DSWD eyes to finish SAP 2 release by end of July

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Thursday said it is targeting to complete the distribution of the second tranche of cash aid under the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) by the end of July.

During the hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, DSWD Undersecretary Danilo Pamonag said that to date, the department has already disbursed PHP19.4 billion emergency cash subsidies to 3.2 million beneficiaries for the second tranche.

“I would like to inform this body that we hope to complete the payouts for (the) second tranche through a combination of digital and direct payouts by the end of July,” Pamonag said.

He, however, noted that some payouts might extend to August due to mobility, security, and health factors that may hamper the distribution of the second tranche subsidy.

Pamonag cited mobility and transportation constraints in reaching geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas.

“These are islands, municipalities, barangays, or upland areas, which might take more than a day or two to reach,” he said.

Pamonag noted that delivering subsidies to conflict-affected areas or those with security threats may require systematic coordination and planning with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure the safety of the SAP implementors.

“Right now, I would like to inform you that we are closely coordinating with the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he said, adding that another major factor is the public health threat posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), which could pose risks to DSWD social workers and personnel, as well as their clients.

Pamonag said delays might occur due to the need for SAP implementors to observe the 14-day quarantine once exposed to Covid-19.

“These are the three significant factors, which we foresee, that may possibly delay the implementation of SAP. Otherwise, we can finish it by the end of this month,” he added.

The SAP allows the national government to distribute temporary cash assistance worth PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 to low-income families who have been most affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

About 18 million poor households have received the first tranche of emergency subsidies under the program.

On the other hand, only 12 million of the 18 million beneficiaries of the first SAP aid will get the second tranche. They will be joined by 5 million waitlisted beneficiaries. (Filane Mikee Cervantes, PNA)

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