DSWD strengthens aid distribution safeguards

DSWD strengthens aid distribution safeguards
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AN OFFICIAL from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said that they have strengthened the safety mechanisms for beneficiaries of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) to ensure they receive the full amount.

During the Kapehan sa Dabaw on Monday morning, April 15, 2024, at SM City Davao, lawyer Vanessa B. Goc-ong, DSWD-Davao regional director, highlighted the improvements. They have bolstered the grievance machinery and prominently displayed hotlines so that beneficiaries can promptly report any irregularities in distribution.

“Kung naa silay masumbungan dali nalang nila ma address ang issue (If beneficiaries have someone they can report to, issues can be addressed quickly),” she said.

She outlined the new policies, including notifying beneficiaries of the exact amount they should receive and emphasizing that this amount belongs entirely to them. The department has also collaborated with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and security clusters to monitor payout locations for any irregularities.

To combat scams, Goc-ong underscored the department's expanded social media presence and readily accessible emails and hotlines for beneficiaries.

Goc-ong said, “It’s a government assistance para sa imoha, walay pwede makipag-tunga, walay pwede mag commision (It’s a government assistance for them, people should not ask for half of it, nobody should ask any commission from it).”  

While reports primarily came from Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro, the agency has not received any formal complaints. Goc-ong confirmed that they investigated these reports and contacted 20 percent of AICS beneficiaries to verify if they had encountered issues.

Regarding the "ayuda scam" discussed in a committee hearing, Gemma Dela Cruz, chief of the Protective Services Division of DSWD-Davao, shared that in 2023 alone, they assisted 431,556 beneficiaries in the region, amounting to P2,420,880,428.98, covering medical, educational, food, financial, and burial assistance.

In 2024, ongoing na ang provision ng assistance sa people in a crisis situation so that is ina-assist na ng ating mga social workers kung sino po ang dire need na mga client natin (In 2024, we continue to assist people in crises, prioritizing those in dire need, with our social workers providing support),” she said.

These measures are part of ongoing efforts to ensure transparent and effective aid distribution, with the agency committed to promptly addressing any issues that may arise. RGP

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