ALABEL, Sarangani (April 17, 2020) – Sarangani started releasing in Glan town on April 15 the cash assistance from the national government’s social amelioration program (SAP) to households hardest hit by COVID-19 quarantine measures.
Grantees of the province got the outright cash aid of P5,000 each based on the minimum wage rate in Region 12.
Racquel Panal, Sarangani’s Officer-In-Charge of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, said the same beneficiaries will also get the same amount next month for the second wave of financial assistance.
Joy Marie Buensalido, 24, a resident of Barangay Tapon and a mother of two, told Sarangani Provincial Information Office that they had really been hard-up when the small town lottery, where she worked as a teller, stopped operation in Glan since the town imposed its partial community quarantine since March 14.
Her husband, a habal-habal driver, also lost income since the policy on no backrides in motorcycles was likewise imposed.
“Kami apektado jud kaayo sa COVID mao dako kaayo nakong pasalamat sa P5,000 para makapalit mi ug bugas ug gatas sa among mga bata (We are affected by COVID crisis that is why I am so thankful for the P5,000 cash assistance so we could buy necessities like rice and milk for our kids), Buensalido said.
An aggregate of P299,370,000 was downloaded to Sarangani, according to Panal, where some 59,874 households could benefit from it.
She said the 30,204 beneficiaries of the 4Ps in Sarangani were excluded in the SAP because the balance in addition to their regular subsidies to make it P5,000 was already downloaded two weeks ago.
Panal said Glan was ahead among the municipalities in the province to obtain the amelioration subsidy on April 7 while the allocation for the rest of the six towns was subsequently downloaded on April 8 and April 13.
Mayor Vivien Yap said Glan received a sum of P64,910,000 enough to be distributed to 12,982 households or 39% of the town’s total household count.
The amount, she said, will be apportioned evenly so that qualified households in each of the 31 barangays in her town will benefit from the cash aid.
As a strategy, Yap said, a team had initially started releasing the aid in two barangays starting April 15 while two other groups are still validating other barangays to hasten the process of distribution. However, she pointed out she would not be able to comply with the seven days requirement set by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“Dako kaayo ang Glan, so I’m just hoping that I can finish this, the least is less than 10 days which is very hard, but then gusto nako maabot sa mga tawo ang kwarta,” Yap said.
Based on the guidelines, Panal said some of the municipalities should have started their liquidation but mayors are asking for extension since it is impossible for them to comply with the 7-day distribution requirement “considering that some of the communities are far-flung.”
As Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon promised, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved on April 16 the P14-million financial assistance to the seven component municipalities in Sarangani wherein each will get P2-million to augment their resources in mitigating the effects of COVID-19.
This is in addition to the P1-million assistance downloaded to each of the municipalities on April 3.
Mayor Yap expressed gratitude for the governor’s support saying this has been a great help for them “to move on until May” as Glan like the rest of Sarangani towns has been regularly providing rice allocation to its residents since the declaration of community quarantine in Sarangani. However, Yap said the “people have not stopped earning money too, they have been going to their farms. But then even with that, the government saw to it that we will be there helping the people in this time of crisis. That’s basically why we are giving rice to help our people sustain the crisis that we have.” Yap also said she had already signed the memorandum of agreement with DSWD for the release of the pension of the senior citizens. “I’m trying to do everything fast. I have to act fast. I have to be a step ahead in planning everything so that what will be for the people will be for the people,” she added. (Beverly C. Paoyon/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)