Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año today hailed some honest Social Amelioration Program (SAP) beneficiaries who opted to voluntarily waive and return their excess financial assistance so that these maybe given to other deserving recipients.
“Their honesty and compassion for their fellowmen in the middle of this crisis show the inherent goodness of Filipinos that shines brighter in the darkest of circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic kaya napakataas po ng respeto at paghanga ko sa kanila,” Año says.
He said that despite delays in the distribution of the SAP, reports of beneficiaries returning or waiving their emergency subsidy for reasons such as duplication or disqualification or out of sheer kindness and generosity, continue to come in from various parts of the country.
He says that it is encouraging to hear accounts of poor beneficiaries returning their SAP financial assistance amounting which amounts to P5,000 - P8,000 for the benefit of other families in need. “It is a selfless act in the middle of a public health emergency. Out of honesty and compassion for their fellow Filipinos, they opted to return the excess financial assistance for the benefit of others who need it more,” he points out.
The DILG Chief explains that these stories of honesty, sharing and compassion in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is made more meaningful because the act of generosity comes from the poor sector of the society. “Ito pong mga kuwento ng pagpaparaya at pagbibigayan na ito ay mula din po sa pinakamahihirap na pamayanan, mga mahirap na nais tumulong sa kapwa mahirap, kaya po mas lalong kahanga-hanga. Saludo po ako sa inyo!.”
He says that these act of kindness is a breath of fresh air amidst reports of some beneficiaries using their SAP financial assistance in illegal activities such as gambling, alcoholism, and illegal drugs. “Nakakadismaya na ang ilan sa ating mga kababayan ay ginagamit ang kanilang SAP aid sa sugal at iligal na droga kaya talaga pong nakatuwa na malamang may mga ganitong kuwento ng kabutihan sa ating mga pamayanan,” he adds.
Acts of honesty amid the COVID-19 crisis
According to Año, stories of Filipinos waiving and returning their SAP financial aid continue to inspire many on various social media platforms, as millions of financial assistance are distributed to qualified low-income families nationwide.
Cesar Ponciano Brillantes, a deaf-mute padyak driver from Tabaco City, Albay returned the P5,000 worth SAP assistance to the barangay. Radyo Veritas Legazpi’s official Facebook page posted that “Brillantes returned the financial aid he received from Barangay San Carlos, his permanent address, after receiving the same amount from Barangay Basud where he transferred, together with his wife and children prior to the lockdown.”
Jonathan Ballester of Tuburan, Ligao City in Albay also returned his P5,000 SAP aid because according to him, his wife, who is a resident of another barangay, has already received the same assistance for their household.
Meanwhile, six SAP beneficiaries from the Municipality of Pigcawayan, North Cotabato were recognized by Pigcawayan Mayor Jean Dino Roquero for their honesty. “Despite the need to survive amid the health crisis, these six residents of Pigcawayan continued to live with an honest heart and decided to return the financial aid given to them,” says Roquero.
Sheryl Flores Manzanades, resident of Poblacion 2, Pigcawayan and one of the six acknowledged by the LGU says “Ibalik ko ni kay nakakuha na gali akon bana sa New Panay, unta ihatag niyo sa iban pa nga pareho sa amon nga mga pobre. Bisan amo na lang mani nga pamaagi makabulig man kami sainyo kag saila.” (“I gave it back because my husband received assistance from New Panay. Give it to others who are also poor like us. That is the only way I can help you and them.”) The other five residents are John Kristopher Gonzaga; Johnie Nocillas; Elsie Guintaos; Gloria Maloto; and Paul John Servacio.