MANILA - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is tapping mobile apps in distributing aid to poor families affected by lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
DSWD Spokesperson Irene Dumlao said they learned many lessons from the implementation of the social amelioration program, which provides cash aid to millions of poor families who lost income due to coronavirus travel and work restrictions.
"There were challenges but what’s important is we were able to address this," Dumlao said in an interview on ANC's Headstart via Zoom.
The government has allotted a P200 billion fund to provide emergency subsidies, ranging from P5,000 to P8,000, to over 18 million poor families for April and May.
Malacañang recently announced that 5 million more will receive the aid.
The second tranche of cash aid will be limited only to those in areas still under ECQ as of May due to limited funding, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.
But distributing the funds downloaded to the local government units have posed several problems including ensuring that safety protocols against COVID-19 are practiced.
"We have now studied the use of digital payment infrastructures, 'yun pong mga online wallets, we will be utilizing those," Dumlao said.
The city government of Makati, for one, is using a mobile wallet app to distribute cash aid to qualified residents.
DSWD has also partnered with different government agencies and private organizations for the use of mobile technology to expedite the process of gathering information from beneficiaries.
"We have actually finalized some of our partnerships with different groups and, this afternoon, we will be launching one of the applications that we will be using," she said.
Dumlao said they have received several complaints and reports from the public against local officials who allegedly split cash aid and exercised favoritism in selecting beneficiaries.
She said these reports were referred to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for investigation and appropriate action.
"Ang concern po ng DSWD na iyung ayuda ay maipahatid natin sa mga pamilya na lubos po na nangangailangan," said Dumlao.
(The DSWD's concern is to bring the aid to families that need it most.)