The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) issued today the guidelines for the distribution of financial assistance of P1,000 per individual, with a maximum of P4,000 per family, to residents affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine in NCR, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal or the “NCR Plus area.”

DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that DILG Officer-in-Charge Bernardo Florece Jr, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista and DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, s 2021 dated March 31, 2021 to serve as guidelines in the distribution of financial assistance after President Duterte approved the release of P22.9 Billion to affected individuals.

“As we pray this Holy Week that this COVID-19 pandemic will finally end, we also take care of providing for the basic needs of affected low-income families during this ECQ,” said Malaya.

Under the JMC, all local government units (LGUs) were directed to determine through an Executive Order the most effective and efficient way of releasing the assistance to their constituents in 15 calendars days upon receipt of the funds if the assistance is in cash or within 30 calendar days if assistance is in-kind.

“The LGUs have the discretion to determine if the assistance will be given in cash or in kind provided that the assistance gets to their constituents soonest,” said Malaya.

“As soon as the SARO and NCA is received by the LGUs, the mayors will need to issue an Executive Order detailing therein the type, manner and process of distribution. After the issuance of the EO, they can start the distribution,” he said.

Under the Joint Memorandum Circular, priority target beneficiaries of the said financial assistance are low-income individuals and those working in informal economies who were beneficiaries of the first tranche of Social Amelioration Program (SAP), additional beneficiaries in SAP 2, SAP wait-listed beneficiaries, and those belonging to vulnerable groups such as low-income individuals living alone, persons with disabilities (PWD), solo parents, and the like.

The LGUS can also provide assistance to other individuals affected by the ECQ provided that funds are still available.

Malaya said that the DSWD will provide the LGUs with the complete list of previous SAP beneficiaries which will serve as their reference in determining the individuals who will be granted financial assistance in their respective localities.

Unlike the previous practices wherein the list of SAP beneficiaries was posted afterward, he emphasized that the concerned city/municipal mayors, and punong barangays should first post the approved names and barangay/district of the target beneficiaries before actual distribution.

Said list shall be posted on the LGUs’ official website, social media accounts, and at conspicuous places in the community to foster greater transparency and accountability.

Malaya assured the public that safeguards are in place to ensure that the funds will get to the intended beneficiaries and that there is an appeals process in the LGU where people can submit their complaints.

“We will make sure that the funds downloaded to the LGUs are used for purposes they were intended for. Before distribution, the mayor should issue an executive order detailing therein the type, manner or process of distribution so that the public is properly guided. They are also required to create a Grievance and Appeals Committee per LGU where people can submit complaints,” he said.

Malaya said that they will also create a Joint Monitoring and Inspection Team in each LGU headed by the DILG City/Municipal Local Government Operations Offer and representatives from DSWD, PNP, City or Provincial Prosecutors Office, and civil society organizations (CSOs).

According to Malaya, the Joint Monitoring and Inspection Teams (JMIT) will address complaints or grievances from their constituents concerning the financial aid, monitor LGU compliance with applicable guidelines, seek the assistance of higher authorities in case of undue delay or systemic anomalies in the distribution, and cause the filing of administrative or criminal cases against public officials or individuals involved in irregular or unlawful practices relative to said financial aid.

He said as part of the JMIT, the PNP will immediately investigate and do case build-up on reported cases of anomalies, irregularities, or graft and corruption concerning the aid distribution.

Malaya also said the PNP will also be mobilized to provide security to LGUs in the distribution and may request the assistance of the AFP to augment security arrangements in conflict-affected areas or geographically isolsted areas.

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