By Ellson Quismorio
It’s not true that the middle class has been left out in terms of government assistance in the prevailing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said.
In a press conference during the inspection of Manila’s Rizal Memorial Stadium as a quarantine facility before noon on Monday, Cayetano enumerated the indirect aid that the Duterte administration has facilitated for members of the middle class, who are considered the work horses of the Philippine economy.
“Kulang talaga ang tulong, pero it’s not true na walang tulong po sa middle class. Agad sinabi ng Pangulo di ba yung extension ng bills, filing ng taxes, no penalty sa mga ibang utang, no eviction, etc,” he said.
(We’re really short on aid, but it’s not true that there’s no help being given to the middle class. The President had announced the extension of bills, filing of taxes, no penalties on some loans, no eviction, etc.)
“We will get to the point that lahat ng kailangan ng tulong, matulungan (everyone who needs help, will be helped),” added the House Leader.
There have been rumblings, especially on social media, that middle income-earners have been set aside in government dole outs, particularly under the P275-billion social amelioration program (SAP).
The SAP provides for a P5,000 to P8,000 cash aid per month for two months to some 18 million low-income families all over the country.
Cayetano believes that the administration is doing everything it can to address the situation, despite admitting that the delivery of aid has been slow.
“Kami sa Kongreso, every week tinitignan namin ang report, naniniwala kami na binubuhos ng Pangulo ang lahat nang pwedeng gawin ng gobyerno (We look at the report every week, we believe that the President is tapping all of government for this).”
“So yes, kasama kami, even si Senator Bong Go sinabi niya kanina, nababagalan din siya. That’s why hinihimay natin. It’s not time to blame, point fingers–‘mabagal dahil sa ‘yo, mabagal dahil dito, mabagal dahil doon.’ It’s time to talk, usap lang nang usap para bumilis ito,” he said.
(So yes, like us, even Senator Bong Go said it a while ago, he also thinks it’s been slow. That’s why we’re examining it. It’s not time to blame, point fingers–‘it’s slow because of you, it’s slow because of this, it’s slow because of that.’ It’s time to talk, let’s hasten this by communicating.)
Cayetano added: “So bear with us…the important thing is, the Enhanced Community Quarantine is working. It’s working. So walang bibitaw (Let’s keep following the rules).”