The Department of the Interior and Local Government today reminded beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) last year in the NCR+ area that they have until tomorrow, May 15, to claim their 2021 Ayuda from their respective Local Government Units.

A total of P12.3 billion, or 75 percent of the total budget for the 822 recipients of the Barangay Development Program (BDP), have been released to recipient Local Government Units as of May 12, according to Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

Malaya, who is also National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson on BDP and local government concerns, said the amount accounts for more than 1,750 projects in 617 barangays whose allocations were approved by the Department of Budget and Management (BDP).

“This only goes to show how efficiently these funds are being handled directly by the local government units (LGUs). Only last week, we reported a 65 percent budget approval but with updates we got from Regions 4A and 11, we now stand at 75 percent,” said the official.

He clarified that not a single centavo passes through the NTF-ELCAC and that the funds are released directly by DBM to recipient LGUs upon completion of required documentation.

Of the 822 barangays, 782 barangays were endorsed for fund release by their respective Joint Regional Task Force-ELCAC. The other 40 barangays are still up for review and endorsement by the JRTFs.

Malaya assured the public of transparency in the implementation of the barangay development projects. “For the public to continuously monitor updates on the hows, whys and wherefores about the BDP, I invite them to make it a habit to visit the NTF-ELCAC webpage,” he said.

“There, everyone will be able to keep track of where their taxes are going. And we assure you that these funds are going to where they are supposed to go and are spent the way they are supposed to be spent,” Malaya stressed.

The BDP is a flagship program which was conceptualized to finally address insurgency by bringing sustainable solutions and basic services to communities in need. The P16.44 billion budget for these 822 barangays are directly released to the Provincial or City Governments and are not to coursed to the NTF-ELCAC. The DBM had provided the guidelines in the release of funds for hundreds of barangays in nine regions under Local Budget Circular 135 and 135-A.

Each barangay will receive P20 million worth of projects, broken down as follows: P12 million for concrete farm-to-market roads; P3 million for school buildings; P2 million for water and sanitation; P1.5 million for health stations; and P1.5 million for livelihood assistance.

After submission by barangays indicating their proposed projects, the funds are released by the DBM. The budget department earlier directed the submission of barangay resolutions and the reports started coming in by March 15, 2021. Thus, release of funds started in April.

From 2016-2019, government security forces have cleared 822 former rebel communities by dismantling the communist guerilla fronts that have previously exerted control over them. These communities are now in the process of transforming their formerly conflict-vulnerable barangays into areas of peace and empowerment.

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