DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista
MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it has no problem with the local government units (LGUs) taking over the distribution of the third tranche of the social amelioration program (SAP).
DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista addressed this matter during the agency’s regular virtual conference on Thursday, saying he respects the position of LGUs in the implementation of the cash subsidy program.
“Ginagalang natin ang pamahalaang lokal pati na ang kanilang posisyon hinggil sa implementasyon ng SAP. Hintayin po natin na maipasa ang Bayanihan 2 dahil dito po nakabatay kung paano ang implementasyon ng ikatlong bahagi ng SAP (We respect the views of our LGUs regarding the implementation of SAP. However, we should wait for the Bayanihan 2 to be passed as law. We base our implementation for the third tranche from there),” he said.
Bautista reiterated DSWD’s mandate as a national agency that they will carry out the law and will provide welfare and augmentation to LGUs when needed.
“Gaya po ng lagi nating binabanggit, susunod po tayo kung ano ang nakasaad sa batas. Ang DSWD at ibang mga ahensya ay tagapagtupad ng batas na maipapasa ng ating kongreso. Kapag naipasabatas ang panunukalang ito, makikipag ugnayan ang ahensya sa mga lokal na pamahalaan upang matiyak ang maayos na implementasyon ng programa na nakasaad dito (As mentioned, we only follow what is on the law. DSWD and other agencies will execute whatever law is passed by the Congress. If [Bayanihan 2] is passed, we will coordinate with the LGUs to guarantee the program goes well),” he said.
The agency has faced several criticisms regarding their delayed timeline for the distribution of aid and was even called for a meeting in Congress where social welfare officials cited the reasons for the slow implementation, which included hard-to-reach areas of beneficiaries, restricted mobility due to lockdown measures, manpower affected by quarantine protocols due to exposure, and slow response of some LGUs.
It was earlier reported that some LGUs failed to upload the social amelioration card (SAC) forms of more than 300,000 beneficiaries, adding that over 200,000 SAP beneficiaries whose forms were forwarded to the central office by their LGUs lacked information.
“Bagamat ninanais natin na matapos ang pamimigay ng ayuda alinsunod sa ating target sa August 15, nasa mahigit 300,000 SAC forms pa ang kailangang ma-upload at mahigit 200,000 naman ang ibinalik sa mga LGUs upang muling ivalidate dahil kulang sa mga information, gaya ng cell phone number, middle name, birthday ng mga benepisyaryo (While we wanted to complete the distribution by August 15, there are still more than 300,000 SAC forms needed to be uploaded [in the site by the LGUs], and more than 200,000 SAC forms have to be returned due to incomplete information like cell phone number, middle name, birthday),” Bautista said on August 18.
Under the reconciled version of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, the bicameral conference committee retained the SAP to provide PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 aid to low-income households.
However, Senator Juan “Sonny” Angara said the distribution of the cash aid this time would be targeted.
The emergency subsidy would be limited to those under extended hard lockdown and to families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were forced to return home due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
The Senate finance chief, who is also part of the Senate contingent in the bicameral conference committee, also said critically impacted sectors that did not receive any cash aid under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Bayanihan 1 will also be entitled to the SAP. (PNA)