President Duterte’s economic managers have decided to realign P6.5 billion of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s P10-billion so-called “savings” from  Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to boost the government’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program.

images 16 - P6.5-B SAP savings realigned to another assistance fund
Negros Oriental 1st District Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong

Negros Oriental 1st District Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations, disclosed this during the House of Representatives’  four-hour long deliberations on the DSWD’s proposed P171.22 billion budget for 2021.

“’Yung sinasabi na P10 billion savings, a portion of that has been disbursed, naibigay na. Ang naiwan na lang is around P6.5 billion and according to our financial managers, ‘yung P6.5 billion was realigned for AICS to help vulnerable sectors, ‘yung mas may kailangan na indibidwal,” she told the plenary. 

(About the P10 billion savings, a portion of that has been disbursed, it was already given. What is remaining is around P6.5 billion and according to our financial managers, the P6.5 billion was realigned for AICS to help vulnerable sectors, those individuals who are in most in need.)

The House leader said P3.5 billion has been given to the beneficiaries of SAP for the second tranche. 

“For second tranche,  they are already  claimed by the beneficiaries of SAP,” she said. 

In a virtual press briefing on Sept. 29, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said they are keeping in touch with the economic managers to ensure that its untapped P10-billion SAP funds will be properly spent and will reach its intended beneficiaries. 

He maintained that the economic managers, led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, have the last say on the use of the agency’s projected unused SAP funds. 

Bautista said it is awaiting the green light from the economic managers before it implements its Livelihood Assistance Grant (LAG) program using the projected unused SAP funds.

Under LAG, deserving families are entitled to receive P15,000 LAG as a seed capital for new alternative income-generating activities or certain micro-enterprise ventures as part of SAP’s recovery phase.

The DSWD will provide LAG to a beneficiary-family of its Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), provided that at least one family member is an informal economic worker and whose livelihood, occupation, or work, has been affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

 During a budget briefing at the Senate last month, DSWD Director Resty Macuto bared that the P15,000 assistance will be extended to informal vendors and “sari-sari” (neighborhood convenience) store owners.

Bautista noted that during their meeting with the economic managers in August where they presented the status of the SAP 1 and 2 implementation, and discussed about the unutilized funds, the “guidance” they received is that the agency has to request “a change of purpose” so they can use the untapped SAP funds as additional fund for the LAG.

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