June 21, 2024

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-Cordillera released P17.2 million in financial assistance for 5,226 individuals and families in the region during the launch of the Ayuda para sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP).

The beneficiaries who received P3,000 each included 227 from Apayao; 2,140 from Baguio City; 772 from Benguet; 672 from Ifugao; and 1,415 from Kalinga.

Residents from Abra and Mountain Province are yet to receive their cash aid as they still need to undergo deduplication to ensure they are not enrolled under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or the Social Pension for senior citizens.

DSWD-Cordillera Director Maria C. Aplaten spearheaded the distribution at the President Fidel V. Ramos Gymnasium in Baguio City and at the Benguet Sports Complex Gymnasium in La Trinidad, Benguet, in sync with the national simultaneous launch of the AKAP program.

Aplaten assured the DSWD-Cordillera’s support to those belonging to the vulnerable sector such as vendors, gardeners, cashiers, janitors, salon and sales ladies, and security guards.

“The current minimum wage of P430 in the Cordillera would not suffice to meet the daily living expenses for families and breadwinners, given the ever-changing economic conditions and prices of goods nowadays. That’s where the DSWD, through AKAP, comes in to provide for and fill in the gaps for families who are in need,” Aplaten said.

DSWD Sec. Rex T. Gatchalian in his video message said the AKAP “is intended to provide a menu of assistance for goods and services that are affected by high inflation depending on the needs of the individuals.”

The General Appropriations Act of 2024, specifically Special Provision 3 of the DSWD Budget, authorized the funding for AKAP amounting to P26.7 billion which will serve as financial assistance to minimum wage earners falling under the category of low income that were severely affected by the rising inflation.

Based on DSWD Memorandum Circular (MC) 4, s. 2024, “AKAP shall be implemented as a targeted social assistance to individuals who may not have access to regular assistance on account of them not belonging to the poorest population.”

The MC provides outright cash assistance from P1,000 to P10,000, subject to the assessment of DSWD social workers.

Cash aid above P10,000 will be given through a guarantee letter approved by the DSWD secretary.

To qualify as a beneficiary under AKAP, the individual must belong to the low-income category, such as those whose income does not exceed the statutory minimum wage.

Minimum wage earners eligible for AKAP program can apply by showing any of these documents within three months: contract of employment duly signed by the parties, certificate of employment with compensation or pay slip with full name and signature, income tax return, and any other document showing the client’s income does not exceed the statutory minimum wage per region.  – Christian Robert M. Sandoval