DSWD Social Amelioration Program Philippines

The Social Amelioration Program (SAP) is a collaborative government effort in the Philippines aimed at easing the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Coordinated under the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” this program provides emergency subsidies to low-income households and vulnerable groups affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). 

Target beneficiaries include informal sector workers, senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), indigenous peoples (IPs), and street dwellers, who receive financial assistance ranging from PHP 5,000 to PHP 8,000

Credits: PNA

What is the Social Amelioration Program (SAP)?

The SAP is an inter-agency initiative designed to ease the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on society and livelihoods. 

It operates under the framework of the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” (R.A. No. 11469) and is coordinated through Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 1 Series of 2020. 

This program aims to provide emergency subsidies to low-income households and other vulnerable groups.

Why the Social Amelioration Program (SAP)?

The SAP was launched in response to the serious threat posed by COVID-19 to public health, safety, and the economy. 

To mitigate the spread of the virus, the government enforced an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). 

However, the ECQ disrupted livelihoods and economic activities, particularly affecting the poor and vulnerable sectors. 

To alleviate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, the government, in collaboration with private sectors and various stakeholders, introduced the SAP to provide necessary support and ensure security for all affected sectors.

Implementing Agencies

The SAP is a collaborative effort among various government agencies, including the DSWD, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Finance (DOF)

Additionally, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and local government units (LGUs) play significant roles in implementing the program.

DSWD’s Role and Assistance under SAP

The DSWD spearheads the Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) under SAP, providing cash assistance to meet the basic needs of families affected by the ECQ. 

The cash aid ranges from PHP 5,000 to PHP 8,000 per month for two months, depending on regional wage rates. 

This subsidy helps families purchase essential items such as food and medicine, ensuring their safety and health during the pandemic.

Amount and Duration of Assistance

Each qualified family receives PHP 5,000 to PHP 8,000, based on the minimum wage of their region

The assistance is distributed over two months, specifically for the months of April and May 2020.

Beneficiaries of the Program

Eligibility Criteria

The SAP targets low-income families who are part of the informal sector and have lost their livelihoods due to the ECQ. 

Families with members belonging to vulnerable sectors such as senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), indigenous peoples (IPs), and street dwellers are also eligible. 

Each qualified family, not individual members, receives the assistance.


Certain groups are excluded from receiving SAP-ESP, including government employees (regardless of employment status), private sector employees, retirees receiving pensions, and financially capable individuals. 

These exclusions are based on their continuous income or other forms of support available to them during the ECQ.

Distribution Process

Non-4Ps Beneficiaries

For families not part of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), the distribution process involves several steps:

  1. The DBM transfers initial funds to the DSWD.
  2. The DSWD Central Office allocates funds to its Field Offices across various regions.
  3. Field Offices transfer funds to LGUs, which then distribute the aid to qualified families in their areas.

4Ps Beneficiaries, TNVS and PUV Drivers, and BARMM Families

For 4Ps beneficiaries and other specific groups like TNVS and PUV drivers, and families in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), funds are distributed through the following channels:

  1. Landbank transfers funds directly to 4Ps beneficiaries’ cash cards.
  2. Landbank processes funds for TNVS and PUV drivers, managed by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
  3. Funds are transferred to BARMM for direct distribution to qualified families.

Role of DSWD and LGUs

LGUs are responsible for the actual distribution of aid, while the DSWD conducts validation within fifteen days after distribution to ensure eligibility and prevent duplication of assistance.

Social Amelioration Card (SAC)

Purpose of the SAC

The Social Amelioration Card (SAC) is a form used to gather information about families and monitor the distribution of aid. It is essential that only the official barcoded SAC forms are used to ensure the validity of data.

Distribution and Collection

Each qualified family receives an SAC form to be filled out and submitted to their respective barangay or LGU. 

This form is needed for the proper allocation of aid and tracking the beneficiaries of various government assistance programs.

Validation and Appeal Process

Post-Distribution Validation

After the aid distribution, the DSWD conducts a validation process to confirm the eligibility of the recipients and check for any duplication. 

This step ensures that the assistance reaches the rightful beneficiaries and maintains the integrity of the program.

Addressing Grievances

Families who believe they qualify but were not included can appeal to their Provincial/City/Municipal Social Welfare Development Office (P/C/MSWDO) within three days of distribution. 

This office will assess their situation and determine if they can be included in the list of beneficiaries.

Video: Filling out the SAC

Discover the process of correctly filling out the Social Amelioration Card (SAC) highlighted in this video. It emphasizes the importance of providing prompt and compassionate service to ensure efficient assistance to those in need.



The Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the DSWD has been a lifeline for many Filipino families during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

By providing financial assistance to the most vulnerable sectors, the program helps ensure that basic needs are met and that the health and safety of the populace are prioritized. 

The collaborative efforts of various government agencies and local units underscore the spirit of bayanihan, or community cooperation, which is essential in overcoming the challenges posed by this unprecedented crisis.

For further information or assistance, individuals can contact the DSWD Central Office Operations Center through the 24/7 hotline at 16545 or sapgrievance@dswd.gov.ph. The DSWD Field Offices are also available for queries and support.


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