A resident of Banga town in South Cotabato receives the emergency assistance from the government under Social Amelioration Program. (Photo by JBM / DSWD)

KORONADAL CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is almost complete in transferring funds intended for Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to local government units (LGUs) in Central Mindanao.

This was announced by Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, who reported that more than P2.8 Billion of the total P3.5 Billion allocation for Region 12 were already wired to 45 LGUs as of April 18 latest report.

“Since Monday, the payouts for the release of emergency assistance to qualified beneficiaries are ongoing,” Dir. Espejo said, adding around 668,287 target beneficiaries considered the poorest people in the region will benefit the government’s intervention.

One of the recipients, Eileen Bruma, 54, a laborer in the village of Tambilil, Kiamba town in Sarangani province, said she will use the assistance to buy food supplies for her family.

“In this time, life is difficult if you’re poor. You don’t know where to get livelihood to support the needs of the family,” Bruma said.

“I thank the government. The financial assistance is timely. It means a lot to us,” she added. 

Dir. Espejo said once the payouts for all beneficiaries are done, the agency will prepare for the second round of SAP assistance to cover the month of May. 

Last month, authorities imposed a Luzon-wide community quarantine, affecting the public land, domestic air, and domestic sea, including mass gatherings, were banned to cut COVID-19 transmission. The move was replicated by other LGUs outside Luzon as well.

To ease the effects of the enhanced community quarantine that is moving into its second month, the government has approved a P200 Billion funding that will primarily benefit the poorest of the poor sectors of society.

These are households typically living in shanties made from dilapidated cardboards and rusting iron sheet roofings that 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. 

Members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries were also included as recipients for SAP, an intervention handled by the DSWD under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469) signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 25, 2020.

Aside from emergency subsidy allowance, the department continues to accept clients in need of support under Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) as well Family Food Packs augmentation to LGUs for Covid-19 related intervention. (JBM / DSWD)