Drilon on P10-B SAP ‘savings’: Leniency in cash aid distribution would’ve been more helpful
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should have been more “lenient” in distributing cash aid under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), considering that many Filipinos lost their livelihoods due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Sunday.
During the Senate budget hearing of their proposed 2021 budget last week, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista explained that the agency had P10 billion in savings from SAP since the number of cash aid beneficiaries was trimmed from 18 million to 14 million for the second tranche.
“Ang sinasabing rason nadoble raw yung iba. Assuming na totoo iyan, magkano ba iyan? Sabihin natin na nadoble yung 4 million beneficiaries, anim na buwan silang walang kinikita. Dapat naging lenient na kahit papaano,” Drilon said in an interview on dzBB.
(The reason they are saying is that some beneficiaries received a cash aid twice. Assuming that is true, how much is that? Let’s say 4 million beneficiaries received double cash aid, but they don’t have livelihoods for six months already. They should have been more lenient.)
“Unang-una, may listahan yung DSWD. Iyan talagang outdated na dahilan sa dumami ang mahihirap dahilan sa COVID-19. Ano kung magkadoble? Ang liit niyang ayuda para sa mahihirap,” he added.
(First of all, the DSWD has a list. That is outdated because many fell into poverty due to COVID-19. So what if they receive double the cash aid? That cash aid is such a small amount.)
The government’s COVID-19 task force limited the coverage of SAP’s second tranche to residents of areas that were under stricter quarantine or enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until May 31, 2020, hence the reduced number of beneficiaries.
Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez III himself admitted he was surprised by DSWD’s P10 billion unspent funds for SAP, promising to take up the matter to the country’s economic managers.
“Kung walang pera ang taumbayan, wala silang trabaho, walang pambili, hindi sisigla ang ekonomiya at hindi tayo makakarecover dito sa ating lumiliit na ekonomiya,” Drilon said.
(If the people do not have money, they don’t have jobs, they have no purchasing power, the economy will not recover.)
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