PH gov’t readies P1.5B emergency funds, food packs for Typhoon ‘Bising’ victims

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021   •   562

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has allotted P1.5 billion to respond to the people who will be affected by Typhoon Bising, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said.

In a statement, the DSWD said it has prepared emergency relief supplies that can be used to augment the resources of local government units affected by the typhoon.

“Based on the 6PM, April16 report of the Disaster Response Management Bureau (DRMB), the DSWD maintains stockpiles and standby funds amounting to more than P1.5 billion. Of which, more than P517 million is the available Quick Response Fund (QRF) in the DSWD Central Office,” the agency said.

“In addition, the Department and its Field Offices (FOs) have 355,672 family food packs prepositioned in strategic locations around the country ready to be delivered to LGUs,” it added.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) that Bising has slightly weakened as it moves northward over the Philippine Sea.

The typhoon was last spotted at 500 kilometers east of Infanta, Quezon, packing maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 230 kilometers per hour. It is moving northward at 10 kilometers per hour.

The DSWD said that its field offices’ Quick Response Teams along the typhoon’s track are “now on standby and ready to provide technical assistance, if needed, following the new normal protocols of the agency amid the pandemic.”

“The Department, as the lead agency in the Food and Non-Food Item Cluster, Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, and the Internally Displaced Persons  Protection Cluster of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council will continue to ensure the efficient and well-coordinated delivery of social protection services to the population that will be affected by the typhoon,” it said.

PAGASA said that moderate to heavy rains at times intense rains will be experienced over the Bicol region and Northern Samar until Tuesday.

It is forecast to move generally northward or north-northwestward until Wednesday evening or Thursday morning before it moves away from the landmass of Luzon.

Bising is seen to exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Sunday.

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Starpay denies Pacquiao’s corruption allegations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— E-wallet service provider Starpay Corporation has disputed Senator Manny Pacquiao’s allegation of corruption in the financial aid distribution of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“In the interest of truth and transparency, we would like to clear the baseless claims against Starpay Corporation on the issue of ayuda distribution. Over the last several days, statements, allegations, and insinuations have been released using unverified data and we would like to set the record straight with readily verifiable facts that are also accessible and available in the public domain,” Starpay said in a statement.

Starpay partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the distribution of pandemic cash aid through its e-wallet service. Pacquiao previously claimed that Starpay failed to fully distribute the financial aid under the DSWD’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

On the supposed large number of complaints, the company has on record a total of 1,615 complaints which have been resolved and would only constitute to 0.03% of the total served number of beneficiaries.

The licensed electronic money issuer (EMI) already liquidated the funds and have refunded the amount for the unserved beneficiaries through several checks that were issued to the DSWD. It also belied Pacquiao’s claims that the current capitalization of the company is P62,000.

“The required capitalization to apply for an EMI license is P100 million, which we complied with in 2017 as a prerequisite by the BSP for any EMI license application. Senator Manny Pacquiao’s statement during his press conference that our current capitalization is P62,000 is incorrect, while the correct and accurate figures are easily verifiable with the Securities and Exchange Commission,” Starpay said.

Starpay also reported that it was able to cover more than five million beneficiaries that were successfully paid as we went above and beyond the original allocation set by the DSWD and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“We commit to upholding transparency and integrity in our operations and we will continue to work harder so that we will be able to provide the widest and most convenient range of digital financial services for the greatest good of all Filipinos,” Starpay said. AAC


DSWD assures enough resources to assist evacuees amid Taal Volcano unrest

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured it has enough resources to augment the local government units’ response to the needs of the evacuees amid the Taal Volcano unrest.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista visited the evacuation centers in Laurel and Agoncillo in Batangas to check their situation.

As of July 3, more than 867 families have been affected by the Taal Volcano phreatomagmatic eruption, with 416 families or  1,712 individuals currently staying in 16 evacuation centers in the province.

The DSWD reported that it already delivered 500 family tents and 1.048 million pieces of facemasks to Laurel, Batangas, and Batangas City after the Taal Volcano was placed under Alert Level 3 last July 1.

An additional 500 modular tents and 5,000 family food packs were sent to the Batangas Sports Complex on July 2.

The DSWS also said 1,500 FFPs were also sent to the town of Agoncillo, and another 2,000 to the town of Laurel. AAC

DSWD ready to face probe; maintains no ‘missing’ SAP fund

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it is ready to face investigation into the allegations raised by Senator Manny Pacquiao regarding misused Social Amelioration Program (SAP) funds.

The DSWD also said it is willing to present the necessary evidence and other relevant documents to clarify the allegations on SAP. The department also reported that it has attended several congressional hearings relative to the SAP implementation and has presented all the necessary reports for transparency.

In a statement, the the DSWD assured all funds provided to the Financial Service Providers (FSPs) are all accounted for and that there are no “missing” funds. All aid distributed is supported by liquidation reports that can be shared, if necessary.

“The agency ensures that the processes adopted by FSPs on payouts are in accordance with BSP-approved processes and  existing government accounting rules and procedures,” the department said.

To date, the DSWD reported that more than 17 million low-income families have received their first tranche of SAP with more than P98 billion amount disbursed. For the second tranche, 14.88 million  families have also received their cash assistance with over P89.8 billion disbursed, as of July 2,  2021. Some payout activities are currently ongoing and will be completed by the end of this month. AAC


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