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Around 3.2M beneficiaries receive 2nd tranche of COVID-19 cash aid —DSWD

Around 3.2 million beneficiaries have so far received the second tranche of emergency cash subsidy for low-income households, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported Thursday.

"As of July 16, the DSWD has disbursed the emergency subsidy for 3.2 million beneficiaries with an equivalent amount of P19.4 billion," said DSWD Undersecretary Danilo Pamonag said during the hybrid hearing of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.

"This is an additional 1.8 million beneficiaries from the 1.3 million we reported to this Congress last week," he added.

Pamonag said they are targeting to complete the distribution of the cash subsidies to all beneficiaries by the end of July.

However, he noted that some payouts may still extend until August as there are factors that could delay the distribution of these funds.

For one, Pamonag said there may be mobility constraints in reaching far-flung or geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas, which could take a day or two to reach.

He added that delays may also occur if implementers of the Social Amelioration Program need to undergo 14-day quarantine upon exposure to COVID-19 cases.

At the same time, Pamonag said there may be difficulties in reaching conflict-affected areas due to security threats, for which case they are closely coordinating with the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In the previous hearing, Deputy Speaker Dan Fernandez suggested that the DSWD forge a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with malls, supermarkets, drugstores and other similar establishments that could provide basic necessities so that they could fast-track the distribution to the intended beneficiaries.

DSWD Undersecretary Felicisimo Budiongan on Thursday's hearing reported that the drafting of the MOA is currently ongoing.

"The department is already bidding through framework agreement modality. Nakakuha tayo ng multi-year obligation authority. So nagbi-bid tayo ng multi-year contract for the supply and delivery of components," he said.

"A technical working group is now drafting the guidelines for the coupon system as an alternative mode of relief distribution during disasters. And also the department is now in talks with possible partners," he added.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, around 18 million low-income households belonging to the informal sector will be targeted to receive monthly emergency subsidies amounting to P5,000 to P8,000 for two months. —LDF, GMA News