DSWD to kick off digital cash aid payout next week

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    DIGITAL distribution of the second tranche of the emergency cash aid under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would start next week.

    DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said the government had manually released or delivered P52 million of the SAP subsidy to 9,391 waitlisted beneficiaries living in “geographically isolated” or “disadvantaged areas” areas from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region (Region I) and Central Luzon (Region 3).

    Bautista said the agency has also completed the distribution of the second SAP payout to members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps), which benefitted 1.3 million families and involved more than P6 billion worth of cash aid, which started mid June.

    Bautista said the DSWD signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Monday and with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) yesterday for the digital disbursement of the second tranche of the financial assistance.

    Six financial service providers had also been identified to facilitate the distribution of the May tranche, namely: GCash, RCBC, Robinsons Bank, PayMaya, Starpay, and Unionbank.

    Bautista said recipients of the second payout – which include those who have registered in the ReliefAgad application of DSWD and identified the digital platform that they would use – are expected to receive the subsidy within 24 hours after LBP downloads the fund to the financial service providers.

    He said the BSP had provided DSWD with technical assistance in identifying the qualified financial service providers that will undertake the digital payment.

    DSWD said engaging financial service providers to do the digital electronic disbursement will ensure that the cash subsidies will reach the beneficiaries in the most expedient and reliable manner while complying with health and safety protocols.

    Bautista, however, reminded beneficiaries that “similar to the regular transaction for digital accounts, there will be a minimal amount of cash out fee of not more than P50.00 to be deducted from their subsidies, if they will opt to withdraw from the partner-outlets of the FSPs (financial service providers).”

    DSWD targets to distribute the second tranche to 13.5 million low income households composed of 8.5 million families that were part of the 18 million families that received the first tranche released in April, and the 5 million targeted families who are eligible but were waitlisted.

    Of the 5 million waitlisted families, 3.5 million will receive the second payout – or for the months of April and May, while 1.5 million will just receive one payout or for the month of April. Those who will receive two tranches or two months worth of SAP are the 3.5 million left out families who were living in areas under enhanced community quarantine from March to April and in May.

    Only low income families and 4Ps beneficiaries living in the areas covered by the ECQ in May will receive the second tranche.

    Under Executive Order No. 112 that Malacañang issued on May 1 and a memoranda issued by Executive Secretary on May 2, the areas covered by ECQ and whose residents are eligible for the second tranche are Metro Manila, Central Luzon (Region III) except Aurora; and Calabarzon or Region IV-A; the provinces of Benguet, Pangasinan, Iloilo, Cebu and Albay; and the cities of Bacolod, Davao, and Zamboanga.

    President Duterte, in his 14th Bayanihan Act report to Congress said his government has released P101.002 billion of the first tranche of SAP to 17.65 million families.

    The President said the Calabarzon region and Metro Manila received the biggest share of the first payout with P12.517 billion and P12.464 billion, respectively. – With Christian Oineza

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