Nine House leaders led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano have flagged four kinks in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s implementation of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) that were believed responsible for the inordinate delay in the release of emergency cash to 18 million poor families.
In House Resolution 973, the legislators identified the shortcomings that caused “delays” and led the DSWD to “miss distribution deadlines twice” and eventually defer the payout of the second tranche in May, including the complicated 30-step process from the selection of qualified beneficiaries to the actual release of funds.
The committees on good government and public accounts will begin its investigation on the SAP implementation on Monday.
“Given the failure of DSWD officials to consider suggestions from both House leaders and LGU executives on how to hasten the process of accrediting beneficiaries and subsequently releasing the subsidies to them, the SAP had expectedly encountered speed bumps along the way, with the first tranche due in April received by recipient-households as late as last month,” Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte said.
“In fact, the SAP distribution has been so held up to the point that the DSWD started distributing the second tranche only in mid-June,” added the Camarines Sur congressman.
Villafuerte added: “This unfortunate delay has struck a sour note in the implementation of what is billed as the government’s biggest social protection program in the country’s history,” Villafuerte said.
The SAP was allotted a two-month budget of some P200 billion under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Villafuerte recalled that he had raised concerns about the “cumbersome set of rules” drawn up by the DSWD in April, which he feared back then could delay the release of the cash grants ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 per month for every household.