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Malacañang Palace assured the public that the P200 billion earmarked for the implementation of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) would be disbursed.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque guaranteed that every single centavo of SAP budget would be spent to make sure that all the beneficiaries would receive the emergency subsidies from the national government.

“Wala pong matitira diyan. Bagama’t 12 million plus ‘yung manggagaling sa unang listahan, meron din tayong 5 million plus na bago. Uubusin po natin iyang [pondo] (No single centavo will be left unspent. While there will be 12 million beneficiaries from the existing list, there will be additional 5 million beneficiaries. We will exhaust all the funds),” Roque said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.

SAP, the national government’s PHP200-billion program, grants monthly emergency subsidy worth between PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 to poor households for April and May to help them cope with the crisis brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Around PHP100 billion have been disbursed for the implementation of the first phase of SAP which benefitted some 18 million poor families.

Only the 12 million of 18 million low-income households from areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ (MECQ) will get the second tranche of cash aid under SAP. They will be joined by 5 million more indigent families.

The remaining PHP100 billion would be spent for the second wave of payouts for the 17 million SAP beneficiaries.

Roque could not say as to when the government would begin the distribution of the second tranche of financial aid.

He, however, ensured that the beneficiaries would get the assistance faster because of the implementation of the automated disbursement of emergency subsidies.

Roque said the government would focus on the electronic transfers of the cash assistance.

“Ang basehan po, ano ‘yung classification ng lugar ninyo noong pangalawang buwan (May) ng ECQ at MECQ. Kung kayo po ay nakatira sa lugar na ECQ at MECQ, mabibigyan pa rin po kayo maski buwan na ng Hunyo (The basis would be the classification of your areas in May. If you are living in areas under ECQ or MECQ, you will still receive the aid even it is already June),” he said.

Metro Manila, home to more than 12 million people, shifted from MECQ to the more lenient general community quarantine (GCQ) along with Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), Region 3 (Central Luzon), Region 4-A (Calabarzon), Region 7 (Central Visayas, including the cities of Cebu and Mandaue), Pangasinan, Albay, Zamboanga City and Davao City, beginning June 1 until June 15.

The rest of the country is under modified GCQ.

Malacañang earlier said the government has yet to distribute the second wave of emergency subsidies because it is still validating the identities of additional 5 million poor families who will benefit from SAP.

On Monday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the Department of the Interior and Local Government has already validated almost 4 million of the 5 million additional beneficiaries of SAP. 

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