DSWD confirms: Cash transfer programs suspended, but aid for poor continues
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has confirmed the temporary suspension of its cash transfer programs although Secretary Rolando Bautista clarified that the provision of social aid would not stop.
According to DSWD, the payouts of different programs like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens and Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) and other projects were halted to protect beneficiaries from possible exposure to COVID-19.
“The temporary suspension of the activities will minimize the exposure of beneficiaries, especially those from vulnerable groups such as children, persons with disabilities, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, and senior citizens, as well as DSWD employees, from the threats of COVID-19,” DSWD said in a statement on Monday.
“DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista though clarified that ‘social amelioration will not stop,’ explaining that, ‘it is during these trying times that the Department shows its compassionate care to the poor, vulnerable and marginalized’,” DSWD added.
Aside from that, DSWD and Bautista assured the public that the distribution of food and non-food items would not be interrupted.
“Secretary Bautista added that the distribution of food and non-food items to clients will also continue through pre-determined channels. Local government units, as frontline in service delivery, will be provided with the necessary augmentation from the DSWD upon their request,” DSWD explained.
“DSWD Centers and Residential Care Facilities (CRCFs) nationwide will also continue its operations, though visits from family members and other guests will be regulated, and proper social distancing will be implemented,” it added.
Earlier, Vice President Leni Robredo revealed the DSWD decision, calling for a reinstation of the cash transfer programs to reduce the number of people who would go to work, thereby minimizing people on the streets.
“Nananawagan kami na bawiin ang kanilang desisyon at ituloy ang mga nasabing programa. Kung wala nito, marami ang mapipilitan pang lumabas ng bahay para pumasok— dahil kapag hindi sila pumasok, hindi sila kakain,” she explained.
(We are calling on authorities to rescind the decision and continue the said program. Without this, a lot of people will be forced to leave their homes to work, because if they would not work, they would not eat.)
“Kailangang limitahan ang mga tao sa lansangan. Ito ang isa sa pinakamabisang paraan para maampat ang pagkalat ng COVID-19. Kung ititigil ng DSWD ang pamimigay ng ayuda, mapipilitan ang marami na lumabas para kumita ng pambili ng pagkain, gamot, at iba pa nilang pangangailangan,” she added.
(We should limit people on the streets. This is one of the most effective ways to fight the spread of COVID-19. If DSWD would stop giving grants, then many would be forced to work, to support their needs like food, medication, and other necessities.)
Last Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a one-month community quarantine for Metro Manila, due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. As of Monday, there are 140 COVID-19 patients, 12 of which have died.
But just recently, Duterte upgraded the quarantine to the entirety of Luzon to avoid additional cases. However, observers warned Duterte’s declarations might leave some families without any source of income.
The COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses, whose surfaces have a crown-like appearance. The viruses are named for the spikes on their surfaces.
Worldwide, over 168,000 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, with at least 6,506 dead.
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