DSWD misses target anew; only 14.1M households get cash aid

By: Patricia Denise M. Chiu - Philippine Daily Inquirer | August 05,2020 - 08:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has again missed its end-July target for emergency cash subsidies for the poorest of the poor despite less beneficiaries and supposedly more experience from the distribution of the first tranche of the Social Amelioration Program.

In an online press briefing, DSWD Undersecretary Glen Paje said from the initial 17 million target household beneficiaries, they now have only about 14.1 million households to serve.

As of Aug. 4, over P62.5 billion in emergency cash aid has been distributed to 9.6 million household-beneficiaries, or about 69 percent of the targeted 14.1million households, Paje said.

Initially, the DSWD said about 17 million households would receive P5,000 to P8,000 in aid for the month of May.

However, DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao clarified after the briefing that the number shrank since they expected local government units to submit 5 million waitlisted households, or households that were qualified but did not receive emergency cash aid in the first tranche.

“The initial target for waitlisted was 5 million household-beneficiaries, however, submissions from LGUs (local government units) only account to 3.2 million,” Dumlao said.

The number of beneficiaries further contracted after duplicates, ineligibles and those who voluntary returned cash aid were removed from the list.

According to data provided by the DSWD, as of July 26, there were 675,933 duplicates, 239,859 ineligibles, and 58,725 who voluntarily returned cash aid.

However, despite the comparatively lower number of beneficiaries, and the use of financial service providers for quicker and contactless disbursements, the DSWD still missed its own self-imposed deadline to finish the second tranche distribution, or at least reach 80 percent by the end of July.

Undersecretary Paje said that while they have set Aug. 15 as the new deadline for completion, they expected delays due to the reimposition of the modified enhanced community (MECQ) quarantine for certain areas, including Metro Manila.

When asked what kind of aid the DSWD would provide to those who will be affected by the two-week MECQ, Paje said they would augment the family food packs for LGUs, and would continue its regular programs such as Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation, as well as the social pension for senior citizens.

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