A beneficiary in General Santos City receives his Social Amelioration Program assistance in this file photo taken on April 24, 2020. (Photo by JBM / DSWD)

KORONADAL CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office XII (DSWD FOXII) has endorsed reports for further investigation and appropriate actions against some local government officials of three towns in the region over alleged irregularities in the implementation of the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

This was bared Thursday by Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, who said the agency officially wrote the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), including DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, regarding disturbing reports of government officials in handling the SAP assistance distribution, ranging from splitting the money to cover more recipients, threats to remove the names of their constituents in the lists, forcing beneficiaries to buy sacks of rice upon  receiving their aid, and handpicking of ineligible beneficiaries, among others.      

“I urge our beneficiaries to report to us directly any form of  irregularities and anomalies. They can send text messages to our hotline numbers at 0915-377-8131 and 0951-379-1006,” Dir. Espejo said, without revealing the municipalities involved in the alleged fund mess. 

“The agency will not tolerate those taking advantage over the government program,” he added.  

Meanwhile, the relief agency handling the response on the effects of enhanced community quarantine imposed by the government to cut the transmission of coronavirus pandemic, reported four municipalities in Central Mindanao have completed the distribution of their emergency subsidy allowance to its constituents.

Citing data from the region’s tracker, the town of Libungan, with 7,926 family beneficiaries, was the first to complete the payout on Tuesday. The municipalities of Maasim, 8,082 families; and Malungon, 9,354 in Sarangani Province; and Bagumbayan in Sultan Kudarat with 9,558 reciepients, fowllowed on April 29.

The DSWD, on the forefront of SAP under Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469) signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 25, 2020 with P200 Billion funding, has wired more than P3 Billion funding to 50 local government units in Region 12.

Dir. Espejo said as of April 30, more than poor 409,749 families in the region severely affected by the lockdown were provided with financial assistance.

“The payouts on the LGU level continue. Others have requested for extension at the Central office to complete their distribution,” Dir.Espejo said.

Among the vulnerable groups of people prioritized for the financial assistance were senior citizen, PWD, pregnant women, solo parent, overseas Filipino in distress, indigenous people, homeless citizen, farmer, fishermen, and self-employed. (JBM / DSWD)