MANILA – An additional five million families will receive the first tranche of emergency subsidies under the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP), Malacañang said on Saturday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the five million Filipino families will be in addition to the 18 million low-income households who are existing beneficiaries of SAP.
Around 23 million SAP beneficiaries will now be provided cash aid worth between PHP5,000 and PHP8,000 amid the enforcement of quarantine protocols to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country.
During its meeting held Friday, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) agreed to fulfill President Rodrigo Duterte’s pledge to help Filipino families who are in need amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Roque said.
“Ang mabuting balita, 18 million plus five million na ang mabibigyan ng first tranche ng ayuda under the Social Amelioration Program. Ito ay patunay na unang-una, tumutupad sa pangako ang ating Presidente (Good news is, 18 million, plus five million, will get the first tranche of assistance under Social Amelioration Program. It proves the President is fulfilling his vow),” Roque said.
Under the PHP200-billion SAP, the original number of poor households who will get the emergency subsidies is 18 million.
Roque said Duterte wanted to grant cash aid to an additional five million families, especially those who are residing in areas that are placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“Alam ni Presidente kung gaano kahirap ang buhay sa ilalim ng ECQ. At alinsunod sa kaniyang pangako na gagastusin niya ang lahat ng kaban ng bayan para po makinabang ang mga mamamayan (The President knows how difficult life is. And it is in line with his promise to spend public funds to help his fellow Filipinos),” he said.
The latest development came after some local government units (LGUs) were given a seven-day extension to finish the distribution of the national government’s cash assistance to poor families affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
All LGUs were initially mandated to distribute all the emergency subsidies to SAP beneficiaries by April 30.
Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, however, announced Thursday that LGUs in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan, Cebu City, and Davao City will be given another seven days or until April 7 to distribute the financial aid to low-income households.
Other LGUs experiencing payout problems have another four days or until April 4 to finish the distribution of emergency subsidies.
Roque said the government was apologetic over the delays in the distribution of the first tranche of cash assistance to poor families.
“Siguro po ito’y isang pamamaraan din para humingi ng pasensiya doon sa mga hindi nakatanggap dahil hanggang ngayon po ay nade-delay ang release ng first tranche (The latest move is also our way of apologizing for those who have yet to receive the cash aid due to the delays in the release of the first tranche of emergency subsidies),” he said.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista earlier said the second tranche of emergency subsidies would be distributed to LGUs once their liquidation reports are validated.
LGUs have so far disbursed PHP59.008 billion of the PHP93.276 billion downloaded to them by DSWD.
A total of 11 million poor families who are not part of the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) have already received the cash aid distributed by LGUs.
The emergency subsidies from the national government have likewise been distributed to some 7.259 million 4Ps beneficiaries who are part of SAP. (ia/PNA)