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Delay in social aid due to lack of list of beneficiaries from LGUs – DSWD chief

/ 01:23 AM April 09, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The delay in the rollout of the government’s social amelioration program for workers affected by the COVID-19 lockdown was due to the inability of local government units (LGU) to produce a list of beneficiaries.

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This was the reason provided by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista on Wednesday night in reaction to netizens asking about the lack of social aid given that funds from the 2020 budget had already been diverted to such an end.

Bautista said there were problems in the list of beneficiaries from LGU.

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“The list of people who would receive financial aid was not available. I guess we were expecting LGU officials to know their constituents more — that they’ll have the profiles, the names, the work, and other livelihood activities of people within their jurisdiction,” Bautista, speaking partly in Filipino, said during a briefing led by President Rodrigo Duterte late on Wednesday.

“As they are not too knowledgeable of their constituents, or let us say that there were discrepancies in the list, that’s when the problems came out,” he added.

Bautista asked for the public’s patience, noting that this was the first time for the government to create a comprehensive social aid program due to a pandemic.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista was among those who joined the briefing on COVID-19 led by President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. (Photo from an RTVM video)

After Luzon was placed on an enhanced community quarantine, virtually all work was suspended — except for those in essential services, like health care.  This left people relying on daily wages with no income through the lockdown.

“If you would think about it, this is the first time that we faced a situation like this.  I can say that there is no perfect system,” Bautista said.

“But as we continue to engage the LGU, municipal, city social welfare development offices, we are able to identify and determine what are the gaps and the shortcomings, hopefully in due time, we can distribute the cash amelioration systematically and orderly,” he added.

As of this writing, the entire of Luzon is still under an enhanced community quarantine — which was extended until April 30 as the number of patients infected with the latest coronavirus strain continues to rise.

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According to the Department of Health, there are at 3,870 COVID-19 patients to date, of whom 182 have died and 96 have recovered.

Worldwide, over 1.4 million individuals have been infected, of whom 81,894 have died and 294,660 have recovered.

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TAGS: Coronavirus Pandemic, COVID-19, Department of Social Welfare and Development, DSWD, ECQ, enhanced community quarantine, LGUs, list of beneficiaries, Rolando Bautista, Social Amelioration Program
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