Party-list lawmakers on Wednesday called on local government units in the ‘National Capital Region (NCR) Plus’ area to immediately release the much-needed financial assistance for the people as the affected areas are placed under an extended Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
ACT-CIS party-list Reps. Niña Taduran, Eric Yap, and Jocelyn Tulfo expressed concern on the inability of the poor to stock basic necessities, especially those who are on a hand-to-mouth existence.
Tulfo said cash aid should be distributed to families to convince them to comply with stay-at-home orders.
Yap noted that people are forced to go out and look for work and food, and thus defeating the purpose of the extended ECQ to slow down coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections.
“Marami sa ating mga kababayan sa NCR Plus ang arawan ang kita. Hindi kakain kung hindi kakayod sa bawat araw. Ngayong may paghihigpit dahil sa ECQ, nawalan ng katiyakan ang kanilang kakainin. Hindi pa nga kasama dyan yung iintindihin nila sa bawat buwan na pambayad sa kuryente at ilaw (Most of the people in NCR Plus are daily wage earners. They cannot afford to eat if they don’t work every day. Now that there are restrictions due to ECQ, there is no longer a sense of certainty if they could still have food to eat. They still have other concerns such as paying electricity and water bills every month),” Taduran said.
The party-list representatives also recommended adding a health kit to the food that the national government and LGUs will distribute to ensure that everyone will be safe against Covid 19.
The health kit, they said, should include face mask, face shield, sanitizers and vitamins and supplements.
Meanwhile, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano said he would continue to push for the distribution of additional cash aid nationwide despite the rollout of PHP1,000 in assistance to those living in areas currently under ECQ.
Cayetano said while he welcomes the decision to provide PHP1,000 per affected individual in NCR and neighboring provinces, the amount will not be enough to cover the needs of Filipino families.
“Kung gaano kalaki ang problema (noong) March last year, mas malaki ang problema ngayon, after one year (We’re facing a bigger problem now after one year),” he said.
The Department of Budget and Management recently released its guidelines for the new round of aid, which will be distributed either in cash or in kind to around 80 percent of low-income individuals in the NCR-Plus area.
Nearly 23 million residents of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna are set to receive aid this week.
Cayetano urged the leadership of the House of Representatives to hold a special session to allow lawmakers and department secretaries to discuss whether or not the government has funds for new aid programs, such as the proposed 10K Ayuda Bill.
The bill seeks to distribute PHP10,000 per Filipino household.
Cayetano said placing money directly into the hands of the people will not only help families, it will also stimulate the economy.
“Pag nilagay mo yung pera sa kamay ng tao, sasakay ng tricycle o jeep ‘yan. ‘Yan po ay bibili sa sari-sari store. ‘Yan po ay bibili ng load. So, mais-stimulate yung buong ekonomiya natin (If you put money directly in people’s hands, they will use it to ride a tricycle or jeep. They will use it to buy things in the sari-sari store. They will use it to buy mobile phone load. It will stimulate our entire economy),” he said.
He asked Congress to act with urgency on pending measures that would stimulate the economy and provide relief for Filipinos. (PNA)