City’s welfare policy will cover everyone

September 07, 2021 - 09:05
HCM City's strict implementation of social distancing has made the lives of many residents more and more difficult. Throughout the process, leaders of the city always insisted that all authority levels must ensure foods and necessities for the people of the city, and consider this as one of the key tasks in the fight against the pandemic.  Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) Newspaper discussed with senior officials the implementation of new solutions to ensure social security in the future.

HCM City's strict implementation of social distancing has made the lives of many residents more and more difficult. Throughout the process, leaders of the city always insisted that all authority levels must ensure foods and necessities for the people of the city, and consider this as one of the key tasks in the fight against the pandemic. 

Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper discussed with senior officials the implementation of new solutions to ensure social security in the future.

Tô Thị Bích Châu

Tô Thị Bích Châu, Chairman of the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committee in HCM City, Director of the HCM City Welfare Centre.

The Hồ Chí Minh City Welfare Centre was established to focus on supporting people in difficulty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you evaluate this model so far?

As of September 3, the HCM City Welfare Centre mobilised more than 1.8 million welfare bags for the city’s residents. The centre has delivered more than 1.4 million bags to districts and Thủ Đức City to take care of people. However, Hồ Chí Minh City has more than 4.5 million people in need, so more than 2.5 million people have not received a welfare bag.

At present, we still have many difficulties to overcome.

Firstly, in terms of executive personnel, everyone is new to the job, so we are working and finding the best way as we go along.

Secondly, in terms of management tools, it is necessary to build a new governance system suitable to the city's characteristics and for long-term use for the future security system.

Thirdly, the team is still lacking people and many members have become F0, F1, and the work they are doing is also very challenging.

Fourthly, it is the difficulty of goods supply.

Finally, it is very difficult to mobilise businesses, organisations and individuals for support at this time because they themselves are also facing difficulties. However, we are determined that this is like the "wartime", so we’re adjusting while doing it, not waiting for the model to be completed.

Faced with these difficulties, what solutions does the HCM City Welfare Centre have to perform well in the welfare work, ensuring that no one has difficulties or lack of food?

We have city officials sent to the centre for support; volunteers and shippers to transport goods to households. The Hồ Chí Minh City Welfare Centre has been and will continue connecting and coordinating with other teams to maximise resources, bringing welfare bags to people as quickly as possible.

In order to serve people and ensure the fastest processing of relief requests, the centre has announced a system to record requests for support bags on the "An Sinh" application. People can download the application so that when in need, they can send requests. Thereby, the locality can record and then processes information. If the people contacted are truly in need, we will support them. The application also allows people who want to help to connect with in-need cases. This helps the city mobilise resources, and at the same time demonstrates community responsibility and sharing.

The centre continues to mobilise resources from the central resources, provinces, organisations and individuals to have more welfare bags. We are preparing another two million welfare packages (from the city's budget), the value of which is still under discussion, but the city tries to cover all the needy people.

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Lê Minh Tấn, Director of Hồ Chi Minh City Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. 

Up to now, many people have reported that they have not received support because they are "not eligible" or "not included in the supported group". How do we make sure we take care of all the residents in need?

It is expected that by September 6, HCM City would complete the payment of the second support package for 1.3 million of self-employed workers and 1.2 million households in difficult circumstances. The amount of the second package is VNĐ2.5 trillion. The city will review and if there are any missing cases, additional support will be provided prior to September 15.

The city is also preparing population management data, collecting information on each disadvantaged household and each self-employed worker in difficult circumstances, to continue to deploy the fastest support in the future. 

Up to this point, the city does not distinguish "eligible" or "not eligible" receivers of the support package, nor does it identify "not included in the supported group" or "included the supported group". From August 2021, when the pandemic became more complicated, the number of people in difficulty increased sharply, the city implemented unconditional support policy, people will be supported immediately if they have problems.

Along with the local budget, HCM City is asking the Government to support and continue to mobilise the community to support the people in need. At this point, the city uniformly implements one support level. Whether spending from the budget or from community mobilisation, the final amount that people will receive is the same.

In fact, people's lives are very difficult right now. Even if they receive VNĐ1.5 million a person per month, it is only VNĐ50,000 a person per day. In a megacity with an expensive cost of living like HCM City, with such an amount, people are still struggling. Therefore, it is required that the city restore production as soon as possible, because ensuring production is a guarantee of security, employment is a guarantee of security. Currently, about 60 per cent of businesses are "basically dead".

The city is developing a scenario for economic recovery, gradually reopening production and business activities. Helping businesses is helping employees. Because one business is saved, dozens and hundreds of workers are saved. This is the way to sustainable well-being.

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Vũ Khắc Thái, Secretary of the District 7's Party Committee.

As an area with a large number of workers who need to be taken care of, while the city's resources are limited, what solutions does District 7 have to ensure the supply of necessities to serve the people?

There are more than 45,000 workers working in processing zones, industrial zones, and more than 1,960 poor and near-poor households. The pandemic, which has been severe for nearly four months, is having a profound impact on people's lives. The number of people in need of assistance increases with the time of social distancing. Therefore, besides taking care of health, the district focuses on solutions to take care of people's lives.

Specifically, in order to have a source of necessities to serve the people, in addition to the city's allocation, the district soon actively mobilised resources among the people. Up to now, through campaigns, the district has mobilised an amount of goods equivalent to VNĐ100 billion; mobilised landlords to reduce or exempt rent of almost 2,500 rooms.

In the distribution and delivery of food and necessities to the people, in addition to local cadres and civil servants, youth unions, neighbourhood cadres and soldiers, District 7 also established self-management groups for social security, with 30-50 families in a group. The groups not only bring food and necessities to the people, but also participate in monitoring for closer care and support. The self-management team has been closely involved in each area. From 16,000 households needing support, now the number increases to more than 66,000 households.

To further promote the effectiveness of the above model, the district directs the wards to further subdivide the area. Each welfare self-management group is divided into groups (10 households per group), establishing Zalo groups to promptly exchange information. Through the information of the management team, the locality also understands the cases that need support to have a better direction to be able to take care of them, avoiding the situation when some one receives too much and others still lacking.

Võ Văn Hoan, vice chairman of HCM City’s People’s Committee

HCM City is developing three scenarios after September 15, based on the disease control situation of the city and provinces. Regardless of the scenario, even the most positive scenario, the city will still implement welfare work and take care of its people for at least the next three to four months. 

In order for the city to recover, it takes time to prepare, businesses must prepare human resources, equipment, machinery and safety production requirements. The city will continue to support and take care of people, but there are changes in policies to overcome the current shortcomings.

First, we have no discrimination in terms of supporting group. Anyone who has no job, no income, and is affected by social distancing will get support regardless of profession.

Secondly, the city is calculating that it will not discriminate between young and old, even infants are counted as one person to receive support. The city will count each person in the family instead of the household. This is the most important thing.

Thirdly, the city will support two packages, including the need for universal care and the second is the city's budget for two million welfare packages, to be used in urgent times. — VNS