Thousands of Metro Manila families left out of COVID-19 assistance fund
Hundreds of thousands of households that local government units in Metro Manila have identified as beneficiaries of the social amelioration fund in connection with the government's COVID-19 response have so far been left out of the program.
According to Victoria Tulad's report on "24 Oras", there have been discrepancies in the data of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the local government units in the national capital region.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said 102,000 beneficiary households had been identified in the Taguig when the city's census showed that it had 270,000 households.
Cayetano said Manila Mayor Isko Moreno had the same problem with 360,000 approved beneficiaries when the city had 560,000 households.
In Caloocan City, Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan said only half of the households would receive COVID-19 assistance funds.
“Supposedly, dapat 400,000 kami eh ngayon 200,000 plus na lang. Eh siyempre binabudget din nila,” Caloocan Mayor Oscar Malapitan told GMA News.
Asked if the local government could afford paying for the cash assistance of families left out of the social amelioration program, Malapitan said, “Bilyon ‘yon. Hindi kaya.”
In Pasig, out of the 216,000 families that the city government has identified to receive funds from the government’s social amelioration program, only over 93,000 have been approved to receive the aid.
The Office of City Social Welfare and Development of Pasig has also been on the receiving end of frustration from residents who have become desperate for cash aid amid the coronavirus threat.
Several Pasig residents have gone to Bahay Aruga to ask when the promised financial assistance will be distributed, including 64-year-old Violeta Manipol whose husband is a senior citizen and person with disability.
“Ako’y hirap na hirap na... Sa panahon ngayon, mas lalo pong mas mahirap. Kung puwede nga lang susuko na ako pero hindi ko kayang sukuan. Awang-awa po ako sa kaniya,” she said. “Simula po nung COVID-19, hindi po kami nabibigyan ng rasyon.”
Marikina submitted its list of 135,000 aid beneficiaries to the DSWD last week.
However, they were later on informed that only less than half of the families on the list will receive aid.
“Ang inaasahan natin, tulad ng sinabi, ay lahat. Kaya pati ang mga tao, ang mga nasa komunidad, umaasa na lahat,” Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said.
“Pati ang mga nasa lokal na pamahalaan ay ganito ang inaasahan. Ngunit no’ng lumabas ‘yung final allocation, nakita namin na mayroong quota na naka-allocate.”
Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista indicated that it was expected that some local government units would go beyond the "indicative target beneficiaries"
"Ang advice namin sa LGU ay kunin lang po yung talagang validated na target beneficiary na hindi nakasama sa number," Bautista said.
"'Yung over and above po, i-consolidate po nila at isa-submit po yun sa DSWD," he added,
Bautista said the economic managers are looking into recommending setting aside additional funds for the amelioration program.
"Ayoko lang pong pangunahan ang ating mga economic managers. Ang ginagawa nila ngayon at pinag-aaralan po nila at mag-rerekomenada po yata sila sa ating mahal na pangulo ng additional po," Bautista said. -NB, GMA News