DSWD: AFP and PNP will distribute 2nd tranche of COVID-19 cash aid, not LGUs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 20) – Department of Social and Welfare Development Secretary Rolando Bautista announced that police and military officers will lead the distribution of the second tranche of the COVID-19 cash aid, instead of the local government units.

Bautista said President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the switch to further expedite the distribution of the second wave of the social amelioration program for 23 million families belonging to the informal sector.

The first tranche of the COVID-19 emergency aid was intended for 18 million families, but Duterte approved the inclusion of five million more families in the beneficiaries’ list last May 2.

Meron na kaming initial coordination sa liderato ng AFP at saka PNP para makatulong sila sa pagbibigay ng ayuda, lalong lalo na sa mga geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” Bautista reported during the taped meeting with the President on Tuesday night.

[Translation: We already have initial coordination with the leadership of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) to facilitate the distribution of cash aid, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.]

Also during the same meeting, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said the first wave of the distribution of COVID-19 emergency subsidy is 97 percent complete.

The Social Welfare Secretary added the distribution of the second emergency aid will employ digital payment methods to lessen physical contact among beneficiaries and authorities.

Ine-expect natin na since merong mga remittance centers, may mga bangko, sa mga highly urbanized cities ay mapadali nating maibibgay ‘yung ayuda sa mga benepisyaryo,” said Bautista.

[Translation: We expect that since there are remittance centers and banks in highly urbanized cities, it will improve the process in giving the aid to the beneficiaries.]

READ: COVID-19 cash aid goes digital to accelerate distribution

Under the social amelioration program that was instituted by the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, low-income households will receive ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 worth of assistance from the national government to help them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government started the distribution of the COVID-19 cash aid last March 28, which should have been completed by April 30.

But the initial deadline was not met, forcing the DILG to give a one-week extension up to May 7 for the distribution of the first tranche of emergency subsidy.

Many LGUs struggled to completely give the aid to their constituents, citing problems like incomplete or inaccurate list of target beneficiaries and late distribution of social amelioration forms.

Then the DILG extended again the distribution deadline to May 10, and subsequently to May 13 as more LGUs asked for more time to finish the doleouts.

The Interior and Local Government Department ordered all LGUs to submit the names of families who will receive the second tranche of cash aid from the social amelioration program until May 21.

The DSWD guaranteed the funds for the second wave of COVID-19 cash subsidy are ready as the Department of Budget and Management transferred the ₱96 billion allocation to them last April 17.