May emergency subsidies to be delayed if LGU fails to report April payouts – DSWD
MANILA, Philippines – Nearing the last week of April, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Thursday, April 23, that emergency subsidy payouts for the month of May will be delayed for localities whose governments do not submit a liquidation report on time.
As of April 22, the DSWD said it has disbursed P75.7 billion to 1,456 local government units (LGUs). However, only, P27.9 billion has been released to 5.7 million beneficiaries. (TRACKER: DSWD assistance during coronavirus crisis)
This is only around 31% of the 18 million target beneficiaries under the government's emergency subsidy program (ESP). The Bayanihan to Heal as One Act mandates the government to give cash aid to 18 million poor families through the ESP for April and May to assist them amid the coronavirus lockdown.
The DSWD earlier said it expects the April payouts to be completed by the end of the month. Local governments have 15 days to submit a liquidation report following the completion of distribution, based on the department's omnibus guidelines for social amelioration.
However, the DSWD will hold the funds for the May distribution for LGUs that do not submit on time.
"May pondo na maaaring ipamahagi sa buwan ng Mayo. Pag hindi natapos ng LGUs [ang cash distribution ng Abril], makakaapekto nga po ito sa pag-pay out ng second tranche. Mapipilitan ang DSWD na hindi muna i-download ang 2nd tranche sa kung sino mang LGU na hindi makapag-pasa ng liquidation report sa tamang panahon," said DSWD Undersecretary Rene Paje.
(There is a fund allotted for the month of May. If the LGUs do not finish cash distribution before the month ends, this will affect the payouts of the second wave. The DSWD will be forced not to download the second tranche to any LGU that does not pass its liquidation report on time.)
Local governments' responsibility
Paje cited the omnibus guidelines in saying the LGUs have full responsiblity to ensure the timely delivery of payouts to beneficiaries and file liquidation reports.
Local governments will also bear the responsibility if there are cases where an unqualified family receives subsidy. The local government must return the money to the DSWD.
At least 12.3 million families still wait for aid to come from the government. Both local government officials and families in need have experienced inconveniences and prolonged hunger due to the faulty implementation of the ESP and other amelioration programs.
DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista earlier acknowledged "shortcomings" in the ESP's implementation. He said the agency expected local governments to "memorize" profiles of their constituents.
"Kami po sa ahensya ay muling humihingi ng pag-unawa, at batid namin na marami ang naghihintay ng pagtustos ng kanilang mga pangunahing pangangailangan. Pinagsisikapan naming gampanan, katuwang ng ibang ahensya... na maging maayos ang pamamahagi ng ating mga ayuda," said Paje.
(We at the agency ask for your understanding, and we know that many are still waiting for the provision of their basic needs. We are working with other agencies to ensure the proper distribution of payouts.)
As of April 22, there have been 6,710 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 446 deaths and 693 recoveries. – Rappler.com