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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Honest Negrenses Give Back Excess Social Amelioration Aid

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Amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis, the honesty of some Negrenses is a breath of fresh air, as some who received extra cash assistance from the government voluntarily returned the amount.

In Negros Occidental, each beneficiary of the social amelioration grant under the Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) has received PHP6,000 for the month of April from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

However, problems encountered in the identification of beneficiaries have led to “double payment” to a certain family or household or the release of the cash aid to beneficiaries not qualified to avail of the assistance.

One of those who returned the amount is 75-year-old retired teacher Susan Limaco of Talisay City.

A pensioner like her is not among those qualified to receive the cash assistance, but unclear rules or confusion regarding recipient-senior citizens apparently led to her inclusion in the list.

She admitted having already spent the amount for maintenance medicines and household items. However, she felt guilty receiving the money and looked for means to come up with the amount. She personally returned the cash to the City Social Welfare and Development Office on Monday.

“Other pensioners also returned the amount. I felt guilty. The money is from the government and all of us are affected by Covid-19,” the teary-eyed former teacher said in an interview.

In Candoni town, Marebeth Lachica, a resident of Barangay East, also returned the PHP6,000 cash assistance she received last week.

Knowing that her common-law husband already received the assistance, she returned the extra amount to the Municipal Welfare and Development Office.

Raymund Magbanua, a resident of Sitio Tabuc Suba in Barangay Poblacion, Cauayan town, also gave back the PHP6,000 he received after his partner also got the same assistance.

Also in Cauayan, former village councilman Botoy Pineda of Barangay Poblacion, who has a business and whose son is a teacher, returned the same amount.

The ESP, also known as the “SAP” or social amelioration program grant, is provided under Section 4(c) of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. (Nanette Guadalquiver ndb via pna)

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