SAP cash aid will continue despite Bayanihan Law expiration – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   June 25, 2020   •   1162

MANILA, Philippines – The expiration of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act will not affect the release and distribution of the cash assistance intended for low-income households gravely affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, Malacañang said on Thursday.

“Sa ngayon, wala namang epekto,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during a virtual presser. “Hindi naman po sakop iyan ng Bayanihan Act. It’s a physical act of disbursing what has been allotted by Congress. So wala pong problema iyan.”

Under Bayanihan Law, the government is mandated to provide emergency subsidies ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 under the Social Amelioration Program to 18 million poor households who are heavily affected by the community quarantine.

In the first tranche of the program, family beneficiaries living in enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) have already received cash aid. In the second tranche, additional five million families living in ECQ areas will receive subsidy from the government.

Roque expressed his belief that the government did its job when it came to distributing financial assistance to the program’s intended beneficiaries and other sectors affected by the pandemic.

He also believes that the government has implemented the necessary measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country, such as the procurement of test kits, personal protective equipment, ventilators and other medical supplies.

“Bagaman tumaas, kung ikukumpara sa buong daigdig, di naman po ganuon ka-grabe, third in ASEAN but worldwide, I think we’ve done a very good job, lalong lalo na po sa paglimit ng mortality,” he said.

Roque, however, admits that the Bayanihan Law’s expiration will affect the country’s further needs if the public health crisis continues and more people will become infected with the virus.

“Makakaapekto po yan sa future needs natin, kita ninyo naman ang nangyari sa Cebu… Ang istorya ng Cebu ay istorya ng buong Pilipinas. Kapag sumipa po ang numero ng COVID-19, napakarami pong pangangailangan,” he said, referring to Cebu City which appears to be an emerging virus hotspot after recording a spike in the number of infections.

Meanwhile, Roque said the chief executive may call for a special session of Congress once the proposed economic stimulus program to help ride out the coronavirus pandemic is finalized.

“Magpapatawag po ang presidente ng special session kung mayroon na pong nabuong concensus kung magkano ang nabuong stimulus package dahil napasama na po sa isang panukalang batas yung extension ng emergency powers at stimulus package,” he said.

The Congress adjourned sine die its first regular session early this month without passing the proposed second Bayanihan Act.

The Palace earlier said the government prefers a proposed economic stimulus that it can afford and will not require too much borrowing.

Congress will resume its session in July. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

10.7 milyong residente sa Metro Manila, makikinabang sa ECQ ayuda ng pamahalaan — Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Aabot sa 10.7 milyong residente sa Metro Manila ang nakatakdang pagkalooban ng ayuda ng pamahalaan sa ilalim ng ipatutupad na enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Sakop ng ayuda ang mga residenteng matitigil ang hanapbuhay kapag ipinairal na ang ECQ simula sa Agosto 6 hanggang Agosto 20.

May P1,000 na ibibigay sa kada low-income individual o maximum na P4,000 bawat pamilya.

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, P13.1 billion ang kabuuang halaga ng pondong ilalaan para sa ayuda.

“Ito po ay kukunin sa savings sa lahat ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno. ito po ay nakasaad sa Administrative Order Number 41 na nilagdaan ng presidente last May 12, 2021,” ani Roque.

Batay na rin ito sa direktiba ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na tukuyin ng government agencies ang kanilang savings sa ilalim ng General Appropriations Act para sa taong 2020 upang may maipangdugtong sa COVID-19 response ng pamahalaan.

“Ang gagamitin natin para sa ayuda, ay galing po sa mga i quote… Lahat ng unobligated, continuing appropriations, savings na idineklara ng mga departamento, mga ahensya, bureaus at mga opisina ng national government alinsunod nga po dito sa Administrative Order Number 41,” paliwanag ni Roque.

Nakapaloob din sa P13.1 billion ang contingency fund para sa iba pang mangangailangan ng ayuda.

Kung magkukulang pa ng pondo para sa pinansyal na ayuda sa Metro Manila, kukunin naman ang iba pang karagdagang pondo sa nakolekta ng Bureau of Treasury. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte on Pacquiao’s corruption allegations: ‘I think he’s punch-drunk’

Marje Pelayo   •   July 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night lambasted Senator Manny Pacquiao  anew for alleging that billions of pesos have been lost to corruption in government agencies.

Pacquiao earlier alleged that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) failed to properly distribute P10 billion worth of financial aid from the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

“Mga kaibigan huwag kayong maniwala diyan,” Duterte said during his public address Monday night.

“Papayag ba naman ang [Commission on Audit]? Hindi lang iyan. Papayag ba kami? Papayag ba ang mga secretary ng mga departamento na ganun may mawala 10 billion? That is a statement coming from a guy who is punch-drunk, lasing,” he added.

Pacquiao claimed anomaly in the DSWD’s transaction with the digital wallet service provider Starpay Corporation.

The boxer-senator said he has evidence to prove that the program is missing P10 billion in SAP funds and that he will ask the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate.

Both DSWD and Starpay have denied the allegations.

Pacquiao’s accusations came after President Duterte challenged him to prove his claims that corruption under the Duterte government has worsened.

The Chief Executive said the senator’s corruption claims are just part of a strategy given the latter’s obvious plan to take the highest position in the upcoming 2022 elections. MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

DSWD ready to face probe; maintains no ‘missing’ SAP fund

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it is ready to face investigation into the allegations raised by Senator Manny Pacquiao regarding misused Social Amelioration Program (SAP) funds.

The DSWD also said it is willing to present the necessary evidence and other relevant documents to clarify the allegations on SAP. The department also reported that it has attended several congressional hearings relative to the SAP implementation and has presented all the necessary reports for transparency.

In a statement, the the DSWD assured all funds provided to the Financial Service Providers (FSPs) are all accounted for and that there are no “missing” funds. All aid distributed is supported by liquidation reports that can be shared, if necessary.

“The agency ensures that the processes adopted by FSPs on payouts are in accordance with BSP-approved processes and  existing government accounting rules and procedures,” the department said.

To date, the DSWD reported that more than 17 million low-income families have received their first tranche of SAP with more than P98 billion amount disbursed. For the second tranche, 14.88 million  families have also received their cash assistance with over P89.8 billion disbursed, as of July 2,  2021. Some payout activities are currently ongoing and will be completed by the end of this month. AAC

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