MANILA, Philippines – With total lockdowns continuing in some areas, and general quarantines becoming the “new normal” soon, millions of poor families struggle to keep themselves fed.
Rappler talks to Dinky Soliman, former Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) secretary on assessing the emergency subsidy program (ESP), a government-mandated cash aid program led by the DSWD.
The ESP is designed to give 18 million poor families further affected by the coronavirus lockdown cash aid for the months of April and May.
However, dozens of problems have arisen in its implementation, such as reports of families in need excluded from the government’s list or wondering why aid is slow. Local officials struggle to cater to them, too.
On April 24, Malacañang announced that the ESP would only cater to areas under enhanced community quarantine for the month of May.
Soliman advocates for a clear communication system that would have tempered expectations. Strong collaboration should not be limited to government agencies, but also with the communities on the ground, she said.
Cash subsidies and food packs can only last for so long. Soliman said the government must allow some micro, small, and medium enterprises begin to operate as well so that they are empowered to help themselves and others as well. An example would be how relief goods can be purchased from farmers.
Watch the interview here. – Rappler.com