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ReliefAgad app for electronic cash aid distribution launched by DSWD and DICT

The Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Information and Communications Technology (DICT) launched a mobile app this week facilitate automated cash aid distributions for the emergency subsidy program (ESP).

The emergency subsidy program is designed to aid poor families affected by the coronavirus lockdown.

The app, called “ReliefAgad,” will facilitate automated cash aid distributions of the emergency subsidy program funds.

DSWD first announced it was working with the DICT to develop an app on April 28 in response to challenges faced in the implementation of the first tranche of payouts for April.

The ESP had to contend with a lack of beneficiary data at a Local Government Unit level.

The data collection process was labourious as it the beneficiary information had to be encoded and then reported to the department of social welfare and Development.

Additionally, If the cash distribution were manual, then relief to low-income households can be substantially delayed.

The DSWD said these challenges of paucity of beneficiary data, process streamlining and delays in distribution had been addressed through the app.

With the launch, the departments are now confident that the app will lead to faster cash relief.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) provided support to the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s ReliefAgad System with Developers Connect Philippines by providing secure cloud storage and cybersecurity assessment.

“In these trying times, our country is calling on us, as those in government service, to render full assistance and cooperation, and mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate measures to curtail and eliminate the threat of COVID-19,” DICT Assistant Secretary for Digital Philippines Emmanuel Rey Caintic said.

Beneficiaries would be able to register for the ESP by digitally inputting the same information they would put on a physical social amelioration card (SAC) form.

Then they can choose among GCash, PayMaya, or cash (to be distributed by local officials) as their preferred method of payment.

ReliefAgad can only be used by families who have already received an SAC, since the app requires the beneficiary to scan the barcode on the form. The app can be accessed through mobile via www.reliefagad.ph.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will lead the distribution of the emergency cash subsidy under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) to the additional five million families who will be included as beneficiaries of the program for the first tranche, as well as for the second tranche of the aid.

The Department launched an Appeal System, where local government units (LGUs) could submit a list of “left-outs”. This would cover qualified families who were not included in the initial list of target beneficiaries for the first tranche of SAP in their localities.

The Department said it will wait for a written directive or Executive Order from the Office of the President that would serve as basis in crafting the implementing guidelines for the second tranche.

In distributing the subsidy, DSWD, will tap the assistance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense (DND).

The Department will also take into consideration its assessment of the implementation of the first tranche of the cash subsidy.

To ensure a more efficient, organized and quick distribution of the subsidy, the DSWD is exploring how it can deploy beneficiary data collection technologies.

The department is also considering whether digital and/or online wallets are a viable option for contactless payment assistance.

The Department has urged LGUs who are still implementing the distribution to complete the process of provision of the aid to their qualified constituents.

They have also been encouraged to continue to follow the protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on social distancing and wearing of masks.

As part of the whole process, the LGUs need to submit liquidation reports and encoded list of beneficiaries which will allow the DSWD to initiate the validation process.

Once this validation is complete, it can start processing of the funds for the second tranche of SAP implementation for LGUs under MECQ up to May 31.

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