MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday warned that administrative and criminal sanctions will be slapped against local government units (LGUs) if they fail to distribute all the emergency subsidies to poor families on or before April 30.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave the warning as he acknowledged that some beneficiaries under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) have yet to receive the cash aid granted by the national government.
“Administratively and criminally, they may be held liable for dereliction of duty, which is a form of graft,” Roque said in a virtual press briefing aired on state-run PTV-4, referring to local officials who will fail to finish the distribution of emergency relief by April 30.
LGUs only have three days or until April 30 to completely distribute the cash assistance to 18 million poor families who are identified as beneficiaries under SAP.
Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said LGUs must hasten the payout of financial assistance under SAP to help the beneficiaries cope with the crisis brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak in the country.
Roque said the emergency subsidies for all 18 million low-income households should be distributed by April 30.
He said a show-cause order will be issued against local officials if they fail to comply with the DILG’s latest directive.
“Lahat po ng na-identify na beneficiaries, bibigyan po natin (All identified beneficiaries should get the cash aid),” Roque said. “Otherwise, (LGUs will receive) show cause order or face administrative and criminal sanctions.”
Under the PHP200-billion SAP, each of the 18 million poor families will be provided with PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 emergency subsidies for two months to help them sustain their needs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
LGUs have signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the agency tasked to lead the implementation of SAP, to ensure the speedy distribution of cash relief.
The total amount of emergency subsidies that has so far been distributed nationwide is PHP42.13 billion, benefitting around 8.1 million low-income households, according to DSWD’s SAP Monitoring Dashboard for Emergency Subsidy.
The DSWD has already downloaded PHP80.73 billion to LGUs for the distribution of emergency subsidies to families who are not covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
About PHP25.85 billion of the PHP42.13 billion has been disbursed by the LGUs, while the remaining PHP16.27 have been released to families who are part of 4Ps. Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos /PNA – northboundasia.com