DAVAO ORIENTAL – The Department of Social Welfare and Development has completed the distribution of P6,000 cash assistance to a total of 64,344 families in Davao Oriental under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
Social Welfare and Development Officer Mr. Reynante Cruz said that they have already completed the cash distribution in the province’s ten municipalities and one city last week.
However, as they were able to complete the SAP distribution, the office has also started dispensing cash to other qualified and validated beneficiaries out of the money voluntarily returned by some ineligible recipients.
These ineligible recipients include those who turned out to be beneficiaries of other SAP packages implemented by other national government agencies, beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, families with regular income, government employees, or elected officials – all of whom are “apparently disqualified as recipients based on the parameters set under the program.”
Mr. Cruz thanked those beneficiaries who were honest enough to return the money while reminding those ineligible beneficiaries who are yet to give back the cash that they only have until Friday, May 15 to return the money.
He said that as per agreement with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, cases will be filed against those ineligible beneficiaries who failed to return the cash. The DILG is also set to take the necessary legal actions for other irregularities.
For those beneficiaries who want to return the money, they are advised to go to their Municipal or City Social Welfare and Development Office so that the necessary report will be made. For transparency, an acknowledgement receipt will be issued.
The DSWD admits that the identification of the beneficiaries was among the biggest challenges the department has faced in the SAP distribution— the reason why they had to turn to the Local Government Units for assistance.
In addition, the government also has limited funds compared to the staggering number of families who need the cash assistance. “As much as we want to serve the whole population of Davao Oriental, we only have limited resources,” said Cruz.
Crisis Intervention Unit Head of DSWD XI Ms. Gemma Dela Cruz said that out of the 21 million qualified families in the whole country, only 18 million had been allocated with budget – the reason why there are still families who were “left-out”.
As for those families who were left out, the DSWD Regional Office has asked its counterparts in the LGUs to submit the list of the said families.
Ms. Dela Cruz said that the submitted list of left-out families is still subject for review. “For now, we still have to wait for the advice from the Central Office. We are hopeful that there will be funding for these left-out families,” she said.
Ms. Dela Cruz said that Davao Oriental has a total of 5,722 left-out families, all of which were already validated by the Social Welfare and Development Office in the city and municipality and staff from the DSWD.
Meanwhile, as the national government already made previous pronouncements that only areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) will be eligible for the second tranche, the DWSD regional office still awaits the official directive coming from its Central Office. “Should there be a second tranche, the beneficiaries will definitely be revalidated. But as of now, as we are already under General Community Quarantine, we have to wait for the guidelines,” Ms. Dela Cruz said.
For the DSWD’s SAP implementation here, a total of P369.4 million has been disbursed in the province of Davao Oriental – a portion of the total P4.3 billion earmarked for the entire Davao Region.
The target family-beneficiaries of the program are the highly-affected vulnerable and poor families and have no other means of income or available resources during the quarantine period.
The Social Amelioration Program is an inter-agency program created by the national government to provide assistance to the most vulnerable families affected by the community quarantine brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the program, the national government allocated P200 billion which was divided to different national agencies which include the DSWD, DILG, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Budget and Management, and the Department of Finance. (PIO-kld)