Village workers may now be considered in SAP grant

Day Care teachers in Jaro, Iloilo City cook food given to folks affected by the COVID-19 crisis such as stranded boarders and construction workers. This display of Bayanihan earned Iloilo City praise from netizens for the way it managed the crisis with support from the private sector and cooperation with other local leaders. (Arnold Almacen/CMO)

By Jennifer P. Rendon 

Barangay workers can now qualify for the government’s emergency subsidy program under the Special Amelioration Program (SAP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

In a virtual press conference on Thursday, DSWD Assistant Secretary for Specialized Programs Rhea Peñaflor said that barangay tanods, barangay health workers (BHWs), and day care workers may be entitled to the P6,000 SAP grant provided they satisfy the requirements.

“Our government listens to the suggestion from the different sections. We have been receiving a lot of recommendations and we have been receiving plea from our tanods, barangay health workers, and day care workers that they be included in the SAP,” she said.

Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya has reportedly written to DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista about these concerns.

Part of the letter reads, “It is the appeal of this department that the nature of appointment of barangay health workers, barangay tanods, and barangay day care workers should not outrightly disqualify them from being included in the target beneficiaries under the SAP particularly emergency subsidy program…”

Buot silingon ang aton nga mga tanod, ang aton barangay health workers kag aton nga mga day care workers included siya sa target family beneficiaries provided nga wala siya sang iban nga source of income or manubo iya income or ang source of income is ang pagkatanod lang and wala siya sang member sang pamilya nga nagabaton sang ayuda sa government,” Peñaflor said.

Peñaflor added that those three groups would only be qualified if they “have low income, amo lang na source of income, indi ka kasarang magbakal pagkaon kay kung may bata ikaw ya nga gapadala sa imo, may iban kaw nga negosyo, indi ka man di gyapon pagbutang or sakupon sang sini nga program,” she said.

Meanwhile, Peñaflor, said only a handful of local government units (LGUs) have yet to receive funds from the SAP.

She said they already released a total of P6,497,592,000 to 121 LGUs in Western Visayas.

Aklan has 13 LGUs with P306.6 million; Antique with 17 LGUs getting P375.636 million; Capiz with 11 LGUs receiving P614.136 million; Guimaras’ five municipalities received P107.256 million; Iloilo province (to include Iloilo City) with 43 LGUs getting around P2.276 billion; and all LGUs of Negros Occidental (to include Bacolod City) already received around P2.817 billion.

“Since we have already transferred funds to majority of LGUs, our partner KGUs have already started in distributing to the people the emergency subsidy program through SAP amounting to P6,000 per family,” DSWD-6 Regional Director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre said.

During pay-out, the DSWD will observe and whenever possible change the door-to-door delivery of SAP.

“In case the door-to-door delivery of SAP is not possible, the LGUs may strategize by grouping the people in very small groups with observance of stringent social distancing, wearing of masks, availability of alcohol or soap with water in the pay-out area,” she said.

Again, Macapobre emphasized that protection of health of the people should never be compromised in the conduct of pay-outs.