The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) cited on May 5, 2020, the role of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in helping distribute the government’s financial assistance to low-income Filipino families hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said the delay in the distribution of cash assistance was primarily due to the hard-to-reach locations of many identified beneficiaries.
“Malalayo ang lugar ng beneficiaries, island municipalities, isolated areas. May mga lugar na high-risk dahil mataas ang Covid-19 cases (The residences of our beneficiaries are far, many are located in island municipalities, and isolated areas. There are areas categorized as high-risk because of the growing numbers of Covid-19 cases),” he said in a live-streamed press briefing.
In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said they found “difficulties in reaching coastal and island municipalities”.
“We have coordinated with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Coast Guard for the provision of air and naval assets,” she said.
In the agency’s special guidelines on the measure of the Social Amelioration provision, the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are to be tapped to secure the area identified by the DSWD or local government unit where social amelioration shall take place.
They are also tasked to accompany, secure, and assist the DSWD and/or LGU representatives in the exercise of their functions; lend technical assistance to further effectuate the social amelioration provisions of those guidelines; and provide land, air, and sea assets to transport DSWD and LGU personnel and goods for the purpose of delivery of assistance to the beneficiaries.
On Wednesday, the DSWD reported on its website that it has given PHP16,703,851,750 to 3,812,526 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P’s) beneficiaries through their cash cards.
Meanwhile, out of the PHP80 billion fund downloaded to local government units, PHP55,051,328 were disbursed to 9,291,540 non-4P’s beneficiaries.
The DSWD has also provided PHP323.3 million for 40,418 drivers of transport network vehicle services (TNVS) and public utility vehicles (PUVs) who were affected by the suspension of mass transport in Metro Manila. (Christine Cudis, PNA)