January 30, 2023

More than 5,000 Social Amelioration Program (SAP) beneficiaries in Baguio City failed to claim the P5,500 assistance through Paymaya, the service provider tapped by the national government to disburse the second tranche of the cash subsidy.

But Department of Social Welfare and Development Asst. Director for Operations Amelyn Cabrera said the 5,489 beneficiaries in the city will be notified as soon as funds are again downloaded to the regional office to be given directly to those who failed to get the assistance.

Paymaya has returned to the national government the unclaimed funds. Cabrera said the regional office will have to wait for the money to be downloaded to them by the DSWD central office before they notify those who received text messages from Smart Padala but were not able to claim the money.

The 5,489 families who failed to claim their payments are among the 7,838 beneficiaries who received text messages from Smart Padala, instructing them to proceed to an authorized agent to get their cash. Only 2,349 were able to claim the fund assistance.

“We hope the central office will download again the funds this month or early November,” Cabrera told members of the city council, who invited the agency to update the body on the status of the SAP second tranche disbursement in Baguio.

To recall, the national government has tasked the DSWD regional offices to implement the SAP second tranche with Paymaya as the mode of payment. Several issues, however, came out as not all the beneficiaries had android phones from which they could download and register through the application and avail of the vouchers.

In Baguio, the DSWD-Cordillera has endorsed 33,658 beneficiaries to Paymaya for payment. Of this number, 22,245 beneficiaries claimed their payments directly through the Paymaya vouchers. The 7,838 received text messages that instructed them to a Smart Padala agent where they can directly claim the money.

There were 42,578 families who were validated as eligible SAP beneficiaries, but 33,658 were endorsed to Paymaya.

Cabrera said the 8,920 who were not endorsed to Paymaya were notified to claim their cash aid directly from DSWD after the agency conducted further validation on them.

Of the 8,920 direct payouts, 7,759 claimed the money. Various reasons were cited for the other eligible beneficiaries who did not claim the money, such as failure to appear during the payouts, failure to submit the documents required, they went home to their provinces, they cannot be located, and others waived their payments since they already received from other agencies like the Department of Labor and Employment and the Social Security System.

For the SAP first tranche, Baguio had a target of 45,000 beneficiaries, but the total number of families served by the City Social Welfare and Development Office reached 47,287, with a total disbursement of P254,471,600.

Social Welfare Officer Liza Bulayungan of CSWDO said the amount downloaded to the office was P256,178,250, but around P1,706,650 was returned because the supposed beneficiaries waived their SAP payments as they received cash aids from other agencies like DOLE and SSS. – Jane B. Cadalig