The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has said it will use the excess fund from the second tranche of the social amelioration program (SAP) to supplement subsidy programs of other government agencies.
In an interview with newsmen, DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said the agency would augment the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Displaced/Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD) and the Department of Agriculture's cash assistance to farmers who were also among the most heavily affected sector amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“As per Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) 2, we will top-up DOLE and DA’s beneficiaries,” she said Friday.
She said the DSWD's finance department would release information on how much from the SAP 2 aid would be used by DOLE and DA.
The JMC 2 of the implementing guidelines for the second tranche of SAP states that the beneficiaries identified and paid by the DA as part of its SAP shall receive the remaining balance in the regional subsidy of the first tranche received shall be given with the second tranche of the emergency subsidy.
The beneficiaries of TUPAD Program #Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko (#BKBK) Disinfection/Sanitation Project shall be eligible to receive the top-up assistance from the DSWD.
“Currently, the local government units have only forwarded 3.2 million family beneficiaries. It means that this list already covers the low-income sectors in their jurisdiction),” DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista said during Thursday's virtual conference.
Dumlao said the DSWD, as the lead implementer of SAP, believed there would be a significant amount that will be left from the emergency fund as they have trimmed the 17 million projected number of family beneficiaries for the second tranche of SAP to only 14.1 million.
Almost 3 million of the family beneficiaries removed from the list were found to be either ineligible to receive aid, receiving aid from other government offices, or have voluntarily returned their cash aid to the agency.
Dumlao noted that local government units only submitted some 3.2 million families as recommended beneficiaries for SAP, much lower than the 5-million projected figure for the waitlisted beneficiaries.
At present, the agency nears its completion of the SAP 2 aid delivering P74.5 billion worth of aid to 12,340,741 family beneficiaries.
It also recently launched a 24/7 online platform: usaptayo.dswd.gov.ph. The online portal seeks to adhere to public concerns and suggestions regarding the implementation of SAP.
Aside from the website, Bautista also said the hotline numbers and their email address were still active and officers were attending to queries.
For messaging, the public may contact: 0918-912-2813 while the other mobile numbers are provided to cater to calls: Smart users may reach 0947-482-2864; 0916-247-1194 for Globe users; and 0932-933-3251 for Sun telecom users.
Their email address also remains [email protected].
Meanwhile, Bautista clarified his department did not overlook the drivers' sector in providing aid under the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) amid the health crisis.
“The Department of Social Welfare and Development has distributed more than P857.3 million in aid to more than 100,000 TNVS and PUV drivers nationwide. This was based on the list provided by the LTFRB),” Bautista said in a press briefing.
This came after reports that some jeepney drivers have resorted to asking for alms on the street as public transport has been limited during the community quarantine.
The drivers who were included in the recommended list of the LTFRB were referred to DSWD field offices and were among the waitlisted beneficiaries of the second tranche of the SAP aid (SAP-2), he added.
Bautista said about 115,680 drivers from various regions have received the aid.
DSWD data showed it had released 3,616 family food packs and 800 sanitary kits to TNVS and PUV drivers in the National Capital Region who have approached the office.
The department also allocated 910 family food packs and 164 sanitary kits to members of the Tricycle Operators and Drivers' Association (TODA).
Bautista earlier explained that 24,851 PUV and 1,959 taxi drivers were beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which is why they were excluded from the LTFRB list.
In related developments, the DSWD reported it had distributed the SAP-2 aid to more than 12.34 million family beneficiaries.
It said that as of August 13, the department had rolled out more than P74.5 billion worth of aid to low-income families.
The granting of emergency subsidies is mandated by Republic Act 1469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”.
The aid, which ranges from P5,000 to P8,000, is for low-income families – those in the subsistence economy, workers in the informal economy, or those belonging to the vulnerable sector – who have been identified as among the hardest-hit during the health crisis. With PNA