Only 104 out of the 1,632 local government units, or a measly 6 percent, have completed the distribution of social amelioration benefits on the April 30 deadline set by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“Sa ngayon, 104 LGUs out of 1,632 ang naka-100% payout,” Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista said in a press conference Thursday.
Under the Social Amelioration Program, some 18 million low-income families impacted by the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic will receive from P5,000 to P8,000 depending on their region's minimum wage.
Bautista said that of the P50 billion worth of social amelioration aid disbursed, P33 billion were distributed to 5.7 million low income families, while P16.4 billion were paid out to 3.7 families under the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program which is a government program for poorest families.
The remaining P323 million, on the other hand, were paid out to drivers of public utility vehicles and ride sharing services.
The distribution of the social amelioration aid has been marred with logistical issues as people tend to gather during payout, forgetting about social distancing measures.
Local government units also lamented that the DSWD allocation for aid beneficiaries is not enough to cover all low income families.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año recognized this problem, saying that the government is already considering extending the April 30 deadline.
“Pinag-aralan namin ni Secreatry Bautista…we are thinking of granting extension to these LGUs particularly National Capital Region, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, Cebu City and Davao City,” Año said.
“We will be providing them seven-days extension for them to liquidate immediately, para ma-prepare ang second tranche [ng amelioration benefit]. Itong extension [ng deadline] ay pagkilala sa mga LGUs natin na nakita naman nating nagtatrabaho,” Año added.
Luzon has been under enhanced community quarantine since March 16 to prevent COVID-19 transmission. —LDF, GMA News