Gov’ts move to solve problems raised by virus

E CARTOON MAR 25, 2020 In the face of the economic repecussions of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the US Senate, led by Republicans, sought  last Monday to enact a massive $1.8-trillion aid bill.

It included a plan for direct cash payments to many Americans. Hundreds of billions of dollars would be sent  in checks -- $1,200 per adult for many families  as well as $500 for every child. The size of the checks  would  diminish for  those  earning more than $75,000 a month and phase out completely for  those earning more than $99,000.  Poorer families  would be given not less than $600 a month.

It  also included  $350 billion for small businesses to stem the tide of layoffs and more billions for hospitals. And it  set aside a  massive  $500 billion as aid to businesses,  states, and  localities – all at the discretion of  the  administration’s Treasury Department.

Democratic  senators raised many questions about  the bill, including the outright giving of thousands of dollars to families, the bigger amounts for middle-class families and the smaller amounts for poor families. But their  main objection was the $500 billion for  big businesses  in amounts and under conditions  at the discretion of  the Trump administration.

The US Senate voted on the bill last Monday  -- a 47-47 split. Sixty votes  are  needed to approve it and send It  to the House of Representatives which  world have to  approve   it also.

Our own  Philippine government has also moved to provide aid to families hit hard  by the coronavirus pandemic.  Congress held a  “virtual” special session yesterday an d approved the realignment of P275 billion in government funds.

President  Duterte  was  authorized  to use the P275 billion to help those who have suffered  the  most from the quarantine ordered by the  government to stop  the  spread of COVID-19.  The administration reportedly plans to provide P8,000 assistance to each  of 17.9 Filipinos for their  food  needs during the  enhanced community quarantine period.

The Senate is also seeking the realignment of another P200 billion of appropriated funds for two months, according  to Senate President  Vicente Sotto  III.

In the ongoing  coronavirus pandemic, countries around the world are seeking ways to solve the problems It  has bought about. There may be  differences  in emphasis and approach, but all the efforts seek to help  the people along with their institutions.

Our Philippine officials have  chosen to focus any aid on the poorest  in  our country. We just hope that will reach them  quickly enough, especially those who had been  living a day-to-day existence even before the lockdown.