February 5, 2023

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial government is set to extend financial assistance to individuals or families affected by the impacts of the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) but were not covered under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) or other assistance from the government.

Gov. Melchor Diclas said the cash grant is under the Assistance to Individuals in Critical Situation (AICS),a regular program of the provincial government under the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO).

Diclas said the identification of AICS recipients was made after the beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare’s SAP and the Department of Labor and Employment’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers, a community-based package of assistance for informal sector workers or the Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program were identified. 

The provincial government allotted P7 million for the AICS. 

Twenty individuals or family beneficiaries in every barangay will receive P2,500 each.

Diclas said under the AICS, the assistance is P5,000 each for 10 barangays but local officials re-commended that the amount be reduced to P2,500 to accommodate more recipients.

PSWD Officer Juana Bannawe said the office is awaiting the list of recipients from the province’s 140 barangays.

The beneficiary under the AICS may not necessarily be an indigent but is directly affected by the impacts of the Covid-19, a bonafide resident of the area, and has a social case study report from the local social worker.

The grant is expected to be released within the month once the list from the barangays and certification by the PSWDO are completed.

Diclas said additional funds will be earmarked for the program once the provincial government receives its share from the ER 1-94 program of the Department of Energy.

 ER 1-94 provides host communities one centavo for every kilowatt-hour generated by power plants operating in the area.

Benguet hosts the Binga and Ambuklao hydro power plants and other smaller hydro plants. – Susan C. Aro