U.S. and Philippine Governments Partner to Speed Up Distribution of SAP Subsidies

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U.S. and Philippine Governments Partner to Speed Up Distribution of SAP Subsidies
New online application helps Filipinos receive government aid faster.

For Immediate Release

Monday, May 18, 2020

The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), formally launched the “ReliefAgad” web application on May 14 to speed up the distribution of financial assistance to Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Developers Connect Philippines (DEVCON), through the DEVCON Community of Technology Experts (DCTx), are working in partnership with the DSWD and USAID on ReliefAgad.

The Social Amelioration Program (SAP) is the Philippine government’s emergency subsidy program for more than 20 million Filipino families belonging to the low-income and most-vulnerable sectors – those that are severely affected by COVID-19. The target beneficiaries include senior citizens, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, single parents, repatriated overseas Filipino workers, indigenous peoples, the homeless, farmers, fisherfolk, and those working under “no work-no pay” arrangements.

ReliefAgad will enable the DSWD and local government units to expedite capturing SAP details and provide data to expedite disbursement of cash assistance through electronic payment systems. Using their smartphones, SAP beneficiaries can now register their social amelioration cards on the ReliefAgad system through its website, www.reliefagad.ph.

“The United States is committed to supporting the Philippine government’s response to the COVID-19 health crisis. The ReliefAgad application will help expedite the delivery of relief assistance to SAP beneficiaries across the Philippines and support the most vulnerable during the pandemic,” said Ambassador Sung Kim.

“The introduction of the ReliefAgad system will improve the gathering of beneficiary data by taking advantage of mobile phone technology,” DSWD Undersecretary Danilo Pamonag noted. “We also thank our partners, USAID, DICT, and DEVCON, for helping us in this critical task of providing emergency assistance to our fellow countrymen during this crisis.”

USAID is also supporting the rollout of ReliefAgad by providing quality assurance and technical support, as well as developing a digital user guide and instructional materials to ensure ReliefAgad’s ease of use. USAID is also assisting the DSWD and select LGUs to adopt e-payment systems for the disbursement of relief to SAP beneficiaries. Since 2015, USAID, through its E-PESO project, has been assisting the Philippine government in shifting the national economy from cash to electronic payments to encourage broader-based economic growth and financial inclusion.

The DCTx developed the ReliefAgad system at no cost to the DSWD. “We designed this app with the goal of quickly deploying it in emergency situations. ReliefAgad will cater to the needs of both government agencies and the beneficiaries. By combining crowdsourcing and manual encoding of LGUs, and leveraging a tech savvy population, the government will be able to give relief immediately,” said Mr. Winston Damarillo, CEO of Talino Labs for DEVCON.

ReliefAgad is also supported by private sector partners PLDT and Amazon.