December 5, 2023

Around 35 individuals in Bakun, Benguet initially targeted as beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program of the government have waived their slots for those who need the financial assistance more.

Bakun Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Officer Alvin Comila said the 35 residents from various sitios in Barangay Gambang were initially targeted as beneficiaries of the SAP fund worth P5,000, but they opted not to sign the SAP form.

“What happened was that it became self-assessment already. They are still in need but they knew that they can still survive in place of those who really have no means in this crisis,” Comila said.

Comila said the 35 heads of families have different backgrounds. Some are receiving pension, some are dependents of Overseas Filipino Workers, and some feel they can still manage their resources.

Others have family members, who are persons with disabilities but still chose to waive their subsidy for others.

Comila added the individuals did not sign the SAP forms and did not go through the validation process conducted by the barangay together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

One of those who waived their SAP subsidy is the family of Dindoy Aban. Cresencia, the wife of Dindoy, said in a text message sent to the Courier that they discovered that they were  over qualified based on  the DSWD guidelines.

“We followed what was in the guidelines and we know that there are those who need it more. Thank God we are still healthy to work and we are blessed to have our crops that’s why we chose to waive the SAP,” she said.     

SAP is an emergency subsidy program of DSWD based on Republic Act 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” signed by President Rodrigo Duterte recently.

The target beneficiaries of the program include low-income households or workers in the informal economy who have no means of work this enhanced community quarantine, 4Ps beneficiaries, senior citizens, PWDs, pregnant and lactating women, solo parents, OFWs in distress, and other members of the vulnerable sectors, among others.

While there are those that waived receiving their subsidy through SAP, there are also individuals who insist on being part of the SAP even if they are not qualified.  

Comila said there was a resident from one sitio in Bakun who complained directly to the hotline of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

He said this was because of the inclusion as SAP beneficiaries of five people, who are related to one another in their area.

He said the act of the 35 individuals have helped shorten the process of validation by the frontline workers from the municipal local government unit and the DSWD.

Bakun Mayor Bill Raymundo also expressed his appreciation to his constituents who voluntarily waived their SAP subsidies.

The SAP allocation for Bakun is for 2,499 families.

More than 800 are covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program while more than 1,600 are included in the SAP.

Raymundo said while there are residents who are not much in need but are included as beneficiaries, there are those in need but were not included in the list during their validation.

Bakun, a third-class municipality highly dependent on agriculture, has a quick response fund of P1 million, part of it were used to buy rice for relief goods distributed to 4,288 families in the landlocked town. – Ofelia C. Empian