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P40-B in COVID-19 aid for poorest families thus far released –DSWD

The Department of Social Welfare and Development had released P40 billion of the P100 billion social amelioration aid/emergency subsidy to low-income families and the poorest households under the 4Ps program who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said that of the released amount, P341 million went to low-income families who are not 4Ps beneficiaries, P323 million went to public utility drivers, while the rest were for the 4Ps beneficiaries.

“Inaasahan po ang DSWD na tataas pa ang bilang ng mga beneficiaries na makakatanggap ng social amelioration at emergency subsidy dahil tuloy-tuloy po ang payouts ng field offices, kasama na po ang lokal na pamahalaan,” Dumlao said during a Laging Handa briefing.

The social amelioration aid is for 18 million low-income families, including senior citizens, affected by the enhanced community quarantine imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—a measure that banned mass transport and prohibited mass gatherings, resulting in work stoppages in many industries.

The 18 million beneficiaries of the social amelioration aid, however, were not 4Ps beneficiaries and senior citizens who received a monthly pension as retired professionals.

The emergency subsidy, on the other hand, was for the beneficiaries of the 4Ps or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program—a government initiative which grants monthly cash aid to the poorest households, provided that they comply with conditions promoting human development such as sending children to schools 85 percent of the time, attending family development sessions, having check-ups at health centers, among others.

The 4Ps has been the government’s flagship anti-poverty program since 2008.

The social amelioration aid was worth P5,000 to P8,000 per family, depending on the region’s minimum wage rate. As for the 4Ps beneficiaries, their monthly 4Ps cash grant was increased as an emergency subsidy to meet the determined threshold of the social amelioration aid rate depending on the region.

“Ito pong amount na ito ang close approximation na kakailanganin ng isang pamilya sa isang buwan, kaya hindi po dapat ito hatiin [para sa dalawang pamilya],” Dumlao said.

Dumlao, however, clarified that all was not lost on those who did not qualify for the social amelioration aid as they could appeal their case.

“Puede po sila umapela sa local social welfare and development officers, at ito po ang iva-validate ng DSWD,” Dumlao said.

The Philippines has at least 4,648 COVID-19 cases. Of this number, 297 had died while 197 others had recovered. — DVM, GMA News