Press Release
November 18, 2020

DSWD should "play Santa and distribute P80 B worth of undisbursed aid."

With 7 weeks left in the year, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is pressing DSWD "to act like a Santa Claus on overdrive" and quickly disburse some P80 billion remaining in its 2020 budget, prioritizing victims of the three typhoons which have devastated a wide swath of Luzon.

"Midnight of December 31 is the Cinderella hour for these funds," Recto said, explaining that "if they have not been obligated, their validity automatically expires on January 1."

Worried that the clock will run out on these appropriations, Recto has filed a bill extending the validity of the Bayanihan II Law, so that "stranded funds can still be spent next year."

However, even if said bill becomes a law, Bayanihan II covers only a small part of the unspent DSWD funds, "in the neighbourhood of P6 billion for the second SAP, the cash aid for poor families," Recto said.

"That's the tip. The iceberg is some P75 billion. That money, we've been told, is now with the DSWD. If it has been obligated, the next step is to disburse it with urgency," Recto said.

According to the DSWD, the P6 billion undistributed balance for the second SAP has been rechanneled to a new program, Recto said.

"Sabihin na natin they contravened what is in the Bayanihan II Law. O sige na. But if you've diverted it, then better spend it," Recto said.

"Yung P6 billion may appear as small in this era of trillion peso budgets, pero pwede mo nang ibili ng 6 million bags of rice na ang tig-25 kilos," Recto said.

To implement SAP, the DSWD got P206.6 billion, P196 billion from the DBM plus P10.6 billion in agency budget realigned for pandemic response.

SAP's first tranche release, pursuant to Bayanihan 1 Law, reached almost 18 million families, costing P100.44 billion.

The second installment, still under the Bayanihan 1 funds, benefitted 14.01 million families, with P94.5 billion spent.

"Yung sa Bayanihan 2 ang may problema, kasi out of a target 662,470 families, mga 1,339 families pa lang ang nakatanggap," Recto said.

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