17,800 in Eastern Visayas have yet to receive gov't aid | Inquirer News
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17,800 in Eastern Visayas have yet to receive gov’t aid

/ 08:43 PM May 20, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – More than 17,800 people in Eastern Visayas have yet to receive financial assistance under the government’s social amelioration program (SAP).

Based on the records of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Eastern Visayas (DSWD-8), three localities have not completed the distribution of the SAP cash aid: Calbayog City in Samar, Ormoc City in Leyte, and the town of Tarangan in Samar.

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At least 14,584 beneficiaries had not received the P5,000 cash aid in Ormoc City, while there were 2,091 target beneficiaries who were waiting for their share in Calbayog City.

In Tarangan, 1,211 beneficiaries received their cash aid.

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Calbayog City and Tarangan have cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which hampered the distribution of the SAP assistance.

In the case of Tarangan, Samar Gov. Michael Reynolds Tan said several employees of the municipal government tested positive for COVID-19.

“We have to (temporarily) stop the distribution of SAP in Tarangan as this could only result in the further spread of COVID-19,” said Tan during a radio interview aired over Network Briefing News anchored by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Wednesday.

Tarangan, which recorded 21 of the region’s 26 coronavirus cases, is considered to be the epicenter of COVID-19 in Eastern Visayas.

Of the 1,634 local government units in the country, only 1,234 have completed the SAP aid distribution, said Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista.

He said only areas placed under enhanced community quarantine starting May 1 and 2 are likely to receive the second tranche of the P5,000 cash assistance as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Bautista, however, said he was still waiting for the written guidelines from the IATF.

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Of the six provinces in Eastern Visayas, four have completed their SAP distribution: Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Southern Leyte, and Biliran.

In Northern Samar, 63,444 beneficiaries received the P5,000 cash assistance or a total amount of P317,220,000; 59,940 beneficiaries from Eastern Samar or P299.7 million; 59,205 beneficiaries in Southern Leyte or P296.02 million; and 28,715 beneficiaries in Biliran or P143.57 million.

In Samar province, about 76,269 beneficiaries from 24 towns and Catbalogan City have received the cash assistance.

In Leyte, 259,196 beneficiaries have received the P5,000 cash aid or in the total amount of P1.29 billion.

Ormoc City Councilor Lalaine Marcos, meanwhile, said their failure to complete the distribution of the SAP cash aid was due to the “changes” in the guidelines.

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