DSWD makes timely emergency subsidy disbursement

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Beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and members of transport organizations received the P100-billion initial tranche of the government’s cash amelioration program approved by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista said on April 8, 2020.

In his report to the President during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in Malacañang, Bautista said the DSWD immediately disbursed the money to 4Ps members using a credible list of indigents.

“Hindi po tayo masyadong nagkaroon ng problema nito dahil we have a credible list being kept by the DSWD and from time to time, itong mga benepisyaryo na’to ay nagka-conduct ng cash assistance every month,” he said.

Next to receive the pay out were transport groups. The DSWD spent three days handing over the subsidy, according to Bautista.

In distributing the money, the DSWD forwarded the funds to its field offices to implement the amelioration program in coordination with local government units (LGUs).

Supporting the DSWD were the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and other monitoring groups.

But the absence of a credible list from the LGUs slowed DSWD’s work, Bautista said, noting however that he believes they can iron out the system as they go on.

“As we continue to engage the LGU, municipal, city social welfare development offices, we were able to identify and determine what are the gaps and the shortcomings. And hopefully in due time, we will be able to distribute the cash amelioration systematically and orderly,” he explained.

Bautista said the subsidy will be given to every family under a strict vetting process to avoid duplication of government grant noting some individuals are receiving support from other agencies.

The government has set aside P200-billion cash aid to be distributed to some 18 million low-income families, with the amount ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 depending on the wage rates in their regions.

Also on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the chairman of the National Task Force on COVID-19, told the President that they have organized government’s response such as transportation, logistics, and communications.

The task force was also able to secure supplies particularly much needed personal protective equipment (PPEs) bought by the government from China, he said.

“Halos araw-araw po ang hakot ng ating C-130 ng mga gamit na ‘yan. Kami rin po ang nagbibigay ng mga — nagdi-distribute nitong mga gamit na ito sa mga ospital dito sa Maynila at saka sa probinsya,” Lorenzana said.

“Tumutulong din kami ng paghahakot ng mga ibang gamit sa Mindanao at saka sa Visayas gamit ang ating mga Air Force planes.”

The task force is also working to put up isolation wards for people affected by COVID-19. Among the facilities converted into quarantine facilities were the World Trade Center (WTC), Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Rizal Memorial Coliseum and Quezon Institute (QI).

The Philippine Arena, owned by Iglesia ni Cristo, will also serve as quarantine facility, according to Lorenzana. The facility has 2,000-bed capacity.

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