MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers blamed yesterday the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), citing the requirement for beneficiaries of the government’s social amelioration program (SAP) to personally appear at barangay halls to fill out forms needed for the cash aid.
“The personal appearance policy has been stated in a circular issued by the DSWD, which is a requirement to get cash aid,” Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor said.
The beneficiaries were instructed to go to the barangays to apply for SAP. Why should the people be made to go out of their homes and violate social distancing rules when there is a lockdown? he added.
Defensor, who chairs the House committee on public accounts, said the DSWD’s policy may have helped worsen the health crisis.
The House committee on good government chaired by Bulacan Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado is looking into alleged irregularities in the distribution of SAP.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano slammed DSWD officials on Monday, noting that the House should not have rushed the passage of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act in March if they knew that the beneficiaries of the doleouts would suffer.
Cayetano said under the law, the cash subsidy should have been distributed in a span of only 10 days.
Around 18 million low-income families were supposed to get cash assistance worth P5,000 to P8,000, depending on the region, for April and May.
Cayetano scored the DSWD’s 30-step process in the distribution of SAP, which he described as “tedious, inadequate, slow and insensitive.”
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.ca