StarPay can deliver aid to recipients sans phone: DSWD

By Christine Cudis

October 14, 2021, 8:52 pm

<p>DSWD Assistant Secretary Glenda Relova <em>(PNA photo)</em></p>

DSWD Assistant Secretary Glenda Relova (PNA photo)

MANILA – Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Secretary Glenda Relova on Thursday said only StarPay and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) have the capability to deliver cash aid under the social amelioration program (SAP) to beneficiaries who have no smartphones.

Relova made this comment after several senators questioned the DSWD’s move to award to StarPay a contract to distribute some PHP50 billion worth of financial assistance to indigents affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said StarPay, RCBC and DSWD’s four other partners -- Land Bank of the Philippines, GCash, Robinson’s Bank, and PayMay-- were originally given equal amount to distribute to SAP beneficiaries.

“[But] over time, as the data from local government units comes in, we saw that most beneficiaries do not own a smartphone or telephone number, there are 70 percent of them. We asked the (financial service) providers who among them can still deliver the aid to recipients even without these. Only two have signified [capacity] — RCBC and StarPay,” she said in the Laging Handa public briefing.

“So kaya po ang alokasyon po ay napunta kay Starpay, dahil sila po at si RCBC lamang ang nag-manifest at nag-submit po ng business proposal na kaya po nilang magsagawa ng mixed payout, iyon po iyong tinatawag nating may digital wallet, ganoon din po iyong manual payout (That’s why the allocation went to StarPay. Because only StarPay and RCBC manifested and submitted business proposals that they can perform mixed payout, it’s what you call when the provider can both do digital wallet [transfer] and manual payout),” she added.

Relova also said all the funds entrusted to the financial service providers (FSPs) for SAP distribution were all accounted for.

“Ang lahat po ng mga ayuda ay pinamamahagi ay sinuportahan po ito ng liquidation reports na isinabmit po sa atin ng ating mga financial service provider (All the distributed financial assistance were supported by liquidation reports submitted by our financial service providers),” she said.

She said all the processes made by the FSPs and the DSWD for the payout were based on the guidelines approved by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and “existing government accounting rules and procedures.”

“Sinisiguro ng ahensiya na naiparating natin ang tulong financial sa mga karapat-dapat at tanging mga lehitimong benepisyaryo lamang sa ilalim ng ating (The DSWD will make sure that the financial assistance have been given to the right and legitimate beneficiaries under our) Social Amelioration Program,” Relova said. (PNA)