DSWD vows to discuss social aid distribution issues with LGUs
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has vowed to talk with local government units (LGUs) about issues hounding the distribution of the COVID-19 financial aid.
DSWD said that they are coordinating with LGUs which are implementing the first tranche of the national government’s social amelioration program (SAP), which will end on April 30.
Issues about LGUs’ distribution of the social aid, like in Lucena City in Quezon province where residents complained of the lack of physical distancing measures in sites where residents can obtain the financial grants.
“LGUs are DSWD’s partners in the implementation of the SAP. We are in constant coordination with them so we could expedite the process of distribution,” DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said in a message to reporters.
“We (will) discuss issues with LGUs and identify measures so we could provide aid to the beneficiaries,” she added.
On Tuesday, residents of Lucena City complained of long lines from morning to night, after the local government started distributing the SAP. However, people also noted that it was as the LGU which was rushing to distribute the social aid, as the April 30 deadline is fast approaching.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said last Monday that LGUs must comply with the deadline set by the memorandum of agreement (MOA) that they signed with DSWD — although he admitted that there are other local officials seeking extensions as they received the SAP funds later than expected.
However, Dumlao explained that the late distribution of SAP funds may be due to the late creation of a MOA between the LGU and the department. She noted that according to DSWD guidelines, the funds would be transferred to LGUs 24 hours after the MOA is signed.
“DSWD guidelines state that DSWD will transfer funds to LGU 24 hrs after LGU submission of signed MOA and project proposal,” Dumlao noted.
“Within 24 hrs upon receipt of fund, LGU will conduct payout within 5-7 days. DSWD validation will be conducted after the payout as a measure to expedite the process of distribution of aid,” she added.
Previously, DSWD said that some of the LGUs have finished distributing the SAP within two days after the funds were downloaded.
The SAP was built as a response for workers who lost their jobs or whose work was affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Luzon and other areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the suspension of work, people who rely on daily earnings and those whose jobs cannot adjust to a work-from-home scheme have been left without any income through the lockdown.
Under Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, 18 million Filipinos would receive aid of P5,000 to P8,000 per month, depending on the minimum wage in the area.
As of April 27, DSWD said that they have transferred P80.7 billion funds for the COVID-19 pandemic assistance, or 98.8 percent of the funds allocated under R.A. 11469. Of the P80.7 billion, P43 billion has already reached target households.
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