Senator Christopher “Bong” Go issued a strong reminder to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to prioritize and ensure the delivery of various government social services to the poor and vulnerable sectors.
On Tuesday, 22 September, Go participated in a budget hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Finance to discuss the proposed budget of the department, its supervised and attached agencies for fiscal year 2021.
In his opening statement, the Senator, who is one of the Vice Chairs of the Senate Finance Committee, expressed full support for the proposed budget and stressed the importance of DSWD and its work to deliver critical social services to Filipinos throughout the country, a fact that is made evident by the annual increases in its budget.
With P171.221 billion proposed to be allocated for the DSWD and its attached and supervised agencies for 2021, Go urged its leaders to ensure that every peso goes directly to the less fortunate, most especially in these trying times.
He expressed his gratitude to the department for their efforts to facilitate the nationwide distribution of COVID-19 cash aid under the Social Amelioration Program.
He recognized that the ongoing public health crisis and quarantine measures had made the process difficult. However, he maintained that challenges such as these must not prevent the department from fulfilling its mandate to serve the poor and vulnerable.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa DSWD sa inyong effort na maipaabot ang tulong ng gobyerno sa mga tao sa pamamagitan ng Social Amelioration Program o ‘yung SAP habang tayo ay nasa gitna ng pandemya. Kahit medyo matagal at mahirap ang disbursement dahil sa pandemic, siguraduhin po natin na mabigyan ng prayoridad at unahin ang mga mahihirap at vulnerable sectors,” said Go.
“Alam kong hirap po kayo sa pag-distribute kaya’t medyo natagalan, pero suportado namin kayo dito dahil importante po ay makarating talaga doon sa mga mahihirap na mga kababayan natin at talagang naghihirap po na kailangan ng ayuda sa panahong ito,” he continued.
Despite delays and amid the economic hardships, Go was heartened by the fact that many honest Filipinos came forward to return the money that is not intended for them.
“At ako naman po, sa handling ninyo ng Social Amelioration Program, kahit matagal, gaya ng sinabi ko, talagang ‘yung second round ninyo po ay dapat mapunta doon sa pinaka-nangangailangan, wala pong pambili ng pagkain. Basta importante, ‘yung mga mahihirap ang makatanggap,” continued the Senator.
“Mayroon namang nadodoble, balita ko, may nakakatanggap ng doble. At marami naman pong Pilipino ‘yung honest at nagbalik po ng SAP dahil doble natanggap nila. Ang importante po ay ginamit nila ito pambili ng pagkain, ‘wag lang po isugal at ‘wag lang po ipambili ng droga,” he added.
In the end, the Senator reiterated his full support and gratitude to the DSWD for the work that they do.
“Pinapaalala ko din sa lahat na i-prioritize po natin ang kapakanan ng ating kapwa lalo na ngayong krisis. Magtulungan tayo. Magbayanihan po tayo para maiwasan natin ang hindi pagkakaunawaan at para magkaisa ang ating bansa sa panahong ito,” said Go.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the national government was directed to implement a multi-billion cash subsidy program for poor families, including the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, who were expected to receive the brunt of the economic difficulties triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.