The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) explained that the P83 billion balance from its year 2020 budget that was raised during the Senate budget hearing, yesterday, November 17, 2020 have been programmed for the implementation of various programs, activities, and projects (PAPs) for the remaining months of this year.

The breakdown of the P83B earmarked for various DSWD PAPs is as follows:

For Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), P48.3B has been allotted. P40B shall be used for the cash grants, fixed and mandatory expenses, and program operational costs which shall be utilized from now until year-end.

Since there was no school from August to September 2020, P7.69B educational grants was not spent. DSWD requested Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the modification of the P7.69B from the 4Ps to be converted into Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) in order for it to be given as an educational assistance, still for the same intended Pantawid beneficiaries.

For the Supplementary Feeding Program for Children, P2.1B has been allotted. The funds have been downloaded to Field Offices (FOs) and local government units (LGUs), however, there is a procurement issue concern of the engaged Regional Directors due to economic inactivity.

In addition, there is a problem with the transfer of funds due to COVID-19; a lack of participation of interested suppliers for the rebidding; and scarcity of suppliers on the ground that can deliver the requirements for the intended beneficiaries.

For Sustainable Livelihood Program, P2.6B was allotted. The P2.4B SARO dated October 22, 2020 was received by DSWD on October 30, 2020. P1.2B out of the P2.4B was immediately downloaded to FOs.

For Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, P3.9B was allotted and the budget will be fully obligated as of yearend.

For Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation, P13.7B was allotted. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat to the health of the special disbursing officers, local social welfare and development officers, and granular lockdowns on the ground due to the rising positive cases, this program has encountered delays despite the use of electronic payment systems.

For BAYANIHAN 1, P5.14B is the remaining balance. Payouts are ongoing in the National Capital Region (NCR) and others. Any excess obligation shall be reverted back to DSWD for the AICS program.

For BAYANIHAN 2, P6B was allotted and there are ongoing implementation in FOs VII, X, CARAGA and NCR as of November 17, 2020.

A remaining balance of continuing funds from fiscal year 2019 in the amount of P1.5B exists due to a delay in the approval and release of the 2019 General Appropriations Act, coupled with the problems and difficulties from the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Total funds on hand of the DSWD from its fiscal year 2020 budget, inclusive of the balance from 2019 amounts to P83.24B.

The Department wishes to emphasize that these are all programmed funds indicated in the General Appropriations Act, which can only be modified upon receiving an approval from the DBM.

The COVID-19 pandemic; imposed Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases guidelines; mobility challenges; constraints on manpower/resources of LGUs and other government agencies; Commission on Audit rules; Memorandum of Agreement commitments; counter-checking measures to ensure transparency/accountability; re-bidding difficulties, logistic problems; and community health risks as a result of the pandemic plus the series of back-to-back typhoons (Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses) have hampered and adversely affected the implementation of various DSWD programs, activities and services.

The Department assures the public that it is exerting its best efforts to expedite the utilization of the funds for their intended purpose within the fiscal year.

DSWD has painstakingly taken into consideration the necessary procedures and provisions of the law, to ensure that a lawful and judicious spending of government resources, reaches its intended rightful beneficiaries. ###