MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has commended the inclusion of the barangay tanods, healthcare and daycare workers as recipients for the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) amid the fight against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Marami po sa mga barangay workers na ito ay sub-minimum wage earners kaya naman dapat lamang po silang maisama sa mga mabibigyan ng tulong ng DSWD. Malaki rin po ang kanilang papel bilang front-liners ng ating mga barangay, lalo na sa kasalukuyang emergency na dinaranas ng bansa dulot ng Covid-19 (They deserved to be included in the DSWD’ cash aid because many of these barangay workers are sub-minimum wage earners. They play important role as front-liners of our barangays especially now that we have Covid-19 health emergency),” Go said on Saturday.

DSWD has recently included barangay tanods, healthcare and daycare workers in the list of sectors eligible for the government’s social amelioration program during the Covid-19 health emergency in response to an earlier call by the senator from Davao City.

In a memorandum released by the agency on April 16, DSWD adopted the recommendation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to include the above-mentioned barangay functionaries as target beneficiaries of the program.

The DILG’s recommendation provides that barangay tanods, health care and daycare workers should not be outrightly disqualified from the assistance since they belong to the vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors as sub-minimum wage earners.

Sub-minimum wage earners, by definition, refer to any person who earns a wage below the prescribed minimum and are the sole income earners of their respective families.

DILG and DSWD also noted that “the so-called heavy-lifting job for the immediate response to the pandemic has been delegated to (barangay health workers or BHWs) and tanods as the front-liners in all communities.”

“Umaapela rin ako sa DSWD at LGUs na isama nila agad sa mga makakatanggap ng ayuda ang mga qualified na barangay tanod, BHWs at daycare workers na nangangailangan rin ng tulong habang ginagampanan nila ang kanilang tungkulin sa kanilang mga komunidad (My appeal to the DSWD and LGUs to immediately include qualified barangay tanod, BHWs and daycare workers who need assistance while they perform their duties in the community)” Go appealed.

Around 18 million low-income families and those in vulnerable sectors are targeted to receive monthly cash subsidies ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP8,000, depending on regional wage rates, for two months as mandated by Republic Act 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”.

According to the DSWD, the government has released more than PHP60 billion to 1,228 local government units, which are in charge of the distribution of the cash assistance.

Meanwhile, around PHP67.5 million has also been spent by the DSWD for Covid-19 related concerns, including medical and burial assistance, and food packs to families.

Earlier, Go called on concerned national government agencies and LGUs to work together to resolve issues on conflicting lists of beneficiaries and improve the distribution system for the government’s social amelioration program.

“I am appealing to all concerned agencies and LGUs that they should aim to perfect the distribution system of food and cash assistance as the government continues to address the Covid-19 situation,” Go said.

Go also enjoined all sectors of society, public or private, to unite in ensuring that the needs of the Filipino family are satisfied during the global pandemic.

“Let us work together to fill in the gaps as the needs of Filipino families affected by the Covid-19 crisis continue to grow,” Go said. (PR)

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