We, the undersigned civil society organizations, including people’s organizations, present the following recommendations in order to hasten the disbursement of the much-needed assistance to the most vulnerable sectors of our society as we, as a nation, try to deal with COVID-19:

 

  1. Utilize the existing National Household Targeting System (NHTS) as the initial baseline for the rapid deployment of assistance to poor families.

While not ideal, the NHTS has already incorporated variables from the Family Income and Expenditures Survey and the Labor Force Survey in the identification of 4.2 million Filipinos enrolled in the Pantawid. Cash transfers to Pantawid households can be automatically done utilizing the payout system that is already in place.  As such, the barangay, the municipality, or the city will be freed from the task of providing cash assistance to Pantawid households.

 

  1. Merge the NHTS with the LGUs’ recommended list for inclusion/exclusion utilizing the application form for the Social Amelioration Card (SAC). This should cover non-Pantawid households, including PWDs, solo parents, informal workers, teen mothers, senior citizens, and poor migrants trapped in localities because of the lockdown, among others, as listed in the DSWD memorandum. 

The non-Pantawid households should likewise immediately get cash assistance and issued cash cards as soon as they accomplish the SAC application form. Gathering completed SAC application forms must be a combined house-to-house effort of DSWD and LGUs, with DSWD fielding enumerators to hasten the process of generating the list of additional recipients. It is crucial that data from the SAC forms be encoded, as soon as possible, to clean the list for the next round of assistance and have a more reliable database for social protection measures.

 

  1. The transfer of funds should not be conditioned on the complete encoded data of beneficiaries from SAC forms in a particular area as this will take a while given the magnitude of target households.
  2. The grievance mechanism for citizens affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine, with focus on, among others, the inclusion/exclusion list must be clear, functional and known to all.

In our effort to quickly deliver the assistance, the possibility that some households might be missed is real, and hence the grievance mechanism should be able to address this.

 

  1. As far as practicable, utilize electronic and money transfer means for cash transfers to ensure the swift release of the assistance. Loop in conduits that offer zero to minimum transaction fees like GCash, PayMaya, Palawan Express and LBP card for beneficiaries.

Technology is at our fingertips.   Rather than burden the barangay by adding another task of distributing the assistance, we can reduce logistical bottlenecks and human interaction while providing for those in need in the least costly and efficient way.

But fund transfer arrangements should be flexible, depending on the condition of the locality.  There might be instances where it would still be easier to funnel it through the barangay especially in areas where money transfer facilities are in the población and the recipients are in far-flung barrios.

 

  1. Make public the list of beneficiaries.

Transparency is an integral part of this effort. It will minimize suspicions of favoritism, corruption and politicizing this very important program.

In the past, disclosures of the NHTS list were withheld because of data privacy issues. However,  Section 4 -c of the RA 10173 (Data Privacy Act of 2012) clearly lists “Information relating to any discretionary benefit of a financial nature such as the granting of a license or permit given by the government to an individual, including the name of the individual and the exact nature of the benefit,”  as among its exceptions. (emphasis ours)

 

These are extraordinary times.  We are certain that our people will appreciate full transparency on how public funds are being used to help those who need help most.

We hope that these recommendations will be given due course. We hope that the relief for our vulnerable sectors can be done quickly.

Thank you very much.

 

Respectfully,

Action for Economic Reforms

Advocates of Inclusion

Aktibong Kilusan ng Mga Maralitang Mamamayan (AKMMA-Quezon City)

Aktibong Nakatatanda sa Commonwealth (AKNACOM)

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)

Aksyon Kabayanihan Para sa Organisadong Pagbabago (ANGKOP)

Asosasyon ng Nagkakaisang Magsasaka sa Philseed

Ayos na Gamot sa Abot-kaysng Presyo (AGAP)

Barangay Health Workers, Brgy. 28 Caloocan

Barangay Health Workers, Brgy. 105 Tondo

Barangay Health Workers, Brgy. San Jaoquin Pasig City

Barangay Health Workers, Brgy. Tabacalera, Pateros

Batasan Neighborhood Alliance

Bigkis Medisina

Cabrera People’s Unity , Pasay City

Cambuga Farmers Credit Cooperative (CFCC)

Care for the Street Children

Childreamers Inc.

Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE)

Commonwealth East Neighborhood Alliance (CENA)

Dayap Homeowners Association

Ecowaste Coalition

FOI Youth Initiative

Joly Homes Foundation

Kaisahan ng Magniniyog sa Mulanay (KASAMA MU, COINDEV)

Kanlungan, Damayan at Agapay ng Magsasaka Para sa Agrikultura (KANLUNGANG DAMPA)

Kilusan ng Mga Komunidad sa Kamaynilaan para sa Smoke-Free na Pamayanan (KKK-smoke-free Manila)

Laban ng Maralitang Sektor Sentro ng nagkakaisang progresibong Manggagawa

Liga Manggagawa (LM)

Links for International Advocacy (LIAD)

Mama’s Brigade Association, Inc.

Maypajo Urban Poor Association

Move Metro Manila

Nagkakaisang Grupo ng mga Mamamayan sa Aroma, Tondo

NASSA/Caritas Philippines

National Public Workers Congress (PUBLIK)

Parents Coordinated Actions –Baseco

Parola Tondo Association

Pasig Alliance for Smoke-free Homes (PASH)

Payatas Based Community Organizations (PACOMBA)

Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

Pinyahan Network of Informal Sectors

Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK)

PUP College of Accountancy and Finance Student Council

PUP College of Architecture and Fine Arts Student Council

PUP College of Arts and Letters Student Council

PUP College of Business Administration Student Council

PUP College of Computer and Information Sciences Student Council

PUP College of Education Student Council

PUP College of Human Kinetics Student Council

PUP College of Social Sciences and Development Student Council

PUP College of Science Student Council

PUP College of Political Science and Public Administration Student Council

PUP College of Tourism, Hospitality and Transportation Management Student Council

PUP Institute of Technology Student Council

PUP Office of the Student Regent (PUP OSR)

PUP School of Debaters (PUP SOD)

PUP Sentral na Konseho ng mga Mag-aaral (PUP SKM)

PUP Student’s Party for Excellence and Advancement of Knowledge (PUP SPEAK)

Samahan ng mga Kabataan Para sa Kaunlaran, Malinta, Valenzuela

Samahan ng mga Mamamayan sa J. De Moriones, Binondo

Samahang Mamamayan ng mga Taga Norte, Brgy. 372, Sta Cruz Manila

Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO)

SideCar Boys Club

Taga-Pateros Ka, Inc.

Tala Estate Settlers Federation (TESEF)

Teatro Mulat

The PUP Artists Guild for Excellence

Ugnayan ng mga Mamamayan (Brgy. Almanza Dos, Las Pinas)

Ugnayan ng mga Kabataan sa Baseco

Unified Filipino Service Workers (UFSW)

UP National College of Public Administration and Governance Student Council (UP NCPAG SC)

Urban Forum PH

WomanHealth Philippines

Women’s Initiative for Socialist Development and Freedom PUP

Youth Alliance for Freedom of Information

Youth for Economic Progress (YAEP)

 

Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista

Chosen Youth for Change Coalition

FEU Biological Science Society

Junior Philippine Economics Society

Malabon Youth Council

Millennials PH

PUP Economics Research Society

PUP Junior Political Economist’s Guild

PUP Sociology Society

Rotaract Club of Raha Sulayman Volunteers

Solidarity for Environmental Education – Protection and Development (SEED) Network

Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition

The Oikonomos Nexus

Tobacco Free Generation – Bataan

UP Alyansa ng Mga Mag-aaral Para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (UP ALYANSA)

UP Economics Towards Consciousness

Youth Alliance for Health Reform

Youth for Sin Tax

Y’s Men Club of RAHA Paranaque

Zero Hunger PH

 

Individuals:

 

Clarissa Militante

Joseph Anthony Lim

Mary Ann Manahan

Montgomery Alexander Tan