Former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Wednesday denounced the government for the method used to distribute cash assistance to families affected by the health crisis brought by the coronavirus disease.
“Until now, some government officials are either out of touch with the public they are supposed to serve or they simply don’t care,” said Binay in a statement.
Binay said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is mandated to serve the poorest of the poor.
“But it is not even aware, or conveniently ignored, that only 800,000 of its six million SAP (Social Amelioration Program) beneficiaries have smartphones. How can they receive that (cash assistance) digitally?” he said.
“The more than five million SAP beneficiaries have no choice but to go out of their houses to get it over-the-counter transactions. Because of its indifference and negligence, the DSWD exposed over five million Filipinos to the danger of contracting COVID-19. The welfare of our countrymen was not even considered during this time of the pandemic,” added the former vice president.
The Senate is currently investigating DSWD officials over alleged irregularities in the cash assistance or ayuda distribution.
But according to Binay, the Senate hearings also show that there is something more than indifference and negligence behind the botched ayuda distribution.
“This is yet another example of how the government failed to put the welfare of the people first during this pandemic,” he said.
Senator Manny Pacquiao had named the DSWD and three other departments as one of the government agencies involved in corrupt practices.
The DSWD was the lead agency tapped by the government for the distribution of cash assistance to families hardly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.