Through the five months of restricted mobility due to quarantine protocols, the country’s economy has plummeted and livelihoods were not spared by the impacts caused by the coronavirus disease pandemic.

While some have found ways to generate income amid this public health crisis, other workers’ sources of income were among those put to a halt as the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) ramped up efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Top photo: EMPATHY. Ronabelle Tadic, a beneficiary of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), returns the extra amount transferred to her account. She said as a single parent, she feels how hard it is out there for other beneficiaries waiting for their aid. (DSWD photo)

Ronabelle Ann Tadic, a transport network vehicle service (TNVS) driver and Social Amelioration Program (SAP) beneficiary, found that she received two more batches of the cash assistance apart from the aid intended for her family.

She returned it to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in mid-August.

Nakatanggap na po kasi ako ng para sa akin, sobra na po yung nakuha ko (I already got my aid but they sent me more),” she said in a Viber message on Tuesday.

Tadic’s honesty was featured on DSWD’s uSAP Tayo episode on August 25, 2020.

She is one of the SAP beneficiaries who were cited by the agency for their honesty and empathy to other beneficiaries who have not received their aid yet.

She returned some PHP16,000 worth of aid to the central office, knowing the money can lighten the burden of another suffering family.

Sinauli ko po ito dahil alam ko naman na hindi ito para sa akin na, at alam ko rin po na may iba pang nangangailangan ng ayuda. Nagpapasalamat po ako sa dalawang ayuda na natanggap namin, panggastos sa bahay, pambayad ng bill, pambili po namin ng pagkain (I returned the aid because I know it is not intended for me and I know there are many others who need it. I am grateful for the financial assistance that my family received. We used it to pay for the bill, buy our food),” she said.

Being jobless during the pandemic, the beneficiary, who was also a single parent, said she knows how hard it is for some families to wade through these trying times.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has limited the number of TNVS drivers on the roads.

The figure gradually increases as the quarantine measures ease.

Voluntarily waived cash aids

DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said the agency is aware that the drivers were one of the most affected sectors, that is why they were prioritized in their list.

Dumlao said on Wednesday that many beneficiaries came forward to return the extra cash aid they received.

Some beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) have returned duplicate cash assistance that they got from other government agencies who were also giving out financial aid.

Vilma Millamina, Jocelyn Colingan, and Maureen Kiloyen were among the 4Ps beneficiaries from Baguio City who willingly returned the PHP5,000 cash assistance they received under the COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), while Imelda Sibayan, also from Baguio City, willingly returned the PHP4,150 aid she received under the second tranche of the SAP implemented by DSWD.

The 4P’s beneficiaries received PHP3,650 to PHP6,650 SAP cash aid per month for two months as a top-up amount added to their regular cash grants and rice allowance.

“This meant they are no longer eligible to receive cash aid from other government agencies,” she said in a statement.

In a previous report, the agency announced that they have trimmed down recipients of SAP 2 from 17 million to only 14.1 million families after some reassessment.

On July 26, DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje said 58,725 families have voluntarily returned their cash aid thinking that others might need it more than them.

DSWD is yet to provide a new figure of the returned cash aids from July 27 to present.

Current SAP 2 figure

As of 4 p.m. August 25, the agency has so far completed their payouts of the second tranche of SAP (SAP 2) to more than 13.55 million family beneficiaries with PHP81.1 billion worth of aid.

Patuloy ang pamamahagi ng emergency subsidy sa mga benepisyaryo ng SAP, kabilang ang mga “waitlisted” o karagdagang mga pamilya (The distribution of emergency subsidy to SAP beneficiaries including the people on the waitlist is still ongoing),” they said on Wednesday.

SAP is a product of Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020, intended to help 18 million Filipino families who were most affected by the series of lockdown measures of the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19. (Christine Cudis, PNA)