Palace confident SAP beneficiaries’ data ‘well-protected’

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

July 7, 2020, 4:34 pm

<p>File photo</p>

File photo

MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday expressed confidence that the six financial service providers (FSPs) that have partnered with the government to implement the second phase of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) will protect the personal information of beneficiaries.

In a virtual press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque was optimistic that SAP recipients’ data are “well-protected” from any potential hackers who will attempt to disrupt the digital release of the second wave of cash aid.

“Hindi po nagbuo ng buong kumpanya ang gobyerno. Ginagamit lang po natin ang mga existing company (The government did not create a new company. We partnered with existing companies). We trust that being in the private sector, they (PSFs) will take steps to protect their computer systems,” Roque said.

Roque issued the statement as beneficiaries of the second SAP aid can now receive their emergency subsidies through the six accredited FSPs.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on May 14 launched the web application “ReliefAgad” to fast-track the distribution of cash assistance to poor families affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

ReliefAgad, a quick-relief system, allows DSWD to have easier access to the details of SAP recipients and distribute financial aid through an electronic payment using smartphones.

To ensure the speedy distribution of the second tranche of cash aid under SAP, DSWD on June 30 signed a memorandum of agreement with state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines and six FSPs --GCash, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Robinson’s Bank, PayMaya, and Starpay.

The DSWD, the lead agency implementing SAP, partnered with the six FSPs because of their expertise on digitization, as well as enabling policies and regulatory environment for financial inclusion and digital payments.

Apology for delays

Roque apologized anew for the supposed delays in the distribution of the second round of financial assistance to low-income households.

He, nevertheless, guaranteed that once the digital disbursement of the second tranche of cash aid begins, it would only take two days for DSWD to give the emergency subsidies to SAP beneficiaries.

“Pina-plantsa pa po pero malapit na po iyan. Dahil nga po electronics, two days, tapos na po iyan (They are still ironing out [details about the digital release of second SAP aid]. But since it will be done electronically, it will take only two days to finish the distribution),” Roque said.

SAP allows the national government to distribute temporary cash assistance worth PHP5,000 to PHP8,000 to low-income families who have been most affected by Covid-19 crisis.

Around 18 million poor households have received the first tranche of emergency subsidies under SAP.

On the other hand, only 12 million of the 18 million beneficiaries of the first SAP aid will get the second tranche. They will be joined by five million waitlisted beneficiaries.

Roque ensured that the electronic disbursement of financial aid would be more convenient.

“So huwag po kayong mag-alala, mas mabilis na po ang proseso kapag gumamit na po ang electronic transfers (So do not worry. There process will be faster when we use electronic transfers),” he said.

DSWD earlier said it will need the assistance of police and military in transportation and security when it distributes the SAP aid to beneficiaries living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. (PNA)