The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured continuous distribution of the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) as it appealed for public understanding for some setbacks due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases among its personnel.
DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje said despite the risks of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the distribution of the SAP’s second tranche will “remain unhampered.”
“Sa kabila ng banta ng Covid, patuloy pa rin nating binibigyan ng pansin yung pamamahagi lalung-lalo na kasalukuyang itong SAP, kaya nga may mga proseso tayo na kailangang pagdaanan, may mga hamon tayong na dapat malampasan (Despite the threat of Covid, we continue to pay attention to the distribution, particularly the SAP, but we have to undergo processes, there are challenges that we must overcome),” he said at the sidelines during the launch of Mask Para sa Masa in Pasay City on September 5, 2020.
While Paje wasn’t able to provide exact numbers of SAP personnel who contracted the disease, he said many of the DSWD staff involved in SAP distribution have been infected with the dreaded virus, hampering the usual operation.
“Isa po ito sa mga dahilan kung bakit ingat na ingat tayo sa pagbibigay, pagpunta o paggawad ng tulong sa ating mga mga mamamayan (This is one of the reasons why we are very careful in giving, going in or providing assistance to our citizens),” he said.
“Marami-rami na rin po yung na-infect ng Covid sa atin at gayon din po mas marami rin po yung nasa quarantine (Many of us have been infected with Covid and at the same time, many more are under quarantine),” he added.
Paje said the infected SAP workers were provided with assistance and benefits which are based on their needs, including personal protective equipment (PPE), food packs, financial and medical assistance as well as psychosocial services.
He said the DSWD is also compliant with government health protocols to ensure that SAP front-liners are safe against the risks of the dreaded disease.
“Ang DSWD naman ay nagbibigay ng kaukulang suporta sa ating mga kawani na exposed dito sa (The DSWD also provides necessary support to those staff exposed during) Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Paje said there were some changes in the normal operation related to the SAP distribution since some of their personnel have contracted Covid-19.
“Hindi tulad nung normal na operation natin, eto po ay nag-iingat tayong husto kung kaya’t iniiskedyul natin ng mabuti kung sino yung mga dapat tumulong sa pagbibigay ng ayuda, tinitingan natin na yung iba ay dapat ma-quarantine kung sila ay exposed, tinitingnan natin kung sino yung dapat ma-swab (Unlike our normal operations, we are very careful here that’s why we are properly scheduling who should help to provide assistance, we are considering who should be quarantined and should be swabbed when there is an exposure),” Paje explained.
“Kung kaya’t yung normal workforce ay hindi iyon yung talagang nagagamit natin sa pamimigay ng ayuda, bawas sa mga tao (That’s why the normal workforce is not functional, we have reduced personnel to [serve during the SAP distribution]),” he added.
He said about 13.7 million beneficiaries have already received cash assistance from the government.
Apart from SAP operation, Paje said DSWD continues to implement its other regular programs nationwide which include assistance to individuals in crisis situations (AICS), feeding program for children, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and social pension for indigent senior citizens.
Paje, meanwhile, assured the public of the continuous distribution of the second tranche of SAP.
“Makakasigurado po kayo na itong mga kawani ng DSWD ay hindi nagpapahinga at pilit na tinatapos ang pamimigay ng ayuda na ito (We assure you that the DSWD staff are not taking any rest and are trying to complete the delivery of the financial assistance),” he said. (Lade Jean Kabagani, PNA)