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If unfairly excluded in SAP list

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc - Columnist/CDN Digital | May 01,2020 - 07:00 AM

 

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) does not just kill people. There are other effects. The quarantine, for example, makes not a few feel depressed for apparent reasons. This is the reason psychologists and psychiatrists advise us to release such kind of feeling. Some cannot just endure staying at home for too long. But if we are to collectively survive, we have to pay the price.

The story does not end there. Since the government cannot allow its people to die of hunger, it has taken steps to prevent this, among such steps is the implementation of Social Amelioration Program or SAP.

There is no question the program helps a lot of families. However, the deluge of concerns on the listing of beneficiaries and the distribution of the SAP cannot be discounted. Despite appeals from the national government to make the listing and distribution fair and square, the same appeals must have fallen on some deaf ears.

I will not say all complaints are true. Some are products of misconceptions. The first misconception is that the program embraces everybody. There are guidelines or criteria to follow, such as that one must belong to those who are most in need and without income during the quarantine.

We know that since the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) does not have enough personnel to identify the beneficiaries, the help of the barangay officials are being tapped. I believe there are honest barangay officials. On the other hand, we cannot discount the possibility that there are those, who are taking advantage of the opportunity by listing down those who are closest to them politically or otherwise. We can invoke until we are blue that the barangay officials are and should not be political. We simply know it’s not true. The virus of politics is very much alive at the barangay level.

The barangay officials — a great number of them — are under the bunal (dictates) of mayors, congressmen or governors. Therefore, the charge that there are lists of beneficiaries that are based on political alliances and loyalty is not without basis.

Let me, however, hasten to say that there are barangay officials who are doing their tasks well. For some, these days may not be the best time to become a  barangay official for there are people who attack you, sometimes physically, on sheer doubt that you are selective in listing the beneficiaries.

To unfairly accuse the public servants who are doing their job well is to discourage good public service.

We must, therefore, be fair towards each other. Let us give credit where credit is due. What is the recourse of those aggrieved or those who believe they have been unfairly excluded? They can file a complaint with the office of the social welfare and development office. There is a process to follow. Rights are to be invoked. If we think we have been deprived of what is rightly ours, then by all means, we must take steps to fight for it. We cannot just rave and rant.

I understand there are inconveniences when we complain. But if we keep silent and do nothing, we will not also achieve anything. It’s a choice./dbs

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