House leaders led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday said they filed House Resolution 973 to inquire about “the confusion and delays” in the cash distribution under the social amelioration program (SAP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This “inexcusable” delay, according to the resolution, is “contrary to the general principle espoused by President Rodrigo Duterte that the most vulnerable Filipinos shall get the resources at the fastest possible time with the least number of requirements and regulations.”
Congress will be looking into the DSWD’s “lengthy and complicated procedure” for the distribution of the SAP benefits, which requires “a total of 30 steps and five layers of approval, with an estimated completion time of three weeks.”
Under the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”, an emergency subsidy amounting to a minimum of P5,000 to a maximum of P8,000 per month shall be provided to 18 million low income households for two months.
However, distribution for the second of assistance to the beneficiaries have yet to be completed.
The resolution also enumerates a number of issues and concerns, which may have caused the DSWD to miss several critical distribution deadlines, as well as causing the delay in the release of the second tranche of aid for beneficiaries intended for May to June.
“The DSWD arbitrarily and without consultations with the LGUs, based the number of recipients on the 2015 national census, slightly adjusted upwards,” it said.
“Five years have passed and certainly the population has increased since, and thus the estimate proved inadequate,” the resolution reads.
Cayetano had earlier pointed out that the process of the DSWD was “wrong.”
Aside from specifically looking into the SAP distribution, the inquiry will also include other assistance programs of the DSWD in the wake of Covid-19.