DILG deploys PNP to remittance centers to implement minimum health protocols

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed all police stations nationwide to deploy police officers in remittance centers distributing the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP 2) to ensure social distancing, the mandatory use of face masks, and implementation of minimum health standards.

DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that DILG Secretary Eduardo Año gave the directive to Joint Task Force COVID Shield Commander Guillermo Eleazar for the immediate deployment of police officers to maintain physical distancing and the use of face masks in remittance centers where SAP 2 beneficiaries are claiming their government assistance.

“Our field offices have monitored long lines in some remittance centers; we advise them to practice social distancing at all times to protect themselves and their families. We are also urging the barangay to assign barangay tanods to remind the public of the minimum health standards together with the PNP,” he said.

Malaya also encouraged the SAP 2 beneficiaries to maximize the use of cashless transactions since financial service provider (FSP) platforms like GCash and PayMaya, through their mobile applications, can be used to purchase products.

“Kung puwedeng hindi na nila i-encash at dumiretso na sila sa mga grocery o botika na tumatanggap ng cashless transaction mas mabuti, mas walang contact. Mas protektado tayo a virus,” he added.

But if the beneficiaries will insist on getting their assistance in cash, “they must still practice physical distancing together with other minimum health standards to avoid transmission of COVID-19.”

He explained that acquiring the virus by not exercising physical distancing will defeat the whole purpose of the assistance.

Among other minimum health protocols imposed in the COVID-19 crisis are mandatory wearing of face masks, physical distancing; and, constant washing of hands or usage of alcohol or sanitizer. He said that the DILG had directed the Pulis sa Barangay/Quarantine Rules Supervisor, the PNP’s COVID-19 focal person in the community, to supervise all barangay tanods to be deployed in remittance centers to ensure the implementation of minimum health standards to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

He said based on reports from the DILG’s field offices, more than a million original and waitlisted family beneficiaries nationwide have received their emergency subsidy through electronic means through the efforts of the Department of the Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the local government units (LGUs) and the FSPs, and that the distribution is continuing daily.

He said that despite the delays, the distribution of SAP 2 to waitlisted families in all parts of the country is moving forward.

He says that LGUs, the DILG, and the DSWD, including their regional counterparts, are working together to hasten the distribution of the aid.

Waitlisted families are those who were not accommodated during the first tranche but were deemed to be qualified by the LGUs and the DSWD.

Malaya said that with lessons learned from the distribution of the first tranche of SAP, the government, through the DSWD, devised strategies such as the use of FSPs to fast-track dissemination of the second batch of SAP.

“We are expecting a less tedious distribution of SAP this time around dahil na din sa mga changes that we instituted this time around.”

DILG and DWSD mutually agreed that SAP 2 will be disseminated through digital/electronic platforms and will only conduct manual distribution in rural and far-flung areas of the country.

Leading with most waitlisted beneficiaries receiving their aid is Region 3 with 156, 842 followed by Region 12 with 130,551;

Region 6 with 99,954; 99,606 for Region 10; and National Capital Region (NCR) with 71,701.

On the other hand, Caraga tallied a total number of 43,416 wait-listed families; Region 5 with 34,246; Region 7 with 32,431;

Region 1 with 21,577; Region 2 with 16,087; CAR with 10,215; CALABARZON with 9,722;

Region 8 with 4,005; and, Region 9 with 57.

Meanwhile, 430,445 original beneficiaries from six regions previously under ECQ have also received their 2nd tranche of financial aid, according to DILG Secretary Año.

Only limited areas of the country already under ECQ are entitled to a 2nd tranche of the SAP.

He says that 201,983 of the original beneficiaries from Iloilo Province and Bacolod have received their 2nd tranche of the SAP while in Benguet, a total of 100,646 were benefitted followed by Albay Province with 93,527; CALABARZON with 18,038; Cebu Province with 12,951; and, Pangasinan with 3,300.