Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

MANILA — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has begun distributing the social amelioration package to low-income households heavily affected by the enhanced community quarantine brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said Friday that the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries would receive their top-up grants for April.

“The beneficiaries will receive PHP750 for health and PHP600 for rice. So, they have PHP1,350 from (the) 4Ps program. (Also) note that walang pasok sa (there are no classes in) April so the education grant is not included,” Dumlao said.

She added that the beneficiaries would receive PHP6,650 top-up from the social amelioration package to reach the PHP8,000 subsidy.

Beneficiaries of the 4Ps will receive PHP3,650 to PHP6,650 per month for two months, depending on the prescribed emergency subsidy per region determined from the particular region’s minimum wage levels.

The Department of Finance has earlier suggested that for Metro Manila beneficiaries, the grant would be PHP8,000, while for other regions, it would be PHP5,000.

The regions that were covered for Friday’s schedule of release included Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, National Capital Region (NCR), Cordillera Administrative Region, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The rest of the regions will receive their subsidies on April 4 and 5.

In a statement on Friday, the DSWD said program beneficiaries with Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) cash cards may withdraw from any Land Bank of the Philippines automated teller machines (LBP-ATMs) or any ATM subject to minimal charges.

“They may also use their cash cards to purchase necessary items in establishments with point of sale (POS) terminal,” it added.

Meanwhile, for 4Ps beneficiaries who have yet to receive their cash cards, the city/municipal links will coordinate with them for the distribution of their grants.

Earlier, the DSWD declared “force majeure” for the 4Ps program covering February and March, which suspends the monitoring of compliance that serves as the basis for the computation of cash grants.

This was later on extended to cover April and May.

The DSWD said it has already coordinated with local government units (LGUs) and city/municipal links to ensure that proper arrangements would be made and that social distancing and other health safety protocols would be strictly observed during the withdrawal of emergency cash assistance.

Director of the DSWD-NCR, Vic Tomas, said the LGUs would have to distribute the checks for the social amelioration package beneficiaries.

The checks were turned over to the LGUs of Manila at 3 p.m. and Parañaque at 4 p.m. on Friday.

“The payout, supervised by DSWD staff, will be through the LGUs to observe safety and security protocols in compliance with the (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’) and health department(‘s) instructions,” Tomas said.

In a separate interview, Interior and Local Government Manila Director Rolynne Javier also said the grants would be distributed to the households by Monday.

“The city government continues to distribute food supplies to Manila households while there is no amelioration package yet,” Javier added.

The newly signed Republic Act 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One” Act allows the government to provide emergency cash assistance to 18 million low-income households, including 4Ps household beneficiaries.

This is to cushion the impact of the public health emergency brought about by the pandemic. (PNA)

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