By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte will ask the Congress to help find the additional funding for the second tranche of the social amelioration program (SAP) to help low-income families affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement as the government hopes to include those from the general community quarantine (GCQ) in the emergency subsidy program and not just those from the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
In a statement, Roque said Duterte is determined to stay true to his promise to not let any Filipino go hungry during the quarantine period, especially at a time when a typhoon has hit the country.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s vow that no one goes hungry amid the current global health crisis remains firm and unchanged,” he said.
“We confirm that PRRD will ask the assistance of Congress in the finding of additional funding for the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program to complete the rollout of aid to poor and low-income families,” he added.
On Friday, Roque announced that President Duterte has instructed Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado to determine how much funds from the 2020 National Budget will be realigned to augment the Administration’s social amelioration measures.
“Ang kanyang salita ay ‘tuliin’ niya yung mga budgets ng mga line departments at tignan natin kung mabibigyan talaga lahat doon sa second tranche (His order to Secretary Avisado was to ‘circumcise’ the budgets of line department and see if we can give assistance to all during the second tranche),” he said in an interview over GMA-7.
In an interview with ANC, Roque said an additional P50 billion is needed for this month alone to give cash aide to all 23 million Filipino beneficiaries, especially those in the MECQ since some industries are only reopening beginning May 16.
“Remaining in modified ECQ means, of course, having to give amelioration because if the majority of the people cannot work, where would they get their livelihood? They would have to continue to rely on social amelioration,” he said.
“There are at least double the number of industries that are allowed to operate under modified ECQ compared to GCQ so that means the economy will be starting later in these areas,” he added.