The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured the public that it is distributing cash aid to residents affected by Severe Tropical Storm ‘Paeng’ in the easiest and quickest way possible, following the existing auditing rules and regulations.

In implementing the provision of financial assistance under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), the DSWD said that it follows the enhanced and simplified guidelines of the program as stipulated in the Memorandum Circular No. 16 series of 2022 to extend such assistance for ‘Paeng’-hit households in a timely and effective manner.

“Ang gusto lamang ho natin ay maayos po ang pagbibigay ng ayuda, food pack man ‘yan o cash assistance. Gusto ko po ay maayos at tuloy-tuloy at hindi na pinapahirapan ang ating mga kababayan” (What we want is to properly provide aid, whether it is food pack or cash assistance. I want it to be smooth and continuous, as well as make it easier for our fellow Filipinos), DSWD Secretary Erwin T. Tulfo said.

The Department emphasized that it only requires a copy of valid Identification (ID) card or any alternative documents for identification of residents affected by the weather disturbance to process their request for cash grants under the AICS program.

In a related development, the DSWD clarified that victims of typhoons or other calamities, who may have no available valid ID, still need to present a barangay certification or justification from the DSWD Social Welfare Officer pertaining to the absence of their ID.

This sole requirement is being implemented by the DSWD to comply with the auditing rules and to ensure that public funds are all accounted for.

It can be recalled that Secretary Tulfo provided a directive last August to review the guidelines of the Department’s frontline programs, including AICS, to expedite the release of aid to families and individuals in difficult circumstances needing immediate support.

This clarification was issued by the DSWD following the complaint of Mayor Dino Chua of Noveleta, Cavite against DSWD Field Office IV-A for allegedly requiring too many documents before giving financial assistance to his constituents who suffered from the onslaught of Typhoon ‘Paeng,’

Based on the initial review of the situation, the Secretary clarified that some residents of Noveleta were not provided with cash assistance because either they were not included in the list provided by the concerned local government unit (LGU) or these individuals were not able to present the required identification document.

During the payout, DSWD Field Office personnel even asked for assistance from the barangay heads to validate and certify that the unserved individuals were indeed residents of their respective barangays. However, the barangay officials declined the request because they could not identify those individuals claiming to be affected by the disaster in their jurisdictions.

The DSWD FO IV-A, also said that they implemented the distribution of assistance in an orderly manner and in accordance with the existing guidelines. Likewise, Field Office personnel did not fail to provide immediate and appropriate assistance to the affected families in Noveleta.

Based on the existing guidelines, beneficiaries need to comply with and meet the requirements, including an identification document and justification from the concerned LGU, to receive cash assistance under the AICS program.

The DSWD appealed to the LGUs to assist the Department in identifying their respective constituents and in the overall distribution of assistance to the affected population.

In a related development, Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. and Cavite 1st District Representative Jolo Revilla praised the swift response of the Department in assisting families affected by ‘Paeng’ in the province of Cavite.

In a post on Senator Revilla’s official website, it was mentioned that DSWD Field Office IV-A Regional Director Barry Chua and his Assistant Regional Director for Operations Mylah Gatchalian already provided 4,000 food packs in the municipalities of Bacoor, Kawit, Noveleta, and Tanza in less than 24 hours after the onslaught of the Typhoon.

The legislators from the province attributed the Department’s quick response to the enhancement made to its protocols for the distribution of aid which was earlier instructed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

Likewise, they lauded the sense of urgency of the Department that despite the challenges brought by the calamity, the DSWD was able to continue its relief operations.

“Ang mahihingi lang natin ay ipagpatuloy ang kanilang sakripisyo at kapwa isantabi pa rin ang pagod hanggang matapos ang trabaho” (All we can ask is that they continue to sacrifice for the welfare of the affected), Senator Revilla said.

“Kasama namin ang DSWD all throughout our daily relief operations. Mula sa delivery ng family food packs, releasing ng financial assistance at pag-asikaso ng mga nasalanta ng bagyo” (The DSWD is with us all throughout our daily relief operations. From the delivery of family food packs, releasing financial assistance and taking care of those affected by the typhoon), Congressman Revilla added.