COVID-19 cash dole-out in Visayas goes past deadline | Inquirer News

COVID-19 cash dole-out in Visayas goes past deadline

ILOILO CITY—The distribution of cash to beneficiaries of the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) was expected to last until midnight on Sunday (May 10), way past prevailing curfews, as local governments rushed to meet a deadline set by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

But distribution in some areas could extend at least until Monday (May 11) amid efforts to ensure that beneficiaries are able to heed social distancing rules.

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Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said the city government hoped to complete the distribution of cash to 75,000 of the more than 79,000 target beneficiaries on Sunday.

“We may have to distribute the remaining P24 million to around 4,000 beneficiaries on Monday,” Treñas told the INQUIRER.

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Beneficiaries were being transported from their homes to venues, like gymnasiums, to speed up the distribution.

Treñas said the distribution has been slowed down by the verification of the list of beneficiaries and the enforcement of social distancing rules, which required those queueing for the cash to be at least two meters apart.

“We have to balance the need to distribute the assistance and the health of the people,” he said.

In Western Visayas, the amount of cash distributed had reached P5,483,196,000 as of noon of Sunday or 79.21 percent of the P6,922,704,000 given to the region’s LGUs by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The DSWD in Western Visayas reported that LGUs distributed cash to 913,866 out of the 1,153,784 beneficiaries in the region.

The island-province of Guimaras has completed distributing P107,256,000 in cash to all its 17,876 beneficiaries.

Antique had distributed cash to 69,223 out of 71,656 beneficiaries, or 97 percent, while Negros Occidental has handed out cash to 406,383 out of the total 469,616 beneficiaries, or 87 percent.

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Cash reached 119,782 out of 139,742 beneficiaries in Capiz, or 86 percent of target while 50,447 out of 65,056 beneficiaries, or 78 percent, got theirs in Aklan.

Iloilo has the biggest backlog in cash distribution with only 250,155 out of a target of 389,838, or 64 percent, getting their aid.

In Central Visayas, 80 of 132 LGUs finished distributing the first tranche of the financial aid as of noon on Sunday.

Shalaine Lucero, assistant director of the DSWD’s Central Visayas office, said P4.8 billion, or about 76 percent of the P6.3 billion allocated for the region, had been distributed to 807,810 households.

Lucero said at least 12 LGUs—nine in Cebu, two in Bohol and one in Negros Oriental—had advised the DSWD that they might finish the distribution of cash on Monday for different reasons.

“For one, they reportedly have to distribute the cash aids in communist hotspot areas,” said Lucero.

“Second, some of them are in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas so we have to consider the terrain,” she said.

“Third, they have to distribute the cash aid to areas where there are many COVID-19 cases,” Lucero said.

LGUs that want to extend the deadline to distribute the cash aid, she said, have to ask for DILG permission.

Lucero appealed to LGUs to finish the distribution of the first of the two-tranche cash aid.

“I would just like to remind the LGUs that this is the second deadline given by the DILG,” she said.

“The beneficiaries have been waiting for their share, and so we appeal to our LGUs to fast-track the distribution of the cash aid,” she added.

Lucero said the DSWD is now “moving towards the liquidation process” of SAP funds.

Liquidation reports from local government would have to be validated by the DWSD within 15 days, Lucero said.

“All these may affect the distribution of the second tranche of our financial aid,” she added.

In Eastern Visayas, 491,940 out of 596,094 beneficiaries have received cash as of past 2 p.m. on May 10.

Joshua Kempis, information officer of the disaster response management division of the DSWD in the region, said the figure was a little more than 90 percent of target beneficiaries.

The total amount of cash distributed in the Eastern Visayas provinces of Leyte, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, and Nothern Samar was at least P2.4 billion.

Kempis said the distribution of cash is ongoing in areas where the process is unfinished. “We’re hoping to complete it within the day,” Kempis said, referring to Sunday, May 10.

Edited by TSB

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: aid, beneficiaries, cash, Coronavirus, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, pandemic, social distancing
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