CNN Philippines — Around 77,000 more families have received cash aid to cushion them from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the Social Welfare Department announced Monday.
Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista said 77,244 low-income families who are not Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries have received cash aid, which amounts between ₱5,000 and ₱8,000 per indigent family as mandated by the Bayanihan to Heal as One law.
Bautista said this totals to ₱424 million.
This is on top of the 3.7 million 4Ps beneficiaries who have also received cash aid last week, which Bautista said amounts to ₱16.3-billion.
Bautista also said they have transferred ₱48 billion for aid to local government units and social welfare development offices, and ₱800 million more for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“Inaasahan natin na tataas pa ang bilang ng mga benepisyo na nakatanggap ng SAP (social amelioration program) emergency cash subsidy dahil tuloy-tuloy ang ating isinasagawang payout nationwide katuwang ang iba’t-ibang local government units at national government agencies,” Bautista said.
Among the key provisions of the Bayanihan to Heal as One law, which gave President Rodrigo Duterte special powers, is the provision of a ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 monthly allowance for two months to indigent families.
Lawmakers, however, are still seeking clarity on the distribution of cash aid to poor households — three weeks after they granted Duterte additional powers to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.
They also want clearer guidelines on the distribution, which has so far left out some of the intended beneficiaries.
The Social Welfare Department is so far letting local government units sort out the distribution of cash aid, expecting that they would know who among their constituents are part of the 18 million households who should receive assistance.
“Nakasaad po sa Local Government Code na ang LGU po ang nagpo-provide ng basic social welfare services sa kanilang constituents … Sila ang nakakaalam at naa-identify nila kung sino ba ang low-income sector, sino nasa informal sector,” Bautista said.
Bautista said they are giving enough leeway for local governments to distribute cash aid from the Social Welfare Department, but acknowledged that certain factors may delay its distribution.
“Gusto man natin na mapabilis yung pagbibigay ng ayuda, kaya lang, siyempre kailangan nating makipag-coordinate sa LGU. Sabi nga natin, mayroon rin silang mga ina-assess na mga sitwasyon. Maaring security situation, maaring accessibility sa mga gamit na transportasyon,” he said.
[Translation: Even if we want to fast track the distribution of aid, we still need to coordinate with LGUs. As we said, they are also assessing their situation. This may be a security situation or accessibility to transportation equipment.]