July 19, 2024

City Councilor Elmer Datuin has filed a proposed ordinance providing for the revised guidelines for the implementation of Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) in Baguio.

The proposed ordinance seeks to entirely amend Ordinance 16-2019 or “Providing Guidelines for the Implementation of Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations in the City of Baguio.”

AICS is “the provision of integrated services to individuals and families in crisis situations through the City Social Welfare and Development Office Psychological Intervention Unit (PIU).”

Services under AICS are financial and material assistance (transportation assistance, financial assistance, burial assistance, educational assistance, food assistance, and cash assistance for other support services); psychological intervention; and referral for other services.

Datuin said there is a need to modify the guidelines to align it with updated program lineups in relation to AICS and in compliance with Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

Under Section 5 of RA 11032, all offices and agencies providing government services are mandated to regularly conduct cost compliance analysis, time and motion studies, to undergo evaluation and improvement of their transaction systems and procedures, and to reengineer the same (transaction systems and procedures) if deemed necessary to reduce bureaucratic red tape and processing time.

It also mandates all government agencies, offices, and local government units to undergo regulatory impact assessment to determine if a certain proposed regulation does not cause undue regulatory burden and cost to these agencies/offices/LGUs and the applicants.

 As a general policy under the proposed revised guidelines, the provision of financial and material assistance to clients shall be based on the assessment and recommendation of the CSWDO workers duly approved by authorized officials. The eligibility of clients to receive the needed service/s shall be established through interviews, home visits, and submission of necessary documents.

The maximum amount to be provided to clients shall be based on the parameters set forth by the guidelines to be reviewed periodically.

Partnerships with stakeholders such as hospitals, drugstores and pharmacies, transport companies, funeral parlors, and other service providers shall be established by the city government to ensure referred clients are able to receive the needed services immediately. Contracts or memoranda of agreement may be entered into by the city government with qualified service providers.

The implementation of AICS must not be delegated and/or transferred to any accredited civil service organizations and that AICS must be directly implemented by the CSWDO.

A screening process shall be conducted by the designated CSWDO staff to ensure the completeness and correctness of the requirements of the clients, followed by an interview. The requirements shall be assessed to determine the eligibility of the client in availing of the services. 

Under the proposed revised guidelines, the cost of assistance under AICS ranges from P1,000  to P10,000 except for transportation assistance (land travel, sea travel, and air travel) whose actual cost is based on ticket quotation.

For the assistance worth P10,000 and below, the client shall claim it from the designated disbursing officer within the day depending on the availability of funds. Outright cash may be provided to clients who will be traveling through several modes of transport to defray the costs. Food assistance may also be given.

Payouts conducted by the Psychological Intervention Unit (PIU) shall be released within seven days.

Assistance through the issuance of a guarantee letter shall be addressed to the service providers. The letter shall be considered an urgent document and prioritized for signing by concerned approving officers to be released within the day.

The release of the assistance worth up to P10,000 through a guarantee letter shall be released within three days depending on the availability of funds.

The financial assistance shall be approved by the CSWD officer.

As for the referral services, the PIU social worker issues a referral letter to stakeholders in favor of a client who needs assistance and other parochial/local services. The client must also be referred to other concerned agencies if the programs or resources of the CSWDO could not meet the client’s needs.

The CSWDO shall establish partnerships through a memorandum of agreement with service providers to reduce the amount of cash advance to be bonded for the delivery of assistance to clients.

Cash releases through off-site shall also be considered. Off-sites shall be determined by the CSWDO in coordination with the City Treasury Office. Off-site cash release shall be made only during office days and office hours. The proposed ordinance has been approved on first reading and referred to the city council’s committee on social services, women, and urban poor for review. – Jordan G. Habbiling