According to presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr., the target recipients are allotted cash assistance ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 even if Metro Manila and other areas are placed under eased restriction in a general community quarantine (GCQ) beginning June 1 amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Presidential photo/Joey Dalumpines
Qualified households to still get SAP under GCQ
(The Philippine Star) - May 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — All qualified beneficiaries of the social amelioration program (SAP) living in areas categorized under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from May 16 to 31 are still included in the government’s cash relief package, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said yesterday.

According to Roque, the target recipients are allotted cash assistance ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 even if Metro Manila and other areas are placed under eased restriction in a general community quarantine (GCQ) beginning June 1 amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Roque said the program would continue until the P100 million is used up, noting that they have not started because they are readying electronic transfers so transactions will be paperless and faceless.

The electronic transfer as a means of distribution will cause some delay but the second tranche of the SAP has been rolled out.

Those who could not be reached by electronic transfer would get their aid with the help of the military.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum dated May 22 ordering the fast implementation of the second tranche of SAP for 17 million targeted beneficiaries.

“While it is only natural that most beneficiaries would come from those still living in enhanced community quarantine areas, as stricter kinds of community quarantine deprive more people of means of support, household beneficiaries most affected by the continuing restrictions in the operation of certain industries and sectors in areas under a general community quarantine may still be considered for the second tranche,” Medialdea said.

To accelerate the delivery of SAP benefits to qualified beneficiaries, Medialdea also directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Information and Communications Technology and the National Privacy Commission to work together for the creation of the online portal.

This will contain the list of eligible household beneficiaries of the SAP.

Medialdea said that converting records to digital form will promote efficiency and transparency of the program.

Health and the economy

As this developed, Roque justified yesterday the move to shift to less strict GCQ in Metro Manila and other areas.

He said the government weighed the need to maintain good health and economic factors in deciding the transition of Metro Manila and some regions to GCQ and the rest to modified GCQ.

Since the crisis started last March, Roque said the government has been focused on dealing with the public health emergency, resulting in the lockdown and stoppage of the economy.

More than two months since the first quarantine procedures, Roque said the government has to address the need to return to work by majority of the population – this time to avoid hunger.

He noted that the government has improved immensely on its medical facilities, thereby ready to provide testing and treatment services to COVID-19 patients.

If there would be no significant changes, Roque explained that COVID-19 cases would be classified as mild or asymptomatic.

Leisure travel or local tours remain prohibited under GCQ.

The same goes for amusement, entertainment and leisure industry, the Palace official said.

Under GCQ, public transportation will be allowed to resume operations on a limited capacity.

“So, we will gradually return to normal. But we still encourage all employers to have a structure wherein 50 percent will be allowed to work from home, while the remaining 50 percent work in sites,” Roque said.

The government through the Civil Service Commission is also implementing the same setup.

The DSWD said that it needed to validate the liquidation reports to be submitted by all local government units (LGUs) that distributed the SAP before second tranche distribution could commence.

Irene Dumlao, DSWD Social Marketing Service officer-in-charge director, said the validation is a must.

“We hope to complete validation of (the) first tranche beneficiaries so we could proceed with the payout of the second tranche,” Dumlao told reporters.

Dumlao also clarified that it will be the DSWD that will handle the funds and not the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine National Police, which the President had tapped to help in the distribution of the second tranche.

Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista confirmed the other day the greatly reduced role of LGUs in the distribution of the second tranche of the emergency cash aid for some 23 million low-income, vulnerable families to help them survive the impact of the pandemic. Christina Mendez, Rainier Allan Ronda

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