URGENT TRANSACTION. Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary Glen Paje (left) hands over cash aid to a beneficiary shortly after the latter was verified, at the Caloocan High School in Caloocan City on Wednesday (April 7, 2021). Paje said the verification process to claim the aid was swift due to the digital database used by the local government unit and the help of financial service provider, Universal Storefront Services Corp. (PNA photo by Robert Alfiler)

MANILA – The local government of Caloocan on Wednesday started distributing the PHP1.3-billion financial assistance it got from the national government, with the help of a digital system meant to speed up the process.

"We made sure that the facilities, venue, seating arrangement, and processing adapt to the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). All of this (is) so our constituents and staff can safely verify and claim their cash aid from the national government," Caloocan 1st District Rep. Dale Malapitan said at the kick-off ceremony.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) led the distribution of financial assistance of PHP1,000 per individual, with a maximum of PHP4,000 per family, to residents affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal or the “NCR Plus bubble.

The distribution will run for 14 days.

DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, in his speech, said the latest cash aid only seemed less compared to the DSWD's social amelioration program because the former was computed per individual while the latter, which amounted to between PHP5,000 and PHP8,000, was meant for the entire household.

"This time it's given per individual so it is actually bigger. And that is on top of the assistance from the local government unit (LGU). This is an additional aid that we hope would help the beneficiaries by a lot," Malaya added.


68-year old Corazon Ang gets her cash aid on Wednesday in Caloocan High School, one of the six venues assigned by the local government for the distribution of the PHP1.3 billion 'ayuda' from the national government. Photo by Robert Alfiler

In an interview, 68-year-old beneficiary Corazon Ang said she was glad that her PHP4,000 financial aid was swiftly processed.

"Aside from the aid we got from being a senior citizen and a resident of this LGU, I must say that this additional aid from the national government is truly appreciated. It's also good to know that from the verification process to claiming the money, their operation was smooth-flowing," Ang said.

Malapitan highlighted that their LGU partnered with financial service firm Universal Storefront Services Corp. (USSC) to digitize the encoding and fast-track the processing of the applicants and beneficiaries.

USSC president Jose Xavier Gonzales told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that their expertise in partnering with the government to distribute monetary assistance grew even more during the pandemic.

"We have partnered with the government to share our services that aim to digitize and expedite the financial allocation for Filipinos during the pandemic. It's an honor for our part to contribute in the public service," Gonzales said.

On March 29, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the release of PHP22.9 billion to individuals who have been affected by the reimposition of ECQ in the "NCR Plus bubble”. (PNA)