DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista
MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Tuesday that the majority of the beneficiaries of the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) were “satisfied” with the agency’s implementation of the project.
“Ang pagtupad ng ahensya ng SAP para sa pamilyang may mababang kita na pinakaapektado ng community quarantine ay nakitang may positibong epekto sa seguridad ng pagkain (The implementation by the agency of the SAP for low-income families hard-hit by the community quarantine was found to have positive effects on food security),” DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista said in a virtual conference on Tuesday afternoon.
The findings, the secretary said, were part of the study conducted by the agency and the United Nation’s World Food Program (WFP).
The survey focused on the effects of the pandemic and assistance given to Filipinos from June to August 2020.
During these months, the agency has distributed and completed the first tranche of the financial assistance to some 18 million indigent Filipino families.
“Mahigit sa 92 porsyento ang nagsabi na ginamit nila ang ayuda sa pagbili ng pagkain (More than 92 percent said they used their SAP aid to buy food),” Bautista added.
Highest hunger index since March 2012
The agency made the statement following private survey firm Social Weather Stations’ (SWS) study that was released on Sunday which states that some 7.6 million Filipino households experienced involuntary hunger in the past three months.
Participated by 1,249 adult Filipinos from Sept. 17 to 20, the survey stated that 30.7 percent of respondents said they experienced “hunger due to lack of food to eat,” which is higher than the 20.9 percent recorded in July.
SWS said it is the highest recorded since March 2012 at 23.8 percent.
Bautista said the latest hunger index can be linked to the pandemic that the world is grappling with.
Meanwhile, he explained that addressing hunger is not only carried by one agency but the whole government through the Inter-agency Task Force on Zero Hunger, which was signed by the President in January.
The task force is mandated to formulate the National Food Policy (NFP), which will outline national priorities based on a comprehensive understanding of the problems of hunger and related issues, and shall provide a roadmap for achieving zero hunger.
The NFP shall include initiatives for ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture, the order stated.
“Ang DSWD ay sinigsigurong ginagawa nito ang mandato upang makaambag sa pagtugon sa kagutuman sa bansa lalo na (sa) krisis (The DSWD guarantees that it performs its mandate to contribute to the government’s responsibility to address hunger),” Bautista said.
He expressed that the agency has so far delivered some 1.9 million family food packs to LGUs nationwide.
The agency spent some PHP1 billion for the augmentation of their stocks.
As of Sept. 28, the agency, through the LGUs, rolled out the next SAP tranche to some 13,909,421 family beneficiaries nationwide.
“Patuloy ang pamamahagi ng emergency subsidy sa mga benepisyaryo ng SAP, kabilang ang mga “waitlisted” o karagdagang mga pamilya (The distribution of emergency subsidy is still ongoing for those “waitlisted” or additional family beneficiaries),” the agency said.
Apart from SAP, the agency said it also implements simultaneously other programs that address the welfare of individuals caught in crisis.
These include the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation, Social Pension for indigent senior citizens, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, Supplementary Feeding, Livelihood Assistance Program, among others.
The “Bayanihan to Heal As One” Act has given the national government powers to provide emergency subsidies to low-income families.
Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 of 2020 states that the subsidy shall amount to a minimum of PHP5,000 to a maximum of PHP8,000 a month for two months to provide for basic food, medicine, and toiletries. (PNA)