Over 20 million low-income families are expected to receive the second tranche of cash aid under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP), Malacañang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said some 20.3 million poor families will receive financial assistance, higher than the original 18 million households identified under Bayanihan to Heal as One law, or Republic Act No. 11469.
“Mas marami pa sa 20 million ang mabibigyan ng ayuda (More than 20 million will be given cash aid),” he said in a virtual presser.
Last week, Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte wanted around five million more poor families to also receive cash assistance to help them cope with the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
He said this latest directive was to realign funds to make sure that over 20 million beneficiaries will benefit from the second phase of SAP.
However, he explained that the 20.3 million poor families do not include poor families living in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).
“‘Tong sa second tranche, iyong sinabi ni Pangulo na 4.9 million na hindi nakatanggap ng SAP first tranche bibigyan din, so kasama na po sila dito sa second tranche (This second tranche, this is what the President was saying that the 4.9 million who didn’t receive SAP in the first tranche, they are included in the second tranche),” he said.
In an interview over dzBB on Saturday, Roque admitted that the existing PHP205-billion budget for SAP would not be enough to cover all areas placed under community quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Dahil limitado nga po iyong pondo na binigay ng gobyerno PHP205 billion at dahil binigyan nga po ng ayuda for the first tranche ang 23 million at hindi lang 18 million, siyempre po magkukulang na iyong second tranche (Because the PHP205-billion fund is limited and because we have given assistance to 23 million households and not just 18 million for the first tranche, of course there won’t be enough for the second tranche),” he said.
Roque said the question that had to be answered now was whether there are enough funds that could be realigned for the Covid-19 response.
He said households in areas where quarantine measures have been relaxed may only receive cash aid if Congress passes a supplemental budget.
“Kung mayroon po walang problema. Pero kung wala pong sapat ng pondo at ninanais din ng liderato ng Senado, lalung-lalo si Senate President Tito Sotto na bigyan ang lahat, talagang kailangan pong magpasa ng supplemental budget (If we have enough funds, there is no problem. If we don’t and the leadership of the Senate, especially Senate President Tito Sotto, wants everyone to receive aid, then we need to pass a supplemental budget),” he said.
Currently, he said only poor families in areas under enhanced community quarantine or modified enhanced community quarantine are assured of aid.
The memorandum on the second tranche of SAP is expected to be released “anytime now”.
“Kailangan namang magsimula na doon sa mga nakatira sa ECQ ‘no. Kung makakahanap naman po tayo ng pondo para sa lahat, ihahabol na lang po siguro iyan (We need to start in areas under ECQ. If we find funds for everyone, distribution in GCQ areas would follow),” he said.
Under the government’s SAP, cash aid ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 is being distributed to each household.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the lead agency tasked to oversee the implementation of SAP, has been directed to verify the names of beneficiaries listed in the roster submitted by local government units (LGUs). (PNA)