MANILA - The Department of Social Welfare and Development should "own up" to a mistake that is delaying the distribution of cash aid to thousands of poor families in Iloilo province, where some areas are under lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19, a mayor said Tuesday.
The DSWD-Western Visayas initially told Iloilo officials that the province would get 6,511 slots for the cash aid. However, the agency last week informed them that it "made a mistake" and that beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P's) should be included in the slot allotment, said San Enrique Mayor Trixie Fernandez.
The beneficiaries of the 4P's will take up about one-third of the slots, which meant some families who were already notified that they would get cash aid would no longer be included, she said.
"How to inform them again and how to select kung sino iyong matatanggal (who will be removed)... is a problem that we all have to face dito sa ground," Fernandez told DZMM.
"They (DSWD-Region 6) should own up to this mistake," she said.
The agency should also guide local governments on which families would have to be excluded from the cash aid, said Fernandez who is also president of the Iloilo League of Municipalities of the Philippines.
"We're doing it as fast as we can, but we also want to do it right... We have to make the right decision, kung sino talaga iyong poorest of the poor na ipa-prioritize natin," said the mayor.
Vulnerable families stand to get P5,000 to P8,000. The government allocated P200 billion for the 2-month cash subsidies under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act that gave President Rodrigo Duterte additional powers to address the pandemic.
Authorities next week will complete the distribution of the first of 2 tranches of cash aid for 18 million families nationwide, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautistas said Monday.