Group refiles several denied SAP applications; 5 families found eligible
MANILA, Philippines – At least 50 applications for the social amelioration program (SAP) have been refiled by a group on behalf of families affected by the COVID-19 lockdown — five of which have been already deemed eligible by authorities.
According to Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon, the SAP appeals were filed again after the families said that they have yet to receive any social aid from the government, despite their belief that they are eligible.
The SAP is a program based on the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, intended to help workers affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Luzon and other areas. At least 18 million Filipinos would be provided aid, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“As of today, we have submitted at least fifty SAP appeals coursed through the DSWD grievance system, in which fifty more low-income families may stand to benefit a total of at least P400,000.00 in cash assistance,” Ridon said in a statement on Monday.
“Among those that sought our help, at least five families have already been confirmed to be eligible to receive SAP funds,” he added.
According to Ridon, the families have been denied for various reasons, like being unregistered voters in an area, senior citizens and solo parents who cannot visit barangay halls to sign forms, mothers who lost their ultrasound reports, and overseas Filipino workers either under quarantine and or staying in agency apartments.
“The appeals are based on facts that these families are actually qualified under SAP rules, but were disqualified for various reasons […] All of these are qualified SAP cases but never found its way to the beneficiary list,” he explained.
“We continue to have a backlog of at least fifty more appeals for submission this week, which does not include more than a hundred new queries. What low-income families need now is firm guidance on how to make sure that truly qualified families are not left behind,” he added.
After the ECQ suspended work except for those in essential frontline services, people who rely on daily earnings and whose jobs cannot adjust to a work-from-home scheme were left without any income through the lockdown.
As of May 1, DSWD has distributed P53.8 billion to 10.13 million families which are beneficiaries of the SAP. Of the households who receive social assistance, 3.73 million came from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), 6.35 million from non-4Ps beneficiaries, and 40,418 are public vehicle drivers.
Ridon asked why some construction workers were removed from the SAP list based on assumptions that they have received financial assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment — but have yet to actually receive such aid.
“SAP rules also state that cash assistance should benefit low-income employees affected by the no work, no pay policy. In fact, many of these construction workers could not even be deemed employees, but directly contracted occasional workers, which is one of the SAP qualifications,” Ridon noted.
“Due to the confusion on the ground, it is imperative that we help the poor navigate the specific rules on qualifications. The disqualified families deserve another look by the DSWD if they can demonstrate clearly their eligibility,” he added.
As of now, Metro Manila and other areas within Central Luzon and Calabarzon are still under the ECQ due to the high coronavirus infection rates in the region. As of now, the city has 116 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 19 of which have died, with 26 recoveries.
The Department of Health said on Monday that across the country, there are 9,485 patients infected with the coronavirus, with 623 of them dead and 1,315 have recovered.
Worldwide, over 3.51 million individuals have been infected, while at least 247,565 have died from the disease and over 1.12 million have recovered from it.
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