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Sen. Panfilo Lacson scored Wednesday the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s prioritization of “savings” over helping those who need subsidies from the government’s Social Amelioration Program.

Lacson particularly questioned the DSWD’s premature declaration as “savings” of P10 billion, an amount that could have been used to help those in need.

“I would have insisted that the DSWD utilize the P10 billion for distribution, instead of prematurely declaring the same as ‘savings’ after it scaled down the number of cash aid beneficiaries by four million households,” he said in a statement.

“I would have manifested that hundreds of thousands of mouths are still waiting to be fed just to survive, and that the agency should at least mind those poor souls,” he added.

Lacson said it was unfortunate that he was presiding over the 2021 budget hearing for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Southern Philippines Development Authority and Mindanao Development Authority at the time that the DSWD’s budget was deliberated by another subcommittee on Tuesday.

Lacson chairs the Senate finance subcommittee handling the budgets of the OPAPP, SPDA and MinDA.

On the other hand, Lacson also recalled sending an official letter to DSWD Sec. Rolando Bautista more than a week ago on behalf of a listed beneficiary family.

He said the family, who he does not know or even met, has been following up to receive their SAP subsidy but to no avail. The DSWD has yet to respond, he pointed out.

“If this is not failure of planning, preparation, coordination and implementation, I do not know how to describe it,” he said.

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