DSWD rules on releasing COVID-19 aid ‘unnecessary,’ ‘burdensome’, says ARTA

April 3 ------ The Department of Social Welfare and Development's requirement for potential beneficiaries of the social amelioration program to be certified by the barangay and local government officials is unnecessary and tedious, the Anti-Red Tape Authority said on Thursday. “ARTA's mandate is to make sure that government services are delivered in the fastest and most efficient way,” ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica told reporters in a Viber group message.

“That is why we agree with Deputy Speaker [Luis Raymund] Villafuerte that to add this layer is unnecessary and burdensome, as well as opens the door to potential politicking and abuse,” he added. Villafuerte said the DSWD had required target beneficiaries issued with social amelioration cards (SACs) to first be certified and endorsed by their respective barangay chairperson and then validated by the municipal or city offices of the DSWD before they could receive their cash subsidy. The House leader said this was an "unnecessary" bureaucratic layer prone to politicking and corruption.

“We agree with Deputy Speaker Lray, we do not want this to be politicized and adding this layer is unnecessary,” Belgica said. “We are reaching out to the DSWD on these reforms and continue to stand ready to assist however we can to make things efficient,” he added. The ARTA, he said, is proposing engaging in non-cash disbursements. “We are talking with LandBank and private e-wallet services to see how we can provide the aid electronically thru accounts that can be used to transact in a cashless manner,” Belgica said.

The anti-red tape body is also suggesting to the DSWD the following guidelines:

Set the qualification of recipients base on the amount of annual salary. This data is readily available in their employment records/SSS records.

- For employed: Thru SSS (via employer, and will be credited to their payroll account)

- For non-employed: Thru SSS also or they may file claim, attaching their updated DTI/business permit.

- For 4Ps recipients, cash relief will be directly credited to their card

- For others like jeepney drivers etc., they may file individual claims. This will minimize the number of recipients that will have to be validated. This is the cluster that can be coursed through DSWD-LGU-BRGY

- For govt employees, they may waive cash relief (or be disqualified). Afterall, they are still receiving salary (plus hazard pay for frontliners, although of course the HP has a different basis).

“In all these concerns we bring our recommendations and concerns to the IATF and to the agency heads directly,” the ARTA chief said.

Source: gmanetwork.com