DSWD cash aid might be subject to withdrawal fees

Michelle Abad
DSWD cash aid might be subject to withdrawal fees
The DSWD partners with more financial service providers to conduct payouts for the emergency subsidy program, but beneficiaries may have to pay a withdrawal fee of up to P50 to receive them

MANILA, Philippines – As the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) expands its means of conducting cash aid payouts, beneficiaries might have small deductions from their subsidies upon withdrawal.

Beneficiaries of the emergency subsidy program (ESP) can now receive their second tranche of cash aid from the following financial service providers (FSPs): GCash, PayMaya, RCBC, Robinsons Bank, UnionBank, and Starpay.

In a June 29 press release, the department reminded the beneficiaries that when they withdraw their cash from partner outlets of the banks and e-wallets, there will be a cash-out fee of not more than P50. 

The payments through the FSPs are expected to begin on the second week of July.

The second tranche, meant for the month of May, only began on June 11 with 1.3 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries. The DSWD constantly promises the second tranche will “faster” and “more efficient” than the first tranche.

In the first tranche of the ESP, the DSWD downloaded the cash to the local government units, but the Department of Interior and Local Government found multiple reports of anomalies.

For the second tranche, the cash will no longer pass through the local governments. Instead, the DSWD will transfer the money to the Land Bank of the Philippines, which would then transfer the money to the FSPs.

Who will receive their subsidies from the FSPs? DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said on Tuesday, June 30, that those who registered with the agency’s ReliefAgad app will be the ones to receive the money from the FSPs.

According to Malacañang’s 14th report to Congress on the government’s COVID-19 response, only 4.2 million registered via ReliefAgad, although it was not clarified if all 4.2 million registrations were found to be qualified beneficiaries. The second tranche is meant to serve 13.5 million families.

Other beneficiaries who can only receive the cash via direct payouts, such as those with no access to technology or those in remote areas, will be visited by DSWD personnel along with other implementers of the ESP such as local governments, police, and military.

The House of Representatives began a probe into the delays in the ESP’s implementation. House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said 4 DSWD regional directors were “guilty” of delaying payouts with unnecessary red tape.

The DSWD assured the public that the ESP would continue to push through even as the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act has already expired. – Rappler.com

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer with the investigative unit of Rappler. She also covers overseas Filipinos and the rights of women and children.