Barangay officials to remain involved in cash aid
The government will continue to tap barangay officials in providing aid to sectors affected by quarantine restrictions, Malacañang said yesterday.
“I think barangay officials won’t be out of the picture even if soldiers were asked to help in the distribution of aid. Of course, importance would be given to the fact that they know the people in their area,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing.
“But the President believes the process would be faster if soldiers help in the distribution of aid,” he added.
Roque said the presence of security forces could also deter the pocketing of aid funds.
Duterte has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to participate in the distribution of the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), which aims to provide emergency subsidies to households and workers sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic.
The President has also directed agencies to discontinue the downloading of funds to local government units following complaints that some SAP funds have been misused.
The interior department has reported that 183 barangay officials are being investigated by the police over alleged anomalies in the distribution of aid, while 48 mayors were asked to explain why they failed to meet the deadline on the giving of subsidies.
Twelve cases have been filed while two persons have been arrested for supposed irregularities related to aid distribution.
Roque reiterated that local governments have to satisfy liquidation requirements before the second tranche of SAP could start.
“Many have liquidated, and we are awaiting word from the Office of the Executive Secretary on when it (second tranche) would start. What is important now is we provide aid to five million additional beneficiaries in the second tranche. As much as possible, those who received assistance during the first tranche would also get aid during the second tranche,” he added.
He said people who are not satisfied with the actions of their barangay chiefs in the aid distribution can relay their concerns to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
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