P344M excess, duplicate cash aid returned to gov’t, says DSWD

    DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje (Photo from pia.gov.ph)

    THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) yesterday said more than P344 million worth of funds from the first tranche of the emergency cash subsidy under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) had been returned to the government.

    The DSWD said that as of June 5, 179 local government units (LGUs) had refunded more than P324.4 million of the financial assistance to the department. It said the funds were not tapped or were considered as excess of the subsidy downloaded to the LGUS.

    The LGUS that returned the funds were from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region (I), Cagayan Valley (II), Central Luzon (III), CALABARZON (IV-A), MIMAROPA (IV-B), Bicol (V), Western Visayas (VI), Eastern Visayas (VIII), Zamboanga Peninsula (IX), Northern Mindanao (X), CARAGA, and the Bangsamoro Administrative Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

    Likewise, the DSWD said 3,723 beneficiaries have also returned more than P20.3 million of SAP subsidy that they received. The families said they have either already received assistance from other government agencies or were ineligible from getting the cash aid, which was intended for the country’s 18 million poor households and those who belong to vulnerable sectors.

    The beneficiaries that returned the subsidy include 795 from Central Luzon, 166 from CALABARZON, 10 from MIMAROPA, 54 from Eastern Visayas, 210 from Zamboanga Peninsula; 2,047 from Davao Region; 197 from CARAGA, and 236 from the National Capital Region (NCR). Eight beneficiaries also directly returned their subsidy to the DSWD Central Office.

    The returned funds will be used to augment the second tranche of the emergency cash subsidy program.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the DSWD is hoping to start the distribution of the May tranche by next week.

    Social Welfare undersecretary Rene Glen Paje, in several virtual briefings, said the government had already almost completed the distribution of the first tranche.

    Paje said P99.8 billion of the P100 billion first tranche funds had already been distributed to 17.64 million beneficiaries as of June 8.

    In his 11th Bayanihan Act report submitted to Congress on Monday, President Duterte said that as of June 5, P99.76 billion of the SAP funds had been received by 17.64 beneficiaries.

    The President said the government had also released P785 million to 98,132 drivers of public utility vehicles and transport network vehicle services (TNVS); P1.452 billion to 142,039 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) under the Department of Labor and Employment’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP); and P2.956 billion to 591,246 beneficiaries under the Department of Agriculture’s Philippines for of its Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers (FRSF) program.

    On the Small Business Wage Subsidy program, the President said 2.99M employees received the first tranche worth P22.5 billion, while 1.01 million received the second tranche worth P6.6 billion.

    Some 680,000 employees were not eligible to receive the second tranche after receiving the P5,000 CAMP subsidy from DOLE.

    The President said 19,367,869 individuals have been revalidated or subjected to de-duplication process after they received subsidies from different agencies.

    He also said that 130 LGUs have availed of their Bayanihan Grants and had spent, as of June 5, P2.509 billion which went to food and relief assistance (P1.61 billion); hospital equipment  (P232.47 million); food, transportation, accommodation of medical and local government personnel involved in COVID-19  relief efforts (P122.23 million), procurement of medicine and vitamins (P128.65 million), and procurement of personal protective equipment sets (P99.33 million), among others.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government is now looking at hiring public utility jeep drivers for different delivery services to help them in their livelihood needs.
    Roque earlier said the government is considering a third tranche of subsidy for PUJ drivers along with other forms of employment like contact tracers.