Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Virginia “Gee” N. Orogo said that the Department continues to work closely with the Landbank of the Philippines to step up the distribution of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) grants for 10 million poor Filipinos under the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law despite various challenges that are normal in government work flow.
“We are doing the best that we can to immediately provide the cash grants by closely working with the Landbank of the Philippines to hasten the distribution, but there are factors beyond control because it involves government processes that we need to follow” she said.
Sec. Orogo also explained that after the law was passed on December 19, 2017, DSWD and Landbank needed to sign into a MOA, develop and agree on the implementing guideline, implementing rules and regulations. Both Landbank and DSWD need to clear with other agencies regarding operational concerns.
The Secretary also shared that, “We do not not see these as delays, since this is part of standard procedures in rolling out programs and projects. Besides, when we started the implementation, the time table was part of the approval process, and all entities agreed that the implementation will finish by September.”
As of July 13, 2018, a total of 4,295,464 Pantawid beneficiaries have already received their grants through cash cards, OTC via conduits, and ‘Pitakards.’
Moreover, 1,215,426 social pension beneficiaries and 104,941 accounts of Listahanan-identified UCT beneficiaries already received their UCT grants via OTC, as of July 25, 2018, bringing the total up to 6.1 million beneficiaries given their grants since the Department started last March 5, 2018.
“We plan to finish the UCT payout to Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries and social pension beneficiaries by August, while the payout activities for Listahanan-beneficiaries are expected to end by September this year,” Sec. Orogo confirmed.
The Secretary also stated that while waiting for their UCT grants, beneficiaries may avail of other DSWD programs and services such as the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) which provides cash assistance for education, medical, and burial.
The Secretary also addressed complaints that the amount of the grant is not enough for the increasing prices of commodities.
“Before the TRAIN Law was passed, the P200 per family per month amount and P300 per family per month amount for 2019-2020 were thoroughly studied by economic experts and comprehensively deliberated by congress and senate,” she explained.
“Ang P200 kada buwan ay ayuda lamang para sa ating mga mahihirap na kababayan para pantustos sa pagtaas ng presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin dulot ng TRAIN Law. Hindi nito layunin na tugunan ang lahat ng pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan (The P200 financial assistance for our poor kababayans only covers the increase in the prices of basic commodities due to the TRAIN Law. It does not aim to meet all of the financial needs of our kababayans),” she stated.
“However, we are open to accommodate the requests to increase the UCT amount, as long as, the legislative branch and our economic managers in the government are willing to amend the law,” she ended. ###