big help” while also acknowledging that the Pasig LGU will “have some problems if only 93,000 families receive aid.”[READ: What we need is a new breed of competent leaders—like these millennial mayors]
To remedy this, Sotto announced on Apr. 11 that they will be rolling out the Pasig Supplemental SAP (PSSAP), which will give out P4,000 per month or P8,000 for two months to families not covered by SAP. This has been arrived at after the city council studied its budget to know how much it can distribute. Sotto, however, noted that this funding might still change.
According to the latest report by DSWD, a total of P4.6 billion worth of assistance was provided to families affected by COVID-19 in the country. Of which, P142 million was funded by DSWD, P4.4 billion came from LGUs, P23 million from NGOs and P21 million from private partners.
Header photo courtesy of DSWD Ilocandia Facebook page
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