NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
Only those poor and low income families affected by the measures implemented against the spread of the coronavirus disease in areas still under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) can get the emergency cash assistance under the government’s second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP 2).
With Bohol now under General Community Quarantine, this disqualifies the province from getting the second round of emergency cash subsidies, at least according to the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2, series of 2020, issued June 9, 2020, which lays down the joint implementing guidelines for the implementation of the SAP 2.
As the Philippines wrestles with the dreaded virus that has already claimed hundreds of lives, the government enforced strict quarantine measures to deny the virus the chance to spread uncontrollably, forcing establishments to disrupt operations denying people work and income, at a time when a public health emergency is declared over all the land.
On this, the government legislated Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act which mandated the provision of emergency cash subsidies to 18 million low income families.
The distribution of the cash subsidies which ranged from P8,000 to P5,000 depending on the regional minimum wage rates also allowed the government to see that millions of families who turned out to be eligible for the cash assistance were left out.
Over this, President Rodrigo Duterte, issued Executive Order No. 112 series of 2020 which added the 5 million wait-listed family beneficiaries.
Executive Order No. 112 also named the regions which poor and low income residents would continue to get the last and final tranche of the government’s emergency cash relief.
These include the National Capital Region, Region III except Aurora, Region IV-A, Benguet, Pangasinan, Iloilo, Cebu Province, Bacolod and Davao City.
A succeeding Memorandum from the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdiadated May 2, 2020 also added to the list of regional beneficiaries Albay province and Zamboanga City.
Moreover, of the 5 million additional beneficiaries, 3.5 million additional beneficiaries would come from areas under ECQ would be getting two counts of emergency subsidies while the remaining 1.5 million coming from areas previously declared under ECQ can get only one round of cash aid, according to the Memorandum from the Executive Secretary as appreciated by the Inter Agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
At the recent Kapihansa PIA last Thursday however, Department of Social Welfare and Development Bohol Social Welfare and Development Office team leader Rhea Marie Tubongbanua confirmed the office has not received the Joint Memorandum Circular about the SAP 2 implementing guidelines.
The Joint Memorandum Circular also binds the DSWD, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police as chief implementer in the distribution of the SAP 2. (rahchiu/PIA-7/Bohol)