KORONADAL CITY — A senior government official in the region has appealed for unity among everyone in consideration of the implementation of the state’s emergency assistance amid  the country’s efforts to  contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

The DSWD, led by regional director Cezario Joel Espejo (L), speaks with local officials of Sarangani Province during the orientation for the Social Amelioration Program. (DSWD Photo)

Cezario Joel Espejo, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), made the appeal following some minor glitches that caused delay in some areas of the distribution of emergency cash assistance to the poor and severely affected residents covered by the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), an intervention under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469) signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 25, 2020.

“This is not a time for politicking and advancing our self-interests. This is a time where we set our differences aside because we need to unite as one and help one another in order to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic,” Dir. Espejo said.

“During these trying times, we can only rely on the government and ourselves. We need to trust the government that it is looking for the best of everyone and ourselves to ensure that the virus does not spread further by following quarantine guidelines and practicing social distancing whenever we go outside of our homes” he added.

Dir. Espejo also cited the concern of middle-class people in the region who also need the state’s support, adding that the government is working hard to respond to their needs.

Last month, the national government imposed an enhanced community quarantine for the entire island of Luzon prohibiting land, domestic air, and domestic sea including mass gatherings to cut COVID-19 transmission. This move was shortly replicated by various provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao, in order to prevent the spread of the virus in their respective jurisdictions. 

“Kung sa tingin natin na tayo ay hindi naghihirap sa buhay, kung meron naman tayong nakakain ng 3 beses sa isang araw gaano man ito ka kaunti, hayaan na natin maibigay ang tulong sa mas karapat dapat. Isipin at intindihin na lang natin na may mga ibang tao na mas higit na nangangailangan kaysa sa atin,” Dir. Espejo said.

“By helping and understanding each other, we can surpass this crisis,” he added.

On Monday, the distribution of SAP assistance started as part of the 200 billion pesos the government approved for most affected Filipinos targeted at 18 million families nationwide.

Based on the guidelines stipulated in the Joint Memorandum Circular on the provision of Emergency Subsidy Program, the target beneficiaries eligible to receive assistance are those low-income families, assessed to be most affected by the imposition of the community quarantine, given their existing life situations or circumstances. The qualified recipients must belong to the most affected families and poorest of the poor.

Dir. Espejo also expressed his appreciation to the local government units (LGUs) for the unwavering support and partnership in the implementation of SAP. 

“LGUs are our best partners to ensure that SAP aids are channeled directly to the rightful family beneficiaries,” he further said.

At the same time, the household of the target beneficiary must have one family member who is a senior citizen, PWD, pregnant women, solo parent, overseas Filipino in distress, indigenous people, homeless citizen, farmer, fishermen, and self-employed. (HTE / DSWD)