Go seeks improved COVID-19 aid

April 16, 2020
Bong Go

SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has called on concerned national government agencies and local government units to work together to resolve issues on conflicting lists of beneficiaries and improve the distribution system for the government’s social amelioration program for the Filipinos affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

“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 on Wednesday, April 15.

“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 mentioned that the LGUs must work hand-in-hand with DSWD through its local offices to resolve discrepancies.

“Since some LGUs have encountered issues on the actual number of beneficiaries who are qualified to receive the emergency subsidy, LGUs must work together with the DSWD and its local offices so that their lists can be reconciled accurately and immediately,” Go said.

He added, “LGUs naman po ang nakakaalam ng aktwal na kalagayan ng mga nasasakupan nila at ang DSWD naman ang maniniguro na ang distribution ay magiging ‘fair and equitable’ lalo na sa mga pinaka-nangangailangan.”

Go emphasized that according to DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, the DSWD is already providing the cash assistance to four million 4Ps beneficiaries considered as the poorest of the poor. Distribution for identified beneficiaries belonging in the vulnerable and informal sectors is also ongoing.

“Katulad ng sinabi ni Sec. Bautista ng DSWD, naging mabilis ang pagbibigay ng ayuda sa apat na milyong 4Ps beneficiaries. Subalit, dahil unang pagkakataong nagbigay ang gobyerno ng ayuda sa mas pinalawak na programa, kailangang magtulungan ang LGUs at DSWD para maayos na ang distribution,” Go said.

“Hinihikayat ko ang mga LGUs at ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino na merong nakikitang discrepancy sa datos, i-report po ninyo sa DSWD mismo. Ayusin na natin kung meron mang nakikitang problema,” he added.

According to DSWD, if there are families that may be left out from the initial list, those shall be submitted to DSWD for validation and, if found to be entitled, the list will be submitted to IATF for endorsement for additional funding.

In Manila alone, the government is currently conducting a pilot implementation of the “ReliefAgad” system. If successful, DSWD will use the system for the second tranche of the emergency subsidy distribution.

“Ang prayoridad natin ngayon ay mabigyan ng ayuda ang pinaka-mahihirap. ‘Yung mga hindi maisama sa eighteen million families para sa emergency cash subsidy, mayroon ring mga programa ang gobyerno na makakatulong sa iba pang mga apektadong mamamayan,” Go explained.

Starting from the poorest of the poor, around eighteen million Filipino family-beneficiaries are receiving assistance from the DSWD for two months under the Social Amelioration Program.

DOLE also has an existing COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) for affected workers in the formal sector and it consists of a one-time P5,000 cash assistance and employment facilitation services.

“After sa DOLE, ang DOF at Social Security System naman po ang magbibigay ng tulong. Hinihimay po ng mabuti to avoid duplication. Ito naman yung sa mga MSMEs natin para naman maitawid rin sila... Ang importante 'yung tiyan ng bawat Pilipino, walang magugutom dapat,” he added.

Some 3.4 million workers will benefit from the subsidy program for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) employees that was recently introduced by the Department of Finance.

Go also clarified that according to DSWD, barangay health workers (BHW) and barangay nutrition scholars from low income families are also included in the social amelioration program.

“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.