Sotto rejects proposals to halve coronavirus cash aid to cover more indigent families

3 years ago 0 Comments

MANILA – Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday rejected proposals to halve the cash aid for indigent families during the coronavirus crisis, saying the government has enough funds to include more beneficiaries in the emergency subsidy program.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, some 18 million low-income families will receive a monthly allowance between P5,000 and P8,000 for 2 months after the government imposed work stoppage in parts of the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

"Bakit ibaba eh kung kaya 'yun P6,000 and P8,000? Ang liit na nga nun P6,000 and P8,000 ah?" Sotto told reporters when asked to comment about proposals to amend the law to cover more indigent families. 

(Why would you reduce it if we can afford P6,000 and P8,000? Isn't the amount already too small?)

"Huwag nilang ipilit na walang pera gobyerno. Meron! Ilang beses nang sinabi 'yan ni President Rodrigo Roa Duterte," he said.

(They should not say that the government has no money. It has! President Rodrigo Duterte said that several time already.)

Sotto is among the politicians who urged the national government to expand the assistance program to middle-class families who have been decrying the alleged lack of aid for Filipino taxpayers. 

"During the time we were passing the law, sa government-owned and controlled corporations pa lang almost P200 billion na. May savings pa last year… Their problem is identification and info dissemination," he said.

(During the time we were passing the law, sa government-owned and controlled corporations alone have almost P200 billion. There are also savings from last year's budget… Their problem is identification and info dissemination.)

Last week, the government distributed a total of P16.34 billion in cash aid to 3.72 million indigent families. The aid released as of April 3, 2020, was less than 10 percent of a P200-billion package for low-income families who may have lost their jobs due to the nearly 2-month lockdown in Luzon.

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