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Solo parent laments exclusion from SAP

LEGAZPI CITY – A solo parent described in her barangay as one of the poorest of the poor is appealing to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for inclusion in the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), the distributions of which were rocked by complaints and allegations of corruption in the barangay level.

Violeta Cemitara, a 60-year old solo parent of Purok 6, barangay Baranghawon, Tabaco City, claimed that she and her married daughter Joy are living together in one roof. Joy’s husband works as an off-and-on construction worker who was displaced by the enhance community quarantine (ECQ).

She said she and her younger unmarried daughter, Jessa, survive through the help of her eldest son who works as a houseboy.

Last week of April, Cemitara said that Joy who has a three-year old baby was listed in the barangay as SAP recipient and given the P5,000 cash. The amount was taken back by the barangay the following day, citing Cemitara membership in the 4Ps. But Joy has a separate family living together in a small dwelling with her mother and two siblings.

Cemitara, whose husband died four years ago, admitted that her 4Ps membership was reactivated last February after two years interruption, when her younger daughter Jessa graduated in high school in 2018.

DSWD Bicol regional director Arnel Garcia said that Joy had returned the P5,000 SAP allocation because of her mother’s 4Ps membership. Joy, 28, who lives with her mother is considered one family. Cemitara 4Ps record showed Joy and her baby are Mrs. Cemitara dependents in the roster of her 4P’s record.

Garcia explained that a text message from Tabaco Mayor Krisel Lagman Luistro said that Joy had voluntarily returned the SAP money because of the 4Ps membership of her mother.

We did not returned the P5,000 cash. The barangay coordinator named Cleodoro came to our house to reclaim the P5,000 SAP assistance a day after Joy received it. Joy was made to sign a waiver at the city’s social orker (CSW) office, Cemitara said.

Meanwhile, Garcia said that as of May 1, his office has already released to the Bicol six provinces a total of P2,797,395,000 representing 72.44 percent for the targeted 772,287 families, adding a total of 559,481 families have been reported served. Garcia said the total allocation for the Bicol six provinces is P3,861,435,000

In an intervie, he also admitted receiving complaints in the distribution of P5,000 cash from SAP in the barangay level.

Garcia said that in one town in Albay, a barangay chairman reportedly prioritized his relatives in SAP allocation. He clarified, however, that the DSWD has nothing to do with the distribution of SAP money to barangay recipients.

Payments are made by the barangay chairman and the city or municipal controlled social worker. The role of DSWD in SAP distribution is purely monitoring, together with the AFP, PNP and DILG, Garcia said.

The first wave of SAP distribution to the deserving poor residents has ended on April 30. President Duterte extended the distribution until May 5 for the five million Filipinos who were not included in the first wave. President Duterte issued a strong warning against those involve in SAP corruption

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