AROUND 1.3 million low-income households in Central Visayas are set to receive P6,000 cash assistance anytime in April under the social amelioration program spearheaded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Thursday, April 2, 2020, released P100 billion (for 18 million households in the country) to the DSWD to cover the funding requirements for the social amelioration program.

The social amelioration program under Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, aims to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Its distribution, however, is "subject to the level of need of the beneficiary."

Shalaine Marie Lucero, DSWD-Central Visayas assistant director, said of the 1.3 milion households set to benefit from the cash aid, around 294,000 households are Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) members while the rest of the beneficiaries are members of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT)-Listahanan and those qualified informal economy workers as identified by their local government units (LGU).

Informal economy workers include pedicab, tricycle and habal-habal drivers, farmers, small sari-sari store owners, and the vulnerable sectors such as solo parents, pregnant and lactating women, indigenous people, persons with disability and the homeless.

"I-clarify lang namo nga they should belong in a family. Dili ni by person," Lucero said.

Lucero also clarified that the social amelioration for 4Ps is a top up to its regular UCT cash aid amounting to P1,350. An amount of P4,650 will then be added to this amount for a total of P6,000.

The cash aid will automatically be downloaded to their cash cards.

For the Listahanan members and the informal economy workers, it will be the DSWD, in coordination with the LGU, who will distribute the said assistance.

Moreover, Lucero said the distribution of family food packs (sourced from the government's Quick Response Fund) is over and above of the said cash aid.

"Kon nakita namo nga panginahanglanon na sa usa ka pamilya nga gi-request sa atong LGU, mohatag gihapon ta og food packs. Pero this time, magdepende sa assessment namo kung pilay ipanghatag," she said.

The LGUs, she said, are guided on how to identify which families need food packs the most.

She said a total of 3,240 food packs were given to households and some stranded passengers who were not able to go home to their province before the enhanced community quarantine was imposed.

The DSWD Central Visayas also appealed to warehouse owners to voluntarily lend their warehouses that could be used as repacking areas and storage facilities for family food packs.

The social welfare deparment targets to produce at least P1.3 million food packs to be distributed in the region. Those who wish to lend their warehouse may contact numbers: (032) 233 8785 and (032) 232 9507. (WBS)