Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia proposed giving of food packs instead of cash to beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) amid protestations from local chief executives on the manner that the program has been delivered to their constituents.
This, as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Cebu Province said the national government is expected to release the third tranche once President Rodrigo Duterte signs Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.
“Maybe it’s important nga naay food packs, mahurot na og gasto sa food packs or issue mo og coupons. Let’s stop issuing cash, daghan sad gusto kay kwarta gud…nahimo na hinuon nga parisitic ang mga utok sa mga tawo kay doleout man,” Garcia said in a meeting she called with the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu and the DILG on Friday, September 4.
In the meeting, the mayors expressed their questions and grievances on how the program had instead caused them undue stress, as their constituents blame them for not getting the second wave of the government financial assistance.
LMP-Cebu President and Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco, who represents the 44 mayors and six component cities of the province, asked the DILG when they will get the list of beneficiaries that were taken out and the reason behind it.
Frasco said they need the list because this will serve as their basis for explaining to their constituents the reason that they were taken out.
“But if there is palpak when it comes to payout to these money transmittal, kami gihapon ang pasanginlan,” Frasco said.
City of Naga Mayor Kristine Chiong, for her part, said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) lacked time and coordination with the local government units (LGUs) and the public when it decided to distribute the second tranche of the cash assistance.
Many of her constituents were surprised why they did not receive the cash aid, she added.
The second tranche only caused confusion and the disenfranchisement of some of the names in the list of beneficiaries, Talisay City Mayor Gerard Anthony “Samsam” Gullas said.
Meanwhile, Carcar City Mayor Mercy Apura urged the DSWD to consider those who recently resumed work to be included in the list of those who barely make ends meet while eking out a living.
DSWD Assistant Regional Director Shalaine Lucero explained during the meeting that a review is now being undertaken for those who were declared ineligible of SAP.
“Aron ni masiguro nga ang rason sa pagka-ineligible tugma gayud, part gyud siya sa disqualification,” she said.
She disclosed that out of the 583,000 SAP beneficiaries in the Province, there are about 55,000 who were considered to have some issues or were not deserving of the government cash aid.
Lucero said they expect to release the “corrected” list to the LGUs by the second week of September so “sila makatabang sad namo pag explain sa mga beneficiaries o mga pamilya kon nganong wala sila makadawat og social amelioration.”
“Dili ni one-time-big-time release kon dili amak-amak or hinay-hinay as soon as makumpleto ang mga local government unit,” she assured.
On the first week of August, Malacañang announced it will provide another wave of the cash dole-out for residents residing under enhanced community quarantine.
The program’s funding will be included in the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 which is expected to be signed by Duterte within the week or next week, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
“Since ang Bayanihan 2 himoan pa man na og guidelines sa atoang Inter-Agency Task Force Technical Working Group, magpaabot ta kon unsa ang sunod niini, kinsa ang mahatagan ug unsa na pud ang pamaagi sa pagpanghatag,” the DILG official said.
Food packs or coupons?
Lucero welcomed the governor’s suggestion while looking at the cost of implementing this type of distribution.
“That is actually a welcome suggestion. In fact, akong na-share ni Gov nga during the time of former (DSWD) Secretary (Dinky) Soliman na-float nana nga idea nga we will issue coupons during emergencies. But that was designed for disaster. Now kani disaster man sad ni ang pandemic but ang magnitude of the people affected is just so big,” she said.
“But it is a welcome suggestion and I agree that it is also one thing that will avoid aning mga pagbinoang sa ayuda nga madawat gikan sa gobyerno,” Lucero added. (Vanessa Almeda, Sheila Gravinez)