1.3M poor households in Region 7 set to receive cash aid from DSWD

EACH of the 1.3 million low-income households in Central Visayas are set to receive P6,000 in cash aid anytime this month under the social amelioration program spearheaded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

This, after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released to the DSWD on Thursday, April 2, 2020, P100 billion to help 18 million poor households in the country.

The social amelioration program under Republic Act 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, aims to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19.) The distribution of financial assistance, however, is “subject to the level of need of the beneficiary.”

Beneficiaries

DSWD 7 assistant director Shalaine Marie Lucero said of the 1.3 million households that are set to benefit from the cash aid, around 294,000 households are Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) members while the rest of the beneficiaries are members of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT)-Listahanan and those qualified informal economy workers as identified by their local government units (LGUs).

Informal economy workers include pedicab, tricycle and habal-habal drivers, farmers, small sari-sari store owners, and the vulnerable sectors such as solo parents, pregnant and lactating women, indigenous people, persons with disability (PWDs) and the homeless.

Lucero said the cash aid will be given to the families where the beneficiaries belong, not to the individual beneficiaries.

She also clarified that the social amelioration for 4Ps beneficiaries is a top up to their regular UCT cash aid amounting to P1,350. An amount of P4,650 will be added to this amount for a total of P6,000.

The cash aid will automatically be downloaded to their cash cards.

For the Listahanan members and the informal economy workers, it will be the DSWD 7, in coordination with the LGUs, that will distribute the financial assistance.

Food packs

Moreover, Lucero said the distribution of food packs sourced from the National Government’s quick response fund will is an addition to the cash aid.

Lucero said distribution of food packs will depend on their assessment on the LGUs’ request. The LGUs, she said, will be guided on how to identify which families need the food packs.

She said a total of 3,240 food packs had been given to households and some stranded passengers who were not able to go home to their home provinces before the enhanced community quarantine in differen LGUs in Central Visayas.

Distributing forms

In Lapu-Lapu City, social workers and barangay personnel will distribute the social amelioration program forms at the doorsteps of the beneficiaries.

Mayor Junard Chan pointed out that only the City Government is authorized to print out the 37,000 blank forms on this. Each form will bear its corresponding serial number.

Chan warned beneficiaries of illegally reproduced forms since these will not be honored by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWD0).

Despite the stay-at-home order amid the continued spread of Covid-19, senior citizens and PWDs flocked to the CSWDO to avail themselves of the social amelioration program on Thursday, April 2.

There were also some residents whose entries were denied after social workers found that their forms were downloaded online.

He also stressed that recipients of the form would not mean that they are automatically qualified for the program since the final list of beneficiaries will depend on the assessment of the National Government.

Only one form is given per household to ensure that everyone gets a chance to avail themselves of the program.

Mandaue City system

Lawyer John Eddu Ibañez, the executive secretary of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, said the beneficiaries will fill up the social amelioration card to be submitted to the barangays.

From the barangays, the cards will be submitted to the city. The city will then endorse the cards to the DSWD for the final evaluation.

In a separate interview, Cortes clarified that the amelioration assistance is yet to be downloaded to the City, which still has to comply with the requirements required by the DSWD, including the profiling of the beneficiaries. (WBS, FVQ, RTF & KFD)