DBM: Nearly ₱200B released to DSWD for COVID-19 cash aid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 18) — The Department of Budget and Management says it has handed almost ₱199.98 billion to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for distribution to over 18 million low-income household during the enhanced community quarantine.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the government's Social Amelioration Program shall provide the 18 million families a monthly allowance of between ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 for up to two months. The actual amount that a beneficiary family receives will depend on the mnimum wage rates prevailing in the area where they live.

The assistance fund also covers 4.4 million "poorest" households who currently receive monthly allowances under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, according to the DSWD.

The Budget department said on Saturday it has released a total of six allotments to the DSWD since the law’s enactment in March 24.

On April 1, allotments of ₱3,266,085,000, ₱620,890,000 and ₱43,630,846 were released to the DSWD, the budget agency said.

Another ₱100 billion was also released to the DSWD a day after, the DBM said.

On April 16, further allotments of ₱65,298,632,507 and ₱30,746,071,000 were given to the department, the DBM added.

“The combined released amount for the SAP is sourced from the pooled savings from discontinued unreleased appropriations consistent with Section 4(v) of the 'Bayanihan' Law, as well as from DSWD’s regular appropriations under the FY 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and its continuing appropriations under the FY 2019 GAA,” the DBM said.

The department also said it will evaluate an additional ₱5 billion allotment requested by the DSWD for its administrative expenses in implementing the SAP upon submitting required supporting documents consistent with budgeting laws, rules, and regulations.

Earlier this month, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista said they started distributing subsidies to qualified families on April 3, shortly after the release of the ₱100 billion emergency fund to their office.

The department also said that as of April 15 it had provided over ₱67 billion worth of subsidies to more than 1,200 local governments for distribution to the intended beneficiaries.