By Felipe V. Celino
ROXAS CITY, Capiz – Two relatives and some individuals supported the claim of Jovanie Candelario, a person with disability (PWD) who claimed that his Social Amelioration (SAP) grant was taken from him right after receiving it from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The “embarrassing” incident happened on April 24, 2020 at Brgy. Pawa in Panay, Capiz.
According to Melanie Candelario, she was right behind her brother-in-law Jovanie when he signed the SAP documents.
Melanie said she saw the DSWD staff give six P1,000 bills to Jovanie, took a photo of him holding the money before it was taken away from him.
Another relative, Prezel Candelario, also backed up Jovanie’s claim.
Prezel said the statement of Jovanie is true.
Melanie and Prezel said other SAP grantees also saw the incident but they failed to take photos and videos because everything happened quickly.
Jovanie had claimed that his grant was taken away as he was not qualified, according to the DSWD staff.
He added that he will not waste his time and effort to go to Pawa if he was not qualified for the grant.
He will also not go to a radio station to complain if he was making up stories.
Earlier, the DSWD 6 denied reports that Jovanie was humiliated during the SAP payout to households affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, the DSWD-6 said “it will always be for the protection and access to services of persons with disability.”
“They belong to vulnerable groups and we will always tilt in their favor to ensure that they are heard and not discriminated.”
The DSWD-6 said that “based on the report of our team in Capiz, the PWD was not humiliated. The news of him taken with photos holding money and made to sign the payroll is erroneous.”
A certain Sybil delos Reyes Billanes also clarified the report of a radio station in Capiz.
Billanes, who worked for the local government of Panay, presented the SAP payroll which showed that Candelario did not receive any money under the SAP.
“Gani wala sang natabo nga pag bawi sang kwarta sa iya. Wala man natabo nga pag picture sa iya,” she said.
Billanes claimed there was nothing to be taken back from Candelario as he received nothing in the first place.
She labeled the report as disinformation meant to discredit the SAP implementation in Panay, Capiz.
Meanwhile, the DSWD-6 said they already instructed the Panay local social welfare and development office to ensure that Candelario is protected.
“To put the record straight, the PWD is not eligible for SAP as an individual. But his family, represented by his father as the head of the family, is eligible. The family received P6,000 during the payouts,” the DSWD-6 statement added.
SAP is for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)-covered households, low-income families with a member coming from the informal economy workers, and low-income families with a member from vulnerable groups.
“However, we have already instructed our protective services division to ensure assessment to be conducted on the PWD for appropriate intervention, including psycho-social support,” DSWD-6 added.
It also urged the public to be mindful of the information they post on online platforms.
“We cannot capitalize on one’s vulnerability and sensationalize it to win public sympathy. Definitely, not at the expense of our vulnerable sectors, such as PWDs. In the same vein, we call on our barangay officials to ensure the correct listing of beneficiary families for SAP.”
DSWD-6 also asked everyone involved in the process – from the heads of the family who fill out the SAC to the barangay officials who certify the beneficiaries – to be honest.
“We know that our local social welfare and development officers are having a hard time facing hatred comments,” the agency added.
While the agency wants everyone to be included in the SAP, DSWD-6 said it is constrained by the guidelines.