- The DSWD revealed that P10 billion remain undistributed as cash aid this quarantine and considered it as “savings”
- The remaining amount was due to the elimination of beneficiaries with “double compensation”
- Senators expressed their frustration; saying many citizens are still waiting for the cash aid, especially that the MECQ status was back in Metro Manila in August
In a budget hearing on Tuesday, September 22, the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) disclosed that there is still P10 billion left in the budget supposedly to be given as cash aid as part of the Bayanihan law.
The undispensed amount resulted from 4 million beneficiaries not receiving the cash aid of P5,000 to P8,000 because of “double compensation”. The government agency then considered it as “savings”.
Upon learning, many senators were dismayed and expressed their frustrations.
“The DSWD should give the P10 billion to the poor, which did not receive the second tranche of SAP. Huwag po nating tipirin ang tulong natin sa ating mga kababayan,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said.
He added that the government needed to spend within the remaining months of the year to ignite the economy. 5.2 million Filipino households need to be fed and 7 million Filipinos should be provided with jobs and assistance to put up businesses.
Senator Risa Hontiveros stressed that this should have been given since Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces were back to MECQ status last August.
Senator Angara counted on the DSWD to distribute the funds to those needing it.
“These were emergency funds after all which were diverted from other government programs to react to the damage caused to families and individuals affected by COVID-19.”
Even Senator Nancy Binay, in an interview by Dobol B sa News TV, shared the same sentiments, especially that there are jeepney drivers who need financial assistance and Taal victi
ms are still in evacuation centers.
For Senator Panfilo Lacson, the DSWD should have used the money because hundreds of thousands of mouths are still hopeful of receiving aid from the government rather than declaring them as savings.
The DSWD said that the P10 billion “savings” are to be given as P15,000 livelihood assistance to more than 600,000 families. President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to approve it.