Poe pushes gov’t agencies to act faster on aid distribution

Published April 2, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senators on Thursday underscored the need for the immediate distribution of aid to poor families most affected by the strict quarantine rules to counter the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Senator Grace Poe

Senator Grace Poe said concerned government agencies could work round-the-clock so that the P200-billion cash aid to the 18 million families in the informal sector could immediately be distributed to them.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, 18 million low-income households shall receive for two months an emergency subsidy ranging between P5,000 to P8,000, depending on the current minimum wage rate in their respective regions.

She said this will prevent “mass hunger from turning into mass anger.”

“I understand the logistics in organizing this cash transfer to 18 million families, but time is of the essence so we must step on the gas,” Poe said.

According to President Duterte’s first weekly report to Congress on the rollout of Republic Act No. 11469 that authorizes the emergency subsidy, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is still preparing its list of beneficiaries for the emergency subsidy program.

“The profiling and validation of the list of beneficiaries for 18 million families will understandably take time. But we cannot be waiting for lists while the people go hungry,” Poe said.

“Millions of cooking pots are now empty and they need to be replenished. The grumbling that is hard to ignore is the one coming from the stomachs of our people.

“The best way to defuse the tension is for people to see that cash is being handed out. There is no great pacifier than having the means to buy food and other essentials,” Poe added.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, sought for clarification on the DSWD’s impending distribution of the subsidy after learning that only 95,000 families in his hometown of Valenzuela City will receive the subsidy.

He said that as of 2015, there were some 155,000 families residing in the city.

“Anong mangyayari sa naiwan na 60k na pamilya namin? Paano namin hahanapin yon 95k na pamilya? Anong qualifications para makasali sa 95k?” he tweeted Thursday.
(What will happen to the remaining 60,000 families? How will we find those 95,000 families? What are the qualifications to be included in the 95,000 beneficiaries?)

“”Pag ganito ang sistema, siguradong maraming magagalit at lalabas ng bahay nila para magreklamo. Maiipit na naman ang mga barangays at LGUs natin sa mga tao.”
(If this is the system, more residents will definitely be enraged and go to the streets to protest. Our local government units and barangays will again be on the receiving end of the people’s anger.)

On Wednesday, he urged the DSWD to work with LGUs to provide food and assistance to the people amid the quarantine.