The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has introduced the ReliefAgad mobile application to speed up the process of collecting beneficiaries’ data and releasing the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) subsidies to qualified beneficiaries in the National Capital Region (NCR).
The ReliefAgad app was developed by the Developers Connect Philippines Community of Technology Partners (DEVCON-DCTx) and it was launched May 14, 2020 for initial piloting at the National Capital Region before full deployment nationwide.
The ReliefAgad launch comes as 5 million more low-income families are set to be added to beneficiaries who will receive SAP cash aid. Such solutions will expedite the processes involved in delivering aid to these beneficiaries.
“Based on feedback gathered from the implementation of the SAP first tranche, we are streamlining our processes to allow local government units to gather beneficiary data and distribute assistance more efficiently,” said Undersecretary Danilo Pamonag during the virtual presscon for the launching.
“The introduction of the ReliefAgad system will improve the gathering of beneficiary data by taking advantage of mobile phone technology. We also thank our partners, DICT, USAID and DEVCON, for helping us in this critical task of providing emergency assistance to our fellow countrymen during this crisis,” added Pamonag.
ReliefAgad is a quick relief system that would enable the DSWD to expedite capturing social amelioration card (SAC) details and interface with any electronic payment systems.
“We designed this app with the goal of quickly deploying it in emergency situations. It will cater to the needs of both implementing government agencies, and the beneficiaries. By combining crowdsourcing and manual encoding of local government units, and leveraging on a tech savvy population, the government will be able to give relief immediately,” explained Winston Damarillo, DEVCON Founder and Talino Venture Labs Chief Executive Officer during the same virtual presscon.
Apart from ReliefAgad, DEVCON had previously developed RapidPass in partnership with the DICT and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in support of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The Social Amelioration Program or SAP is the Philippine government’s emergency subsidy program for those affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) because of COVID-19.
The target beneficiaries of the SAP are low-income families or those on subsistence economy or workers in the informal economy, and with members belonging to the vulnerable sector, assessed to be the most affected by the declaration given their existing life situations or circumstances.
DSWD partnered with LGUs to identify the target beneficiaries and in the distribution of the SAP funds.
The ReliefAgad is an effort supported by international development agency partner, national government, and the private sector.
Its deployment through a 24/7 technical support system, development of digital user guide, and instructional materials was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its E-PESO project (USAID/E-PESO).
The USAID/E-PESO will further provide technical assistance on the disbursements of SAP subsidies via mobile phones.
Its robust infrastructure is provided by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
The private sector also provided vital support. The PLDT Group, through its subsidiary Smart Communications, whitelisted the web application allowing Smart, TNT and Sun subscribers to access the ReliefAgad free of data charge.
In addition, Amazon Web Services also donated cloud services to host the ReliefAgad system.
DSWD continues to improve the delivery of needed services to low-income families most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. ReliefAgad can be accessed via their website reliefagad.ph
Background on DEVCON and USAID/E-PESO Project
Developers Connect Philippines (DEVCON) is a non-profit organization which aims to promote the Filipino IT talent by providing a unique venue for IT students, educators, professionals, and enthusiasts to sync, support, and succeed. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DEVCON convened DEVCON Community of Technology Partners (DCTx), a community of over 1,000 Filipino software developer-volunteers around the world, to come up with technology solutions. They developed the RapidPass system which provided authorized individuals to pass through checkpoints using a QR code. The same organizations developed ReliefAgad.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) / E-PESO Project. USAID/E-PESO is a project funded by the USAID that aims to assist the Philippine government transition the economy from cash/checks to electronic payments for broader-based economic growth and financial inclusion. USAID/E-PESO is currently providing technical assistance to DSWD to integrate financial inclusion in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) by transitioning its cash cards to transaction accounts and developing a comprehensive financial literacy program. USAID/ E-PESO develops digital instructional and training materials for the rollout and provides electronic payments expertise, quality assurance, technical and system support to operate ReliefAgad.