MAASIN CITY, April 4 (PIA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released the number of family-beneficiaries for the entire province of Southern Leyte who are entitled to receive funding assistance as provided under a new law.

Target beneficiaries for the whole province reached 79,366 families comprising the total sum from 18 municipalities and one city, with the city getting 16,101 families as its share.

“As a response to the COVID-19 threat, our government has implemented the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. This Act includes a provision for the delivery of Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to provide assistance to the families affected by enhance community quarantine,” the DSWD said in a statement.

“To ensure that the budget allocated for the program is followed,” the statement further said, “attached here are the number of target beneficiaries for the SAP, as estimated and budgeted by the Department of Finance.”

According to widely-published reports, the national government through the DSWD was empowered by the Bayanihan law to extend P5,000 to P 8,000 per listed recipient, the range depending on the minimum wage by region, in which for Region 8 the financial assistance was pegged at P5,000.

For Maasin City, Mayor Nacional Mercado reported in a Facebook post Friday that the DSWD regional staff conducted an orientation Thursday.

“We learned that the allocation for Maasin City is only 16,101 families despite the estimated 20,000 families who are low income earners,” Mercado said.

“As much as we want all our low income Maasinhon families to be part of the SAP, we are bound to follow the directives from the national government and follow the allocation they have provided,” Mercado further stated.

He expressed trust and confidence that the listed 16,101 families be screened by professional social workers who “will do their jobs with utmost discretion and professionalism, making sure that the poorest of the poor will be the beneficiaries.”

“The funds have not been received by the LGU. It will only be downloaded to the LGU upon completion of documentary requirements. The SA Cards (SAC) are not yet available but it will be sent to the homes of the beneficiaries,” the Mayor explained.

But with or without the SAP, “we will continue to be of service to the Maasinhons, until we will be able to make it through this pandemic,” Mercado ended. (ldl/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)