Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong’’ Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, has commended honest Filipinos who returned emergency cash assistance even as he asked government agencies to account for every peso spent for COVID-19 aid.

Despite the hardship affecting practically everyone because of the pandemic, there are still individuals who were honest enough when they chose to return cash assistance received due to duplication or return doubled emergency financial assistance in favor of those who have not received assistance during the crisis, Go said.

Recently, two individuals from Las Piñas City returned their cash aid after learning that their employer had already filed for financial assistance through the Social Security System (SSS).

Bernie Rejano Donato and Carlos Simbillo, aircon installer and aircon technician, respectively, returned their P8,000-cash aid each to the City Social Welfare and Development, which also thanked them for their honest gesture.

“Natutuwa po ako sa mga balita na may mga kababayan tayong tapat lalo na sa ganitong panahon. Itong nakaraan lang, nabalitaan ko yung dalawang manggagawa sa Las Piñas na sinauli ang (Social Amelioration Program) assistance nila dahil may benefits na sila sa SSS,” Go said. (I am happy that there are honest persons during the current health emergency. Recently, I heard about the two workers in Las Pinas who returned their SAP assistance from the SSS.)

“Malaking bagay po ang pagiging tapat nila. Dahil doon, ang pera na ibinalik nila ay mapupunta sa iba pang nangangailangan ng tulong,” Go added. (Their honesty is a good thing. Because of this, the money will be given to those in need.)

Since the outbreak of the disease in the country, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has identified 18 million low-income families to receive financial assistance through the Social Amelioration Program (SAP). The DSWD has since then partnered with local government units (LGUs) to distribute the cash aid to the intended qualified beneficiaries across the country.

The DSWD said that it has so far distributed the financial grant to 16.1 million beneficiaries. The total amount disbursed so far is P90.5 billion.

Go took the opportunity to urge Filipinos to follow the example of these honest Filipinos as a way of demonstrating integrity and bayanihan during this difficult time, adding that if individuals receive duplicate COVID-19 emergency cash grants, they should report and return them to their respective LGUs.