DSWD: Unutilized cash aid funds to be used for livelihood grants

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said part of the unutilized cash aid funds for those affected by the pandemic will be used for the agency's livelihood program.

In an interview with CNN Philippines on Tuesday. Social Welfare Spokesperson Irene Dumlao said the department met with economic managers back in August and saw that there were some funds from the social amelioration program (SAP) which would not be used due to the reduced number of beneficiaries.

"Isa po sa guidance na natanggap po natin ay maari pong mag-request ng change of purpose para magamit yung pondo bilang karagdagang fund o budget para sa implementation ng livelihood assistance grant (LAG)," Dumlao said.

[Translation: One of the guidance that we received was to request for a change of purpose to use the funds as additional funds or budget for the implementation of the livelihood assistance grant.]

Dumlao clarified the LAG is still part of the SAP under the recovery phase. She said the LAG is meant to help low-income families whose primary sources of income were affected by the pandemic.

Among those who can avail of the grant are sari-sari store owners and those who have stalls in markets. However, Dumalo said possible beneficiaries would still have to be assessed by local officials as well as the DSWD.

"Isa lang po itong livelihood assistance grant na nakikitang pwede paggamitan ng unutilized funds," she said. "Nandiyan pa rin yung assistance to individuals in crisis situation, and other programs and services na maaari natin ipanghatid tulong sa ating mga kababayan."

[Translation: The livelihood assistance grant is just one way the unutilized funds can be used. There is the assistance to individuals in crisis situation, and other programs and services which can help people.]

The maximum amount that can be given to a beneficiary is P15,000.

As for the emergency cash aid, Dumlao said more than P83.1 billion have been given in the second tranche of SAP. This has been given to 13.9 million families.

The original target of 18 million beneficiaries was reduced, according to Dumlao, after validation revealed that more than 200,000 families were found ineligible.

There were also over a million families who received aid from other government agencies. The DSWD said that of the five million "waitlisted" families, local government units were only able to submit around 3.3 million names.

"Hindi pa po nagdedeklara ng savings ang DSWD dahil patuloy pa naman po yung distribution ng SAP," Dumlao explained. "Mayroon lang nakikitang available funds na hindi magagamit para sa emergency subsidy dahil nagkaroon ng kabawasan sa bilang ng ating beneficiaries."

[Translation: The DSWD has not declared any savings because SAP distribution is ongoing. We can see some available funds that can no longer be used for emergency subsidy because there was a reduction in the number of beneficiaries.]