The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will help the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units (LGUs) in giving out cash aid so that people can get it faster.
Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has directed the military to help distribute the government’s emergency subsidy program, the Social Amelioration Program (SAP). reports PhilStar.com.
The directive came following the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted female soldiers to help assist in SAP distribution. He told the AFP to “field sufficient force” and instructed them to "neutralize the insurgents who will attack convoys with the aim of seizing guns as well as cash and food aid," according to a Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) press release.
“We feel the expressed desire of the President to provide immediate intervention measures to address the need to bring amelioration assistance to the people forthwith. The AFP will comply,” AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said.
The SAP is mandated by the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, which was signed by the President last March 25, 2020. The cash assistance ranges from P5,000 to Php8,000 to help poor families cope with the lack of economic activity due to the lockdown imposed to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
The DSWD, via the LGUs’ barangays, started the distribution of the first wave of the SAP early in April. However, as of May 12, only 93.6% were disbursed and only 16.6 million families out of the 18 million target recipients received the cash aid before the set deadline.
The DILG will issue show cause orders against local mayors who allegedly failed to meet the deadline for the SAP distribution.