DSWD clarifies issues on its alleged unfair SAP selection and validation

Published by Marygizelle Mesa on

DSWD is being held up as object of ridicule and thoughtless bashing in the social media today parallel to its implementation of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

Most of these heedless comments and posts coming from netizens stem from obvious misinformation and false attribution to the Department of the mandated functions of the Local Government Units (LGUs) relative to their selection and validation of qualified beneficiaries for the DSWD SAP.

Under Memorandum Circular 09 series of 2020, it is stated that to facilitate the quick delivery of the urgently needed cash assistance to the most affected families of the areas under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), DSWD Field Offices such as DSWD Bicol shall: (1) Immediately coordinate with LGUs to forge a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with them. The MOA shall be signed by the DSWD Regional Director and the Local Chief Executive (LCE). LGUs shall be required to submit the budget proposals along with the signed MOA., (2) Facilitate the transfer of funds to the LGUs within twenty-four (24) hours from receipt of the LGU’s signed MOA and budget proposal.

With this, DSWD ensured 100% compliance of the LGUs to the basic requirements for the immediate processing of the transfer of funds to their respective LGU bank accounts.

Last April 8, in a separate press release of the Department, it was announced that all SAP funds were released to the 114 LGUs of the Bicol Region amounting to 3.8 Billion intended for 772,287 qualified Non-Pantawid poor families.

Under the same MC, the roles of the LGUs were clearly enumerated as follows:

  1. Facilitate the execution of the MOA and abide by their roles and responsibilities as stated therein;
  2. Provide the list of target beneficiaries /clients;
  3. Facilitate distribution, accomplishment and encoding of SAC forms;
  4. Facilitate the preparation and approval of the payroll;
  5. Ensure the timely delivery of payment to the beneficiaries based on the approved payroll;
  6. Monitor the delivery of the assistance;
  7. Submit liquidation reports within fifteen (15) working days from the completion of the distribution; and
  8. Perform other actions or undertake activities consistent with the provisions of these Guidelines.

MC 09 is very clear on putting emphasis that the distribution and accomplishment of the SAC Forms for profiling of beneficiaries and as a mechanism to monitor the eligible families in receiving any social amelioration programs from any government agency, including the DSWD, during this COVID-19 crisis and other similar emergency situations, shall not be a pre-requisite for the transfer of funds but will only be employed by the Department thru post validation to ensure that there will be no duplication of assistance given to same beneficiaries and fraudulent payments.

The Department has provided the LGUs with Listahanan 2.0 of 2015 for Non-4Ps poor families in the absence of an updated Listahanan 3.0 which was still on the process of validation prior the declaration of the ECQ.

This credible list serves as a guide for the LGUs in the fast identification of the poor families within their localities. For families with improved conditions from 2015-2020, they will be subject to the re-assessment and validation of the Local Social Welfare Officer (LSWDO) of the respective LGUs for possible replacement of a more qualified beneficiary. The families included in Listahanan 2.0 is only a part of the total target of the LGU that must be identified, assessed and validated to receive the SAP.

May we reiterate that DSWD does not identify beneficiaries, nor validate/approve qualifications hereto, prior the release of the SAP by the LGU. This is a delegated task to the LGU thru its LSWDO. The Local Social Welfare and Development Office of an LGU is not DSWD.

This is in view of the passage of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, DSWD devolved basic social services – together with its direct service workers, assets and liabilities, and corresponding budget – to the Local Government Units (LGUs) thru its Local Social Welfare and Development Offices (LSWDOs).

The power of social media to reach huge number of people in any part of the globe is its very same disadvantage when faced with people who are not careful about the contents they are posting. In this time of pandemic, it should not be a platform for ridicule and embarrassment but a shared responsibility of all for proper information dissemination and other information campaigns. Let us help each other to heal as one.

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