5 million more families to receive first tranche of cash aid, second wave to cover only ECQ areas

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 12) - Five million more families are set to be included in the first tranche of the government's social amelioration program, while only those in areas under enhanced community quarantine will receive the second wave of subsidy, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed this during his press briefing where he gave updates on which areas will transition to new quarantine rules starting next week.

"Naaprubahan na po hindi lang 18 million ang mabibigyan ng SAP sa first tranche, nadagdagan na po ng limang milyon," Roque said.

[Translation: The government has approved not just the 18 million beneficiaries of the first tranche of SAP, five million more were added.]

That means a total of 23 million low-income households which may receive the first tranche of cash aid.

For the second wave of subsidy, Roque clarified beneficiaries will be limited to areas under enhanced community quarantine, citing limited funds approved by Congress.

"Dahil limitado lamang po ang pondong inaprubahan ng kongreso, yung mabibigyan lamang sa second tranche ay iyon lamang mga nananatili sa ECQ na idineklara noong pangalawang buwan ng ating Pangulo," he said.

[Translation: Because limited funds have been approved by Congress, those who will receive the second tranche are those from areas which are still under the ECQ on the second month, as declared by the President.]

Roque said 92.3 percent of beneficiaries have received the first wave of cash assistance to date.

Meanwhile, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista said in a separate briefing that it will use the list submitted by LGUs on waitlisted families who were left out in the distribution.

"Nagpasa po ang ating lokal na pamahalaan ng waitlisted na kwalipikadong pamilya na hindi nabigyan ng social amelioration sa kanilang lugar. Ito po ang gagawing basis para sa karagdagang limang milyong pamilya," he said.

[Translation: Local government units have passed their list of waitlisted families qualified for social amelioration in their corresponding areas. This will be used by the agency as basis for the five million additional families.]

Bautista added that 16.3 million families have already received the aid, with 1,035 out of 1,634 LGUs that finished payouts. The Department of Interior and Local Government earlier said as of Sunday, 77.42 percent of 1,265 out of 1,634 LGUs have completed the rollout. It's unclear why there is a discrepancy in the numbers they cite of LGUs that have competed aid distribution.

A total of ₱92.1 billion has been released under the subsidy's first tranche so far. The DSWD said it will wait for a written directive from Malacañang on the implementation of the second tranche.

The DSWD is also studying the use of mobile phones and "digital wallets" to minimize health risks during distribution.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the national government has allotted ₱200-billion-worth of aid for those most affected by the pandemic. Subsidy ranges from ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 per household per tranche, depending on the minimum wage level in a region. The first tranche was originally scheduled in April and the second one in May.