Duterte: More than 350,000 SAP beneficiaries have yet to receive aid

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Duterte: More than 350,000 SAP beneficiaries have yet to receive aid
In this May 4, 2020, some 3,818 beneficiaries of Social Amelioration Program in Barangay Pasong Tamo in Quezon City lined up early morning for the cash aid distribution.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, File

MANILA, Philippines — More than 350,000 target beneficiaries of the government's subsidy program for sectors affected by quarantine restrictions have not yet received aid, a report submitted by President Rodrigo Duterte to Congress showed.

Data cited in Duterte's tenth report on the government's response to the coronavirus showed that the social amelioration program (SAP), which provides cash aid to households sidelined by the pandemic, has served 17,579,395 beneficiaries as of May 29. It was equivalent to 98% of the 17,938,422 estimated beneficiaries of the program.

Based on the data, a total of 359,027 have not received assistance from the first tranche of SAP, which started last April.

Of the 17.58 million beneficiaries who received aid, about 4.22 are enrolled in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino cash transfer program or 4Ps. The bulk of the beneficiaries, 13.29 million of them, are not 4Ps recipients.

The 4Ps provides financial assistance to families who send their children to school and avail of the state's health services. The remaining 62,028 beneficiaries who received aid from the first tranche of SAP are transport workers in Metro Manila.

The government has allotted P101.42 billion for the program and has so far disbursed P100.68 billion.

A total of P99.25 billion has been distributed to beneficiaries. About P81.68 billion went to non-4Ps beneficiaries, P18.5 billion were given to 4Ps recipients, and P496 million were distributed to public transportation drivers.

While the distribution of the first tranche of SAP has not been fully completed, the government is preparing for the implementation of the second wave of the program.

Duterte said as of May 27, a total of 1,259 local government units have submitted to the interior department their list of household beneficiaries who were left out or waitlisted during the first tranche.

He said the social welfare department is finalizing the joint memorandum circular that would implement his directive to include additional households as beneficiaries of SAP. The government aims to include five million households in the program, which originally sought to help 18 million families.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said SAP beneficiaries would continue to receive aid even if quarantine restrictions have been relaxed.

"The basis is the classification of your area during the second month of ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) or MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine). If you live in the areas that were under ECQ or MECQ, you would still receive aid even if it's already June," Roque said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

Roque said the government is working on ways to distribute assistance through electronic cash transfer.

"It has not started yet but once it starts, it would be fast because we will rely primarily on electronic transfers," the Palace spokesman said.

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