EL NIDO, Palawan — The distribution of cash assistance to beneficiaries of the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) in this town has gone off to a slow start.

Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) officer Hilaria Magbanua told Palawan News they have already received the SAP funds download from the central government amounting to P19.5 million and a separate amount of P235,000 for the 1st tranche of assistance.

Assistant MSWDO social welfare officer 3 Yvonne Fe Leuterio said El Nido has 7,348 SAP slots with 4,033 SAP total beneficiaries and 3,315 members of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

“Since we only received the first tranche for SAP payout in the amount of 19,480,000, we can only distribute it to 3,896 SAP beneficiaries now and the rest of the slots isasama namin sa payout ng mga 4Ps,” Leuterio added.

Magbanua admitted, however, that they are having difficulties validating their list of beneficiaries, especially since they have been receiving many complaints from families who were excluded from the assistance program.

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Leuterio said they have been making “last-minute changes” in their list of beneficiaries as they continue their validation even while distributing the assistance.

Some locals excluded as beneficiaries have denounced the DSWD’s process of identifying the beneficiaries, claiming that many among those included as beneficiaries are well off compared to those who did not make the list.

“Hindi ako sang ayon sa ipinaliwanang sa akin na mas nakakaluwag ako sa buhay samantalang ang nakikita ko mas nakakaluwag pa sila kaysa sa akin. Bakit sila lang ang nakuha at saka hindi agad sinabi sa akin na puwede pala magreklamo para ma-revalidate kami. At saka hindi naman sila nag-house-to-house at nagtanong sa amin,“ said Herma Antenorio, a senior citizen from Brgy. Bagong Bayan.

A group of vendors also expressed dismay at the SAP’s list of beneficiaries.

Faridah Sultan, 46, claimed that in Barangay Maligaya, some SAP claimants are either 4Ps members, landowners, and have other means of income. On the other hand, some 13 who did not make it on the list have no other means of income aside from their vending activities.

4Ps members who are beneficiaries of SAP have other means of income and are economically better off compared to others who were not included by the DSWD in the SAP list.

“Nakakasama rin talaga ng loob, kasi kung sino pa ang merong pingkakakitaan, sila pa ang mga nabigyan ng social amelioration. Pare-pareho naman kaming mga pinasara ang mga tindahan, pare-pareho kaming kasama sa lockdown na ito,” Sultan said.

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