DSWD-6 asks DILG to probe LGUs accused of slashing SAP subsidy

By Jennifer P. Rendon 

For the nth time, the Department of Social Welfare and Development 6 (DSWD-6) clarified that a family-beneficiary shall get the full amount of the agency’s emergency subsidy program to help those affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

In the case of Western Visayas, an eligible family that has qualified in the DSWD’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) is entitled to receive P6,000.

In a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Rhea Peñaflor, DSWD Assistant Secretary for Specialized Programs, made the statement following reports that some local government units (LGUs) slashed the amount in the guise that the collected “slashed” amount will be given to those who have not availed of SAP.

Peñaflor said they received calls and text messages but they need written complaints.

“That’s why we’re asking the DILG to look into LGUs that have allegedly cut the amount of the subsidy. That’s a violation of the provision of Republic Act 11469,” she said.

RA 11469 is the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.

“If LGUs have violated the law, which is the P6,000 subsidy per family, if they slashed the amount or coerced the beneficiary to donate or give and if the person doesn’t want to, they could be liable,” Peñaflor said.

Complainants may report to their municipal or city local social welfare and development officer or to the DSWD-6 hotline.

But later on during the virtual presser, Ma. Evelyn Macapobre, DSWD-6 regional director, answered queries on the case of Maasin, Iloilo where several complaints were logged after SAP beneficiaries were made to “donate” a portion of their P6,000 grant.

A photo of a waiver indicating that the beneficiary will voluntarily give P1,000 to his or her “kasimaryo” who was not included on the SAP list circulated on social media.

Macapobre did not confirm the veracity of the information.

But, “as far as we’re concerned, the beneficiaries in Maasin signed a payroll that they received P6,000. We have pictures and documents to support that,” she said.

However, “kung paglabas nila sa payout area at binigay nila ang pera para hati-an nila ang ka-barangay nila, sa kanila na ‘yon. Hindi kami makikialam what they did with their money once they got it from us in full amount,” she said.

Incidentally, the DSWD-6 reported yesterday that Maasin, Iloilo is one of the LGUs that has a high compliance rate with the SAP distribution.

Maasin town is already 99.6 percent compliant in the SAP distribution, equating to 6,033 beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, Peñaflor has reiterated anew that DSWD would initiate investigations to officials who knowingly allow giving of emergency subsidy to ineligible beneficiaries.

She admitted they continue to receive queries relative to complaints against officials who allegedly select beneficiaries of the DSWD Special Amelioration Program without taking into consideration their economic capability.

She again stressed that under the omnibus guidelines on SAP implementation, “in case the paid beneficiary is ineligible or overqualified, the DSWD will inform the local government unit within 72 hours from discovery.”

Peñaflor said the “LGU officials who will give the cash assistance to ineligible beneficiaries will be subjected to investigation by competent authorities for proper determination for administrative, civil and/or criminal liability including the refund of the subsidy improperly provided as the case may be.”

She assured that the law will be enforced. In the case of duplication, a SAP beneficiary will be disqualified in the next tranche.