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Duterte to mobilize AFP to help in SAP distribution


By Genalyn Kabiling

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be mobilized to hasten the distribution of emergency subsidy to low income families, President Duterte said on Tuesday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 11, 2020. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 11, 2020. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The President has authorized the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to tap soldiers in the distribution of financial aid to poor households affected by the coronavirus lockdown, recognizing the limited manpower of the agency.

The latest directive was issued to Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista after the President denounced the corrupt practices reported in the aid distribution to target beneficiaries during a meeting with some Cabinet members on Monday.

“You know, I had a nightmare, not only an experience in the distribution of the SAP (Social Amelioration Program). Sabi ko na nga noon, nakinig naman kayo sa akin, takot ako na baka makurakot ito. Takot ako na ma-cuttingan ito kasi… Ayaw ko na lang mag-ano. Basta ganun. Sabi ko, “baka.” O nangyari nga. ‘Di nakita mo? ‘Di ba sinabi ko sa inyo? (I previously said that I am concerned that there might be corruption. I said it might happen and it did. Didn’t I tell you?),” Duterte said during a public address aired on state television Tuesday.

“I will ask General Bautista to use solely ang kanilang full charge sa DSWD. Alam ko walang tao. Ang order ko sa kanya, kanina nung nag-meeting kami na he will request na kapwa niya sundalo noon. Eh retired na ‘to, that’s why he’s with the Cabinet. Na magpatulong siya sa Armed Forces pag-distribute ng pera (I will ask General Bautista to use solely his.. he is in charge of DSWD, I know they lack manpower. I ordered him in our meeting earlier that he will request his fellow soldiers — he’s already retired, that’s why he’s with the Cabinet — he will ask help from the Armed Forces to distribute the funds),” he said.

The President, however, said he prefers women soldiers to assist the DSWD in giving the financial aid to poor families. He admitted that women have more patience and empathy compared to men.

“I have nothing against male, sa mga lalaki. Wala akong ano. Ang sinasabi ko lang mas matiyaga itong mga babae, lalo na kung isipin nila na ito kailangan ng mga pamilya, mga bata para pagkain. The empathy, iyong ano ng puso ng babae ang gusto ko (Women are more patient especially when they think the subsidy is needed by the families, the children so they will have food. Women have empathy. That’s what I like about the heart of women),” eh said.

“Kaya ang sa mga babae na miyembro (To the women members of the military), maybe you will be commissioned to do that,” he added.

Duterte cautioned the government troops to remain vigilant against potential attacks by communist rebels during the aid distribution. He said rebels have recently attacked troops and disrupted relief operations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The government has been distributing subsidies ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 to poor families since April as part of the P200-billion social amelioration program. The distribution of the second tranche of the subsidies will begin this month.

The aid distribution has been marred by delays due to discrepancies in the list of poor beneficiaries, among others.

In his seventh weekly report to Congress, the President said the DSWD has disbursed P99.2 billion for the emergency subsidy program that benefited 14.2 million poor families as of May 8. The recipients included 3.9 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries, 10.2 million non-4Ps beneficiaries, and 40,418 public utility drivers and operators.

The original plan is to provide financial aid to 18 million low income families to ease their hardship amid the lockdown measures. An additional five million will be included in the list of beneficiaries.

As of May 7, Duterte said 714 out of 1,634 local government units have completed the payout of the relief aid in their areas.

Local officials have already been directed to liquidate the amounts distributed with the DSWD. The DSWD said it has received requests to extend the deadline for liquidation and consider a partial liquidation to allow LGUs to start the distribution of the second tranche, according to the President.

“The requests are in view of the delay in distribution caused by the factors mentioned in the previous report, such as harassment and threats to DSWD personnel, limited manpower due to observance of self-quarantine of exposed frontliners, time needed by the LGUs to validate beneficiaries, and to ensure proper screening and inclusion of eligible families only,” Duterte said.

He said the DSWD is also finalizing the new guidelines for the five million families that will be added to the list of subsidy beneficiaries. He said steps will be taken to validate the list of “wait-listed” families through cross-matching with available databases.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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