Cebu City dads authorize Labella to enter into MOA with DSWD
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City government is now ready to implement the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
This after the City Council authorized Mayor Edgardo Labella during a special session held on Monday evening, April 6, 2020, to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the agency that is tasked to oversee program implementation.
The MOA will allow the national government to download P823 million that will be distributed to qualified beneficiaries in the city at P6, 000 each.
When signed, the MOA will allow the Cebu City government to use its existing manpower in the distribution of the assistance at the barangay level.
It will also allow the barangays to identify the informal economy settlers or those with an income bracket of P22,000 or less per year.
Assistant Director Shalaine Lucero of the DSWD in Central Visayas said they trust the capabilities of the barangays to identify who among their constituents will qualify for the release of the P6,000 cash aid.
Qualified SAP beneficiaries include existing beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and Listahan ng Mahihirap.
But since they were already included in the DSWD list since 2015, their SAP allocation will automatically be deposited to their cash cards.
Officials of the 80 barangays in Cebu City will only be left to identify 122,000 qualified beneficiaries who are not yet listed in any of the existing DSWD programs.
Cebu City, a densely populated urban poor community, is expected to receive a bigger SAP allocation from the Department of Finance, enough to help its low-income households.
“We understand (that) it is difficult for the LGU but if we stick to the guidelines of the Bayanihan Act, identifying the beneficiaries will be simple,” Lucero told Council members during the session.
While he supports the immediate signing of the MOA, Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President Franklyn Ong expressed apprehension on the selection of the SAP beneficiaries. He expressed worry that errors in the selection process would backfire on city and barangay officials.
Ong said that it cannot be denied that even those who are not qualified to receive the assistance would want a share of the financial aid.
“Kami mag problema ana,” Ong said.
(We (at the barangays) will have to address these problems.)
Councilor Niña Mabatid asked Lucero if it was possible for the barangays to provide manpower assistance to DSWD personnel who will be doing the selection of qualified beneficiaries.
Lucero said that this kind of setup could result in delays in the release of the cash aid.
Councilor Alvin Dizon urged the DSWD to publicly announce the guidelines for the SAP.
Despite their apprehensions, Council members still authorized Labella to enter into MOA with DSWD to especially fast track the profiling of qualified beneficiaries and the distribution of the assistance.
Councilor Alvin Raymond Garcia told CDN Digital that the P823 million allocation will immediately be downloaded to the city as soon as Labella signs the MOA.
To further look into their concerns on the program implementation, Councilors agreed to discuss the program rules and regulations during their regular session on Wednesday, April 8. / dcb
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