DSWD requests to repurpose P10 billion savings for livelihood assistance

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it asked the Department of Budget Management (DBM) to repurpose its P10 billion savings in 2020 into a livelihood assistance program.

"Meron tayong request sa Department of Budget and Management na i-repurpose o gamitin sa ibang purpose 'yung anticipated natin na unutilized funds para sa livelihood assistance grant," DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said in a DZMM interview on Thursday, September 24.

(We have requested the Department of Budget and Management if we could repurpose or use the anticipated unutilized funds for livelihood assistance cash grant.)

Dumlao said that the livelihood assistance program was part of the "recovery phase" of the government's emergency subsidy program (ESP).

"Kung kaya kahit sila ay nakatanggap ng emergency subsidy at natukoy sila for the livelihood assistance grant, magpapatuloy at makakatanggap sila ng tulong," Dumlao said.

(That's why even they already received the emergency subsidy, and they are identified as beneficiary of the livelihood assistance grant, they will continue to receive support.)

During the Senate hearing on DSWD's proposed budget for 2021 on Tuesday, senators questioned the agency for its unused funds amounting to P10 billion, even as some local government units (LGUs) complained about a lack of funds for ESP to families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, explicitly stated the cash grant of P5,000 to P8,000 was intended to benefit 18 million poor households in two tranches.

However, there were only 14.1 million beneficiaries of the second tranche of cash aid.

DSWD Undersecretary Danilo Pamonag said that even if they wanted to give 18 million family beneficiaries for the 2nd tranche, LGUs submitted only names of 14 million families.

As of Thursday, the DSWD has not completed the distribution of the second tranche of cash, with 192,626 families still waiting for the promised cash aid.

Under the government's proposed P4.5-trillion budget for 2021, P171.2 billion is allocated for DSWD. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.