Previous beneficiaries living in ECQ areas may still be included in SAP second tranche
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) gave assurance that beneficiaries from areas under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) may still be entitled to the second tranche of the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao on Tuesday said however that the Inter-Agency – Technical Working Group (IA-TWG) on the SAP distribution would meet within the week to clarify other concerns, including the families who would be included in the second tranche.
“Family-beneficiaries (living in areas) under ECQ areas will certainly receive second tranche, provided na after the validation ay found (that after the validation they were found) to be eligible and have not received more than one subsidy package,” Dumlao said, answering queries from reporters.
“Magkakaroon ng pagpupulong ngayong linggo ang IA-TWG on SAP upang linawin ang iba pang detalye hinggil sa mga pamilyang kasama sa second tranche,” she added.
(The IA-TWG on SAP would have a meeting this week to clarify other details about the families that will be included in the second tranche.)
As areas not susceptible to COVID-19 transmissions were placed under a general community quarantine (GCQ) after the Luzon-wide ECQ expired last April 30, local officials pleaded that they be included in modified ECQ areas — because residents may not receive aid if their areas are no longer under an ECQ.
When the province of Albay was placed under GCQ, one of the factors considered by Rep. Joey Salceda in asking the national government to put it back under a GCQ was the economic impact on the residents who may no longer be eligible for the SAP’s second tranche.
DSWD previously said that they are still awaiting for Malacañang’s directive on the distribution of the SAP’s second tranche — as they cannot start distributing cash aids without a written directive. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said on Saturday that they want to add five million more families in the SAP beneficiaries.
The SAP was formulated as a form of social assistance to people affected by the ECQ over Luzon and Metro Manila. Under the ECQ, work except for essential frontline services was suspended, leaving people who rely on daily earnings and whose jobs cannot adjust to a work-from-home setup without income.
As of May 22, DSWD said that they have already distributed P98.4 million to LGUs for the SAP’s first tranche, while aid has reached 17.4 million families or 97.1 percent of the target number.
But the first tranche distribution was met with several issues, including local officials allegedly meddling in the list of beneficiaries to favor their relatives, or cutting the supposed grant in half.
Despite these efforts, critics questioned whether the government’s social aid is enough especially after a survey from Social Weather Station revealed that hunger rates almost doubled after the COVID-19 crisis — despite 99 percent of the respondents saying that they received food aid from the government.
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