DSWD must give cash aid, Palace says amid delistings | Inquirer News

DSWD must give cash aid, Palace says amid delistings

/ 04:35 AM August 08, 2020

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should identify new and qualified beneficiaries for the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) after the department announced that the number of beneficiaries had been cut down to 14.1 million, the Palace said on Friday.

“The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act clearly states that financial aid should be given two times to 18 million beneficiaries,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said after the DSWD found duplicate and unqualified beneficiaries on the list for the dole.

Roque made the remark after Social Welfare Undersecretary Glen Paje reported that they had reduced the number of household beneficiaries from 17 million to 14.1 million households.

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There was no explanation on the different targets mentioned by Roque and Paje, but even with the reduced number of 14.1 million, Paje said the DSWD had only distributed P62.5 billion in emergency cash aid as of Aug. 4, or only 69 percent of the 14.1 million households.

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The DSWD explained that it had found and delisted 675,933 duplicate beneficiaries, 239,859 unqualified beneficiaries, and 58,725 who voluntarily returned the cash aid.

WHERE ARE THE POOR? Residents of Quezon City queue at a public school in May to receive their emergency cash aid from the government, but the Department of Social Welfare and Development can’t seem to find enough poor people qualified for the dole. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Waitlisted names

The number of beneficiary families also went down because local governments submitted only 3.2 million waitlisted names out of the five million slots allocated for qualified families that had not received any dole from the government, the DSWD explained.

Nonetheless, “the DSWD should fill up the remaining slots of beneficiaries under the second tranche of the [SAP],” Roque said.

So far, the DSWD has distributed the second tranche to only 9.3 million low-income families although the DSWD set its own deadline to distribute at least 80 percent of the dole by the end of July.

Food packs, not cash

Paje said that while they have set Aug. 15 as the new deadline for completion, the department expects further delays due to the reimposition of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in certain areas, including Metro Manila.

When asked what kind of aid the DSWD would provide to those who will be affected by the two-week MECQ, Paje said they would augment the family food packs for local governments although it was not clear if the department could distribute food packs instead of the cash mandated by the Bayanihan law.

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To hasten the distribution of the aid, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has allowed the limited movement of beneficiaries to take delivery of the cash aid.

It also allowed the DSWD’s partner financial service providers to operate at full operational capacity to release the cash aid to beneficiaries.

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“As such, the employees of said financial service providers shall be allowed full mobility in the performance of their functions,” the body said in its IATF Resolution No. 61 released on Friday.

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TAGS: Cash aid, Coronavirus, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, DSWD, Health, lockdown, pandemic, Virus

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