After getting criticized for the slow disbursement of cash assistance under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), the government is now going digital to accelerate the payment of the second tranche of cash aid for Filipinos severely affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD), which will lead the payment of the second tranche of the cash aid, said in an online press event that its ReliefAgad app has already accumulated over two million registrations from all 17 regions nationwide since its virtual launch last May 14.
Recipients under the program now also have the option to get the cash aid via digital e-wallets PayMaya or GCash.
The ReliefAgad app was developed by the DSWD with the help of Developers Connect Philippines (DevCon) and the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID). DevCon, a volunteer group of local tech professionals, was also responsible for the Rapid Pass system deployed by the government.
“We are happy to assist the DSWD in this momentous task. Through ReliefAgad, beneficiaries don’t have to leave their homes to register and to receive their aid. Frontliners also don’t need to go house-to-house,” said DevCon founder and Talino Venture Labs CEO Winston Damarillo.
PayMaya said it has been working with government agencies to allow beneficiaries to receive financial assistance directly to their PayMaya accounts.
“Mobile wallets like PayMaya are playing a critical role in enabling Filipinos to gain access to much-needed financial aid from government agencies and local government units. We support DSWD and the rest of the government’s efforts to digitize citizen disbursements,” said PayMaya founder and CEO Orlando Vea.
Although the pilot run for the digital payment is confined in Metro Manila, the app has also facilitated the encoding of SAC forms from regions nationwide. Region IV-A or Calabarzon posted the highest number of registrants with 1,094,332 registrations, followed by NCR with 789,719, and then Region III – Central Luzon with 103,413.
Despite reaching two million registrations, the DSWD said the main challenge lies in reaching the rest of the second tranche beneficiaries coming from 11 identified areas: NCR, Region 3 (except Aurora Province), Region IV-A, Benguet Province, Pangasinan, Iloilo Province, Cebu Province, Bacolod City, Davao City, Albay Province, and Zamboanga City and as well as the left out families nationwide.
DSWD secretary Rolando Bautista said in a virtual briefing last May 28 that the agency is coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for additional workforce for the second tranche.
“At the same time, we are also closely working with banks and service providers to achieve our objective in expediting distribution of aid with the use of digital payments,” he said.
According to the DSWD, the composition of the 13.5-million beneficiaries will be made up of:
The DSWD gave out five tips and reminders on how SAP beneficiaries can register through the ReliefAgad app for the payouts.
1. Use ReliefAgad to skip long lines and risk community transmission during payouts.
ReliefAgad enables SAP beneficiaries to encode their SAC form information digitally, safely at home using your mobile phones or laptops. It is an alternative to handing out physical cash. It allows you to receive aid through online or mobile transfer to your chosen PesoNet-participating banks or partner e-wallets.
Each SAP beneficiary is assigned a unique barcode. Beneficiaries have to scan this unique barcode on the lower right-hand corner of the SAC forms, with vital security features in place to avoid duplicates or photocopied SAC forms from being scanned.
2. Follow these simple steps in encoding SAC information using ReliefAgad:
If you have your own smartphone and Internet access:
After completing the steps, you will need to wait for DSWD’s confirmation and announcement as they conduct validations to the submitted registrations.
Alternatively, if you do not have a smartphone, you may use your child’s or any of your family member’s smartphone to register through ReliefAgad.
3. Secure your personal information to prevent online hacks or scams.
During the first week of the ReliefAgad app launch, many people shared screenshots of their successful registrations online in the comment sections of the DSWD Facebook page. SAP beneficiaries are reminded to keep personal information private to avoid getting hacked or scammed online.
More importantly, regularly check the information you receive by referring only to official government or media channels, websites, and social media pages. There are people who will take advantage of this crisis and it is important to be on full alert at all times.
There are security measures in place on the platform to ensure that the information goes straight to DSWD’s servers. You will be able to receive announcements and reminders from DSWD using the mobile numbers used to register in the ReliefAgad.
4. Open online e-wallets or bank accounts if you haven’t or use your inactive accounts to receive cash assistance.
SAP beneficiaries are encouraged to shift to digital payments to prevent community transmissions or risking exposure to Covid-19 through person-to-person transactions as the country eases restrictions and adjusts to the new normal.
We urge other SAP beneficiaries to start opening accounts online or start using your inactive accounts as this is the long-term solution doing transactions such as sending money to your loved ones, paying your bills, doing online purchases, and registering using the ReliefAgad to receive cash assistance from the government.
Follow the simple guides and prepare the minimal identification requirements of the banks or electronic payment providers to open an account easily, safely and conveniently while staying safe at home. In case of an existing but inactive account, you may check if the account is still accessible. If the account is still working or has not been closed by your bank or service provider, you may enroll your account.
5. Hotline numbers you can contact for assistance.
If you need more information or if ever you are encountering errors or issues which will require technical assistance in using ReliefAgad, feel free to contact the landline or mobile hotlines:
You may also visit www.dswd.gov.ph to see the full version of Memorandum Circular 9, Series of 2020 on the Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of the Emergency Subsidy Program of the DSWD or the DSWD Facebook for up-to-date announcements and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on SAP and ReliefAgad.