Duterte: Gov’t to give aid to families not on DSWD emergency subsidy list

MANILA, Philippines – Families who are in need but were left out of the government’s list of beneficiaries for its emergency subsidy program will still receive assistance, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday, April 13. 

“We will start giving aid to those who are not in the list…. Gagastos tayo para sa Pilipino (We will spend for the Filipino),” Duterte said in televised address aired close to midnight on Monday. (READ: Duterte seeks more cash for gov't coronavirus response)

“I said we will borrow, we will sell, at pati sinong gusto. Mayroon Mt Apo, maganda 'yan (and to whoever wants. There’s even Mt Apo, which is beautiful),” he added. 

Why this matters. The government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, is distributing some P275 billion in aid to 18 million poor households badly hit by the lockdown put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus. 

The funding requirement for the program is huge, considering cash will need to be distributed immediately.

While 18 million families are allocated for, many local government units in Metro Manila – the country’s most populated region – urged the national government to "reinstate" the original number of beneficiaries eligible for the cash aid to low-income households.

This came after the DSWD and Department of Finance initially provided a target number of beneficiaries, but later reduced the number of families to be included. 

Aid is urgently needed by low-income families who are unable to work and earn money to purchase food. Unclear guidelines  and logistical gaps, however, have hampered its immediate distribution.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier stressed funds should be spent judiciously with priority given to the country’s poorest families, small and medium enterprises, and companies supported by buyers. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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