Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas has promised to allocate his eight-month salary as financial assistance to the barangay workers in Talisay City who have volunteered to waive their share of the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
He said he reached an agreement with officials of 22 barangays over the weekend to prioritize the poorest residents in the distribution of the SAP benefit.
“I just told our barangay front-liners that since all of them will not be included in SAP listing, ako saad kanila puwede matungatunga nila akong (I promise them that I will divide my) salary from April to November. I am willing to give up eight months of salary for the barangay officials who will receive nothing from SAP,” Gullas said in a social media post on Monday.
The City Hall will start distributing SAP cards to the beneficiaries “who are severely affected” by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the public health threat brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), under the guidelines of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“Based on our agreement with the barangay chairmen, councilmen and other village officials, they will not be included in the list of SAP cards recipients so that we can send a message to the people that we favored no one on this program,” Gullas said.
He thanked the barangay officials for coming up an understanding with the city government in coming up with the additional guidelines.
As agreed, barangay tanod (village watchmen), barangay health workers, barangay nutrition scholars, and members of the Lupon Tagapamayapa will not be included in the SAP benefits, Gullas said.
By excluding barangay officials from the SAP, the list of beneficiaries will be more credible and assure that the recipients registered under the program are the “poorest of the poor” in Talisay.
“Walay duol sa luwag nga malista (None will be listed because they are close to the powers that be),” Gullas said.
The mayor’s decision to exclude the village officials came after he received information from the DSWD there would be a cap for the SAP budget per local government unit (LGU).
“In all honesty, we originally received 63,000 SAC (social amelioration card) forms. Initially we thought that the 63,000 SAC downloaded (for) Talisay City was our target and the ones that could benefit from the SAP. But the next day, we were informed of our target that only 36,969 families can receive (from) the SAP,” he said.
As the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) beneficiaries are excluded from SAC benefits, only 29,529 will actually receive the emergency cash assistance to be coursed through the LGU.
This, Gullas said, is way below the 250,000 population of Talisay. He, however, vowed “to work with the number” allocated to the city.
On Monday, he said a DSWD representative assigned to each of the 22 barangays of Talisay would not only validate the list but will also answer questions from constituents concerning the social amelioration program of the national government. (PNA)