A day he assigned the Department of Social Welfare and Development to take the lead in the distribution of cash aid and relief goods amid the COVID-19 pandemic, President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said the DSWD cannot do it alone.
"Secretary (Rolando) Bautista says he can't do it. The DSWD network is not enough so he calls upon the Armed Forces," the President said.
"I will manage to get volunteers -- young ones who still have idealism. The ROTC should get in touch with DSWD. You will be accredited for the distribution," he added.
The President on Wednesday stripped local government units of their role in distributing P200 billion in cash aid to the 18 million most vulnerable households across the country amid complaints of red tape and corruption.
“I have removed from politicians the distribution of money and rice and food because there have been several complaints...Some local officials were embezzling relief funds. Instead of seven, you make it five in the repacking,” he said in an earlier televised address.
On Friday, the President was more generous toward mayors and even barangay captains.
"I am not attributing fault on the mayors... The mayor or even the barangay captains, I don't think they will resort to corruption. But down the line...," Duterte said.
Under the P200-billion cash assistance program, select households will receive subsidies ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 for two months.
Among those entitled to receive cash aid are senior citizens, persons with a disability, homeless persons, and solo parents.
The DSWD is reportedly planning to distribute part of the money in the form of relief goods, but Senate President Vicente Sotto III said cash aid is preferred.
He said under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the intention of Congress was to release cash aid and not relief goods.
“We have to clarify that and iron that out. If that is the understanding of the executive or the DSWD, then we will have to talk to them immediately,” Sotto said, adding that cash is easier to distribute those relief goods.