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DSWD begins release of emergency subsidies to 4Ps beneficiaries

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) began releasing its P200-billion emergency fund for the social amelioration program (SAP) on Friday, April 3.

The SAP is an emergency fund program mandated under the recently passed Bayanihan to Heal as One Act to financially aid the 18 million poorest families in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The DSWD said in a press release that Friday's disbursement covers the following regions:

  • Ilocos Region
  • Cagayan Valley
  • Central Luzon
  • CALABARZON
  • National Capital Region (NCR)
  • Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
  • Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)

The other remaining regions will receive their subsidies on April 4 and 5.

Household beneficiaries under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), also known as the conditional cash transfer, will receive P3,650 to P6,650 per month for two months, depending on the prescribed emergency subsidy per region. This emergency subsidy is determined from the region's minimum wage level.

The emergency cash subsidy from the SAP is a top-up amount added to their regular cash grants and rice allowance. The maximum subsidy a family will receive in a month, inclusive of both the regular cash grants and the emergency subsidy, is P8,000.

This is an example breakdown of the subsidy for a household in Metro Manila, which has a maximum subsidy capped at P8,000:

  • P750 - health and nutrition subsidy
  • P600 - rice subsidy
  • P6,650 - emergency fund
  • Total: P8,000

How? 4Ps program beneficiaries with Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) cash cards may withdraw from any Land Bank of the Philippines ATMs, or any ATM subject to charges.

These cash cards may also be used for cashless transactions in establishments with point of sale (POS) terminals.

For those who have yet to receive their cash cards, local governments are expected to coordinate with them for the distribution of their grants.

The DSWD declared "force majeure" for the 4Ps program from February to May, which suspends the monitoring of compliance that serves as the basis for the computation of cash grants.

On Wednesday, April 1, Quezon City residents staged a protest to demand for government aid after weeks of being unable to earn money to buy necessities. A commotion broke out in the streets and ended with 21 people arrested for protesting without a permit. (READ: 'Walang-wala na': Poor Filipinos fear death from hunger more than coronavirus)

The Philippines is under a state of calamity, and the entire Luzon under "enhanced community quarantine" or total lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Other parts of the country are also on lockdown to help stem the outbreak.

As of April 3, there have been 3,018 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), with 136 deaths and 52 recoveries. – Rappler.com

Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer at Rappler. Possessing the heart and soul of a feminist, she is working on specializing in women's issues in Newsbreak, Rappler's investigative arm.

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