P500 aid for poor resumes

DSWD chief says 12.4M beneficiaries to get cash grant, relief goods

The government will resume distributing P500 in monthly cash aid to poor families to help them cope with rising commodity prices starting today, Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo said Sunday.

MORE ‘AYUDA’. Some of the 97 members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) assist the Department of Social Welfare and Development in repacking relief goods at the National Resource Operations Center in Pasay City on Friday. The DSWD prepared and distributed 426,587 family food packs during the implementation of COVID-19 Alert Level 1 in Metro Manila. PCG Photo

The cash grant was a result of an order issued in May by previous President Rodrigo Duterte and was supposed to last six months, with each family getting P3,000 total.

However, the Department of Budget and Management only released on Friday P6.2 billion for monthly assistance to low-income families.

But Tulfo said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had called him up Saturday to ask him about the release of the cash aid.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) aims to get this aid to 12.4 million beneficiaries under its targeted cash transfer program.

Besides this, the department continues to distribute food packs to over 426,000 families affected by COVID-19 lockdowns in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

Tulfo said depositing the grant to the beneficiaries’ cash cards would take only five to six days.

“The amount will be of great help to our poor countrymen, especially at times when prices continue to go up because of the crisis facing the whole world,” Tulfo said.

The beneficiaries who will receive assistance consist of 4 million families from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, six million non-4Ps who were former beneficiaries of the unconditional cashtransfer program, and 2.4 families on the DSWD list.

The DSWD chief appealed to the beneficiaries to put their grant to good use by buying food and other needed necessities and warned them that using them for illegal activities, such as gambling, could result in the forfeiture of their grants.

Earlier, Tulfo said he would tap informers to identify persons who should be delisted from the conditional cash transfer program, otherwise known as 4Ps, as they are not eligible to receive the assistance.

He said these people were defrauding the government.

Tulfo said he planned to implement a reward system to encourage people to report unqualified 4Ps beneficiaries.

This, he said, is aligned with the directive of President Marcos to clean up the list of beneficiaries in the DSWD’s social assistance programs.

Tulfo said thousands of Filipinos who are still waiting to be included in the 4Ps list would benefit from the purge.

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