Duterte: Gov’t can’t afford to help 5.4-M more families for now

Published April 13, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Geducos

President Duterte said the government cannot accommodate 5.4 million more families in its social amelioration program (SAP) for now due to limited resources.

KNG21 President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during the Annual General Membership Meeting of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on January 21, 2020. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Duterte, in his report to Congress, said the Department of Finance (DOF) made the computations after the Senate proposed to add 5.4 million family beneficiaries to cover 95 percent of the total families in the country.

“[It] will result in an additional budget requirement of around P66.4 billion. Considering the limited resources of the government, it might be prudent to prioritize allocating resources in accordance with RA (Republic Act) No. 11469 to immediately assist the poorest of the poor,” he said.

Emergency subsidy

Based on Duterte’s report, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has already released a total amount of P101.5 billion for the implementation of the emergency subsidy program (ESP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

To ensure that the benefits are given to the rightful beneficiaries, the DSWD is set to issue Omnibus Guidelines consolidating and harmonizing all issuances pertaining to the implementation of its ESP.

The DSWD and the DOF are also preparing a comprehensive list of households per municipality that will group members of the formal sector and informal sector to identify the eligible beneficiaries of the ESP.

The DSWD targets to serve 18 million families through the SAP. However, the figure may include beneficiaries from other comparable assistance programs of the national government.

The DOLE, meanwhile, adjusted its targets for its ESPs to cover the extended quarantine period. The number of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) was increased to 321,975, while that of the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) was increased to 235,949.

Protection of inmates

In his report, President Duterte said the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has adopted policies and measures to protect persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) from COVID-19.

These measures include the restriction of visitation privileges, implementation of disinfection protocols and quarantine schemes, installation of temporary tents to decongest prison buildings, and the establishment of a 24-hour COVID-19 monitoring center.