MANILA – More than 4.5 million low-income households have already received the cash relief granted by the national government to help them cope with the crisis driven by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Tuesday.
In a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4, Nograles said the government was able to distribute the emergency subsidies to some 4,597,854 poor families or more than 25 percent of the 18 million target beneficiary-families of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
Nograles, spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said the poor families who already got the cash aid include the beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
“Ayon sa DSWD, nakabigay na po sila ng emergency subsidies sa 4,597,854 low-income and 4Ps families, katumbas ng 25.54 percent ng 18 million target beneficiary-families (The DSWD said it was able to provide emergency subsidies to around 4,597,854 low-income and 4Ps families, which is equivalent to 25.54 percent of 18 million target-beneficiaries),” he said.
The PHP200-billion SAP was implemented following the signing of Republic Act (RA) 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act to address the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The SAP authorizes the distribution of cash assistance ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 to 18 million low-income households nationwide, including the existing 4.4 million 4Ps family-beneficiaries.
Under the SAP, 4Ps beneficiaries will receive top-up assistance from their existing payouts to complete the PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 monthly emergency subsidies that will be given to poor families for two months.
The DSWD, with the help of local government units (LGUs), was tasked to administer the distribution of the emergency relief to low-income households affected by the health crisis in the country.
LGUs were earlier warned that they would face criminal, civil, and administrative charges, if they do not follow the guidelines for the distribution of emergency subsidies to poor families.
In a public address on April 13, President Rodrigo Duterte said the implementation of the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) could have helped speed up the distribution of cash aid under SAP.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a separate virtual press briefing on Tuesday, said Duterte had directed acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua to hasten the implementation of PhilSys.
“Ano po ang mandato ni Presidente kay Secretary Chua? Unang-una, ipatupad sa lalong mabilis na panahon ang national ID system (What is the President’s order to Secretary Chua? First and foremost, ensure the speedy implementation of national ID system),” Roque said.
Under RA 11055 or the PhilSys Act, all Filipino citizens and resident aliens will be issued a Phil ID that will serve as a valid proof of their identity.
The entire Luzon and some parts of Visayas and Mindanao have been placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
Nograles said the DSWD had given 445,580 food packs to displaced families due to Covid-19.
He added that some 445,580 standby stocks of family food packs from DSWD have already been prepositioned, in case LGUs will need emergency augmentation in the wake of the health crisis.
“The government continue to prioritize efforts to provide our people with the financial assistance needed to ensure that everyone can secure the basic necessities during the ECQ,” Nograles said. (PNA)