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Miscellaneous

DSWD rolls out AKAP program to protect minimum wage earners from inflation

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Saturday (May 18) rolled out the Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP) aimed at protecting the minimum wage earners from the effects of inflation that tend to erode their buying power.

“Sa ilalim ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., nais nating bigyang diin ang halaga ng social services, gaya ng AKAP, sa pagpapalakas at pagprotekta sa kakayahan ng ating mga mamamayan na mamili ng pang araw-araw nilang gastusin,” DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian said in a recorded message during the simultaneous launch of AKAP in different parts of the country.

Secretary Gatchalian said the AKAP is intended to provide a menu of assistance for goods and services that are affected by high inflation depending on the needs of the individuals.

“Ang AKAP ay isang bagong programa na iniatas sa Department of Social Welfare and Development na layuning magbigay ng tulong sa mga Pilipino na itinuturing na minimum wage earners, mahihirap, near poor, at mga nasa informal economy. Layunin din ng programang ito na magsilbing proteksyon para sa mga benepisyaryo na unang na-a-apektuhan ang pang araw-araw na kabuhayan dulot ng pabago-bagong sitwasyon ng ekonomiya,” the DSWD chief explained.

The General Appropriations Act of 2024, specifically the Special Provision No. 3 of the DSWD Budget, authorized the funding for AKAP amounting to Php26.7 billion which will serve as financial assistance to minimum wage earners falling under the category of low income that were severely affected by the rising inflation.

“Ang aktibidad na ito ay magpapakita ng pagsisikap ng ating pamahalaan para sa bagong pamamahala na kayang umabot sa bawat Pilipino ano man ang kanyang estado sa buhay…nais nating pasalamatan si House Speaker Martin Romualdez sa pag-sulong ng makabuluhang programang ito,” Secretary Gatchalian said.

Based on the DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 4, series of 2024, “AKAP shall be implemented as a targeted social assistance to individuals who may not have access to regular assistance on account of them not belonging to the poorest population.”

To qualify as a beneficiary under AKAP, the individual must belong to the low-income category, such as those whose income does not exceed the statutory minimum wage, according to the MC No. 4 signed by the DSWD Secretary last February 26.

Those who are not qualified to receive any form of assistance provided under AKAP are the beneficiaries of DSWD programs already receiving regular assistance such as the households belonging to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and indigent senior citizens who receive their P1,000 monthly social pension.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Irene Dumlao, who is also the agency spokesperson, said beneficiaries who receive food, medical, funeral and cash relief assistance under the AICS (Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation) program shall be governed by the limitation and the rules of frequency of aid availment under AKAP.

Asst. Secretary Dumlao pointed out that the AKAP program has two modalities in providing assistance. “The first is the direct implementation by the DSWD through the Crisis Intervention Unit/Sections (CIU/S) of the Central and Field Offices (FOs), respectively, as well as the Social Welfare and Development Satellite Offices (SWAD Office) nationwide,” she said.

The second modality is through DSWD partners like local government units (LGUs) which will assist the agency in implementing AKAP, whether at the provincial, municipal, city, or even at the barangay (if capable) level.

“Since the rising price of rice is the main contributory factor in inflation, the AKAP program was designed to provide beneficiaries with affordable rice using the two modalities for LGUs. What is important is to help minimum wage earners recover their eroded income through rice subsidy,” Asst. Sec. Dumlao explained.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) shall be executed between the concerned LGU and DSWD, subject to the conditions as stipulated under MC No. 04, s. 2024.

“The LGU shall take full responsibility for the proper disposition/ disbursement of funds. Further, the said fund is not transferable to any other LGUs,” the DSWD spokesperson pointed out.

She added: “Liquidation of funds transferred to LGUs shall be governed by COA Circular 94-013. Further, LGUs that have unliquidated CAs with DSWD shall not be eligible for fund transfer.

The MC No. 4 provides outright cash assistance from Php1,000 to Php10,000, subject to the assessment of DSWD social workers. Cash aid above Php10,000 will be given through a Guarantee Letter approved by the DSWD secretary.

The DSWD spokesperson said minimum wage earners eligible for AKAP program can apply by showing any of the following documents or record issued within three months: contract of employment duly signed by the parties; certificate of employment with compensation or pay slip with full name and signature; income tax return (ITR); and any other document showing the client’s income does not exceed the statutory minimum wage.

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