SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go appealed to the national government agencies and local government units to immediately provide assistance to barangay tanods, health care (BHWs) and daycare workers as part of the list of recipients for the government's social amelioration program (SAP) amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health emergency after the Department of Social Welfare and Development has deemed them eligible for such benefits.
“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 frontliners ng ating mga barangay, lalo na sa kasalukuyang emergency na dinaranas ng bansa dulot ng COVID-19,” Go said.
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.
In a memorandum released by the agency on Friday, April 16, DSWD adopted the recommendation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to include the above-mentioned barangay functionaries as target beneficiaries of the program.
According to the recommendation, 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) and tanods as the frontliners 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,” Go appealed.
Around eighteen million low-income families and those in vulnerable sectors are targeted to receive monthly cash subsidies of an amount between P5,000 to P8,000, depending on regional wage rates, for two months as mandated by Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”. According to the DSWD, the government has released more than P60 billion to 1,228 local government units, which are in charge of the distribution of the cash assistance.
Meanwhile, around P67.5 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.
“Ayusin na natin agad kapag may mga nakikitang problema. Siguraduhin natin na magamit ang pondo ng tama, walang masayang, at maramdaman ng mga tao kahit sa malalayong lugar ang tulong mula sa gobyerno,” the Senator added.
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.