Duterte mulling sale of gov’t property to raise funds for SAP 2nd tranche

Published May 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is inclined to start selling some government properties to augment funds for the social amelioration program (SAP) for poor families, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Friday (May 15).

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

As the government moves to provide aid to low-income households and other sectors affected by the coronavirus lockdown, Roque said that in their recent conversation, the President has identified a government property that can be sold.

“Nabanggit pa nga niya na magsisimula na siyang magbenta ng mga propriyedad ng gobyerno at mayroon pa siyang isang nasabing property, ayaw ko munang isapubliko, ‘no. Pero sabi niya, iyon siguro ang sisimulan nating ibenta para maibigay sa ayuda,” he said in a recent radio interview.

(He mentioned that he will start selling government properties and he is eyeing a certain property, although I can’t make it public yet. But he said we will probably start selling it to augment the relief aid.)

The sale of state assets is among the fundraising efforts being mulled by the government to bankroll measures to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The President previously admitted the government was running low on funds for the coronavirus response, and directed his economic team to find more funding sources. To boost government resources, he has raised the possibility of placing Cultural Center of the Philippines, Philippine International Convention Center, and some lands along Manila Bay for sale.

Roque said the President has also directed Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado to “prune” some budget items that can be realigned to fund the financial aid program for poor families in areas still under coronavirus lockdown. He said an additional P50 billion will be needed if all 23 million poor beneficiaries of the subsidy program will be covered by the second tranche this month.

He said the President will also ask the assistance of Congress in finding additional funding for the second tranche of the SAP for low-income families.

Under the P205-billion program to cushion the impact of the pandemic, the government moved to distribute subsidies between P5,000 to P8,000 to benefit 18 million low-income families for the months of April and May. An additional five million families will be included in the list of beneficiaries in the first tranche, bringing the total to 23 million.

The government task force later decided that the second tranche will be limited to beneficiaries living in areas under enhanced community quarantine as of May due to limited funds.