More than 3K near-poor families get cash aid

More than 3K near-poor families get cash aid
BENEFICIARIES of the Ayuda para sa Kapos ang Kita Program in Lapu-Lapu City gather at the Hoops Dome in Barangay Gun-ob for the distribution of their cash assistance on Monday, June 24, 2024. Each family received P3,000. Erwin Lim

A TOTAL of 1,572 near-poor families in Lapu-Lapu City each received P3,000 in cash assistance through the Ayuda para sa Kapos ang Kita Program (Akap) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The program, according to the agency’s website, “aims to provide financial assistance to minimum wage earners and low-income individuals who may not have access to regular assistance.”

The distribution took place at the Hoops Dome in Barangay Gun-ob on Monday, June 24, 2024.

Last Tuesday, June 18, 1,612 beneficiaries each received a P5,000 cash subsidy at the San Roque Parish Gym in Subangdaku.

The DSWD 7 disbursed P4.7 million and P8 million for the rollouts in Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue, respectively.

Beneficiaries included vendors, rope makers, rug makers and displaced laborers, among others.

Ileen Casul, a 46-year-old laundrywoman from Barangay Gun-ob, told SunStar Cebu that she plans to use the money for her family’s daily expenses.

“It’s a big help for our consumption, but just for that. I can’t buy anything else because I only do laundry work once a week,” she said in Cebuano.

Cenon Mojado, a 72-year-old rug maker, and Elsa Navarro, a 66-year-old vendor of dry goods, both from Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City, were both grateful for the assistance.

“I’ll buy rice so we have something to eat. It’s good that there’s this kind of help,” Mojado said.

Navarro said she will use the money to buy vitamins for her child with disabilities.

“It’s a big help, especially since my husband and I are seniors. I also have a child with disabilities who needs support, especially for vitamins,” she said.

However, the National Government initiative has drawn criticism from two urban poor leaders in the Visayas Region.

In a phone interview with SunStar Cebu on Monday, Jaime Paglinawan, chairman of Bayan 7, said programs like Akap are merely “patronage politics and band-aid solutions” to ongoing poverty issues in the region.

“Government assistance for the poor is often minimal and just a band-aid solution. Some of these programs are used for patronage politics, meaning they distribute aid when elections are near to create a sense of indebtedness among the poor,” he said in Cebuano.

He said providing employment opportunities and affordable housing are the long-term solutions the government should focus on.

“The right approach would be to provide jobs and free or at least affordable housing,” he said.

Teody Navea, acting chairman of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino-Cebu, also stressed that these initiatives will not solve problems for marginalized sectors if the government doesn’t address root causes.

“This is not enough; it’s a very palliative solution to people’s hardships. Whatever aid they give is not a lasting solution to resolve people’s poverty,” he said.

He added that the government’s use of Akap highlights the government’s failure to meet minimum wage earners’ demands for increased salaries in the face of rising inflation.

As the debate over the effectiveness of cash assistance programs continues, it remains to be seen how the government will address long-term poverty issues in the region. / DPC


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