The Reality of DSWD’s Social Improvement Program in the Philippines

As prescribed by RA 11469, Section 4, Subsection (c) of the Republic Act (RA), an emergency subsidy to low-income households of a minimum of five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) and a maximum of eight thousand pesos (P8,000) per month for two (2) months is implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Its purpose is to cover basic needs such as food, medicine and toiletries during the community’s enhanced quarantine to combat the spread of the Corona virus.

The implementation process of the Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) or the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) is anchored in the Joint Memorandum Circular 1, Series of 2020. The subsidy is calculated based on the applicable regional minimum wage rates and the subsidy received The current conditional cash transfer program and the rice subsidy are taken into account and taken into account when compiling the emergency subsidy.

This program is said to target families with at least one member from vulnerable/disadvantaged sectors. This group includes seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant and breastfeeding women, single parents, foreign Filipinos in need, indigenous peoples in need, people living below the poverty line, homeless citizens, informal economy workers and stranded workers.

As published in the Manila Times on April 11, 2020 by Al S. Vitangcol, a senator’s claim citing that this social betterment program is for all is due to the fact that the estimated population of the Philippines is 100 million , about 10 million or 10% are overseas; therefore, at the time of the quarantine period, there are 90 million (90%) citizens. With an average household of five members, there will be 18 million households.

Given this data, one can guess that the 18 million households were calculated from the estimated population of the Philippines; to make everyone a recipient of the ESP (or SAP).

However, in the survey, I was the first to be interviewed in our purok. As a single parent I was very lucky and hoping that maybe I could be one of the beneficiaries as I am really qualified to apply for the cash grant. I work as a freelance researcher. I travel around but am finding it difficult to travel more during the extended community quarantine which is putting my current projects on hold.

So from March 2020 to today I will no longer earn anything. Although I only have two children, it’s a bit difficult to meet their needs, especially their studies. My oldest child, who is in high school, has an online class. Being in the top ten in the class, she really doesn’t want to be left behind. So what does an online course need? Basically a strong internet connection. We only have wifi connection which cannot meet the needs of a google classroom. So we use our Android phones instead. We can use up to 200 pesos in a day; and so far the class is still going on.

In my case, if you don’t earn anything from March to today, how are you going to meet that need? This social improvement program implemented by DSWD is said to be the answer. I am really disappointed with the result of this survey as it turned out that I am ultimately not qualified to claim the financial assistance. I really don’t know what criteria they use to judge their beneficiaries.

Not only am I discouraged; but also other people who are also falling victim to false hopes in this crisis.

Thanks to Rosemarie Sumalinog Gonzales | #Reality #DSWDs #Social #Improvement #Program #Philippines

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