DSWD to SAP beneficiaries: Don’t compromise your safety

By Jennifer P. Rendon 

Safety above all.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 6 asked beneficiaries of the government’s emergency subsidy program to look after their safety.

DSWD-6 regional director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre was referring to the pay-out of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) following reports of people flocking the pay-out sites and disregarding health protocols like physical distancing.

Although she did not single out any instance, Macapobre’ issued the statement after a senior citizen collapsed and died while waiting for his turn to receive his SAP grant at Barangay Tangub, Bacolod City on May 1.

Reports indicated that 84-year-old Gualberto Hurtado Sr. was sitting on a chair inside the barangay’s gymnasium when he suddenly fainted.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead due to cardiac arrest.

In a statement on Monday, the DSWD-6 reiterated that door-to-door delivery of SAP aid is still most preferred.

Since April, the DSWD-6 has repeatedly asked the local government units (LGUs) to conduct door-to-door SAP distribution.

If it is not possible, the DSWD requested LGUs that such scheme will be afforded to elderly beneficiaries.

“This in an effective strategy to practice social distancing. But we also acknowledged that not all can do it,” Macapobre said.

She said Monday that they received reports that some LGUs conduct the pay-out without following safety protocol.

“We would like to remind them and the beneficiaries as well that COVID-19 remains a threat,” Macapobre said.

Based on Memorandum Circular 09 Series of 2020, one mode of delivery allowed by the agency is door-to-door. Another is through Distribution Points.

“However, when conducting pay-out through Distribution Points, this must be in very small groups only,” she emphasized.

Macapobre added that “there should be a handwashing area. Soap and running water must be available. It is also recommended that alcohol and sanitizers will be made available.”

“Everyone – both implementers and beneficiaries – must wear a mask and there should be a one-meter distance between persons,” she said.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, all 133 LGUs have either completed or started pay-out in their areas.

A total of 688,497 family beneficiaries were able to receive their SAP cash grant amounting to P4.1 billion.

“As we help each low-income family thrive in this pandemic, let us always put their safety as a paramount consideration,” Macapobre said.