Only 17 out of 133 LGUs beat SAP pay-out deadline

By Jennifer P. Rendon 

In principle, different local governments (LGUs) should have completed on Friday the distribution of the government subsidy under the social amelioration program (SAP) to qualified beneficiaries.

But as of noon of April 30, the deadline for the completion of the SAP payout, only 17 out of the 133 LGUs in Western Visayas, or 12.78 percent, beat the target date.

Records from the Department of Social Welfare and Development – Region VI (DSWD-6) showed that not a single LGU from Iloilo was able to score a 100 percent pay-out.

Seven of the 18 towns in Antique province have completed their SAP pay-out – Belison, Bugasong, Culasi, Laua-an, Pandan, San Remigio, and Valderrama.

All five towns of Guimaras – Buenavista, Jordan, San Lorenzo, Sibunag, and Nueva Valencia – also beat the deadline.

Other top performing towns in the SAP pay-out are Sapi-an and Dao in Capiz; Don Salvador Benedicto and EB Magalona in Negros Occidental; and Buruanga in Aklan.

DSWD regional director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre said she hoped that more towns will meet the deadline set by the national government.

As of Thursday, DSWD-6 said there are still 106 LGUs that are continuously releasing the SAP funds.

A total of 528,060 beneficiaries already received their P6,000 grant for a total of P3,168,360,000.

Macapobre said that based on guidelines, the LGUs should start the distribution of the SAP five days after they have received the funds from the DSWD

“And we have finished the downloading of funds to all LGUs on April 20,” she said.

But based on DSWD-6 records, some LGUs have yet to start the pay-out.

“We hope it’s just the reporting that was delayed,” she said.

Macapobre also admitted that there are LGUs that requested for an extension to complete the pay-out.

She said the request was already forwarded to the office of DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.

“They would talk regarding the request for an extension. We’re just waiting for the decision,” Macapobre said.

Several LGUs cited security issues and emergencies like fire for the delayed release of funds.

“Of course, we understand that safety should come first,” Macapobre said.

In the meantime, she encouraged LGUs to go on with the distribution.

Macapobre said there was no directive against LGUs that failed to meet the deadline.

Ituloy na lang natin at subukang bilisan. Dapat tapusin talaga for the sake of the beneficiaries,” she said.

Macapobre also clarified that the downgrading of some areas from enhanced community quarantine to general community quarantine will not affect the second tranche of the SAP distribution.

Under the guidelines, SAP should be given to affected families placed under community quarantine.

Macapobre said the guideline was unclear if it referred to the enhanced community quarantine or the more relaxed general community quarantine.

She said the P6,000 SAP subsidy will still be released to beneficiaries in areas under the general community quarantine.