By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Panfilo Lacson said on Sunday that only the Supreme Court can determine whether low-income families in areas where quarantine protocols have eased should receive the second tranche of the government’s social amelioration program (SAP).
Lacson said this following the government’s announcement that only those who are still under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) would be eligible for the P5,000 to P8,000 cash subsidy for the month of May, even though the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” stipulates that around 18 million low-income families would be entitled for cash assistance for two months.
The senator said the law’s primary intention is to provide assistance to those who lost their jobs and livelihood as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Pero kung talagang nakakapagtrabaho na, pwede naman siguro. Depende sa interpretation ng batas later on, at SC lang naman ang pwede mag-interpret niyan, kung tama ba o hindi na itigil ang ayuda sa lugar na may pamilya na nagtatrabaho na ang mga tao (But if they can resume working, maybe that can be done. But that depends on the interpretation of the law, and only the SC can interpret that, whether it’s right or not to stop granting cash aid to places with low-income families but are already allowed to work),” he said.
Malacanang earlier announced that low-income families that are in general community quarantine (GCQ) would no longer receive the second tranche of the cash subsidy, while those areas under a modified ECQ and ECQ can still avail themselves of the cash aid.
Meanwhile, Lacson said Congress may approve a supplemental budget for the purpose of granting cash aid to the additional five million families who were not given assistance during the first round.
The government, he said, can tap the P281-billion that are still available from the 2019 budget to distribute to the five million families.
But the government’s task force against COVID-19 should provide Congress a clear explanation on how they intend to utilize and distribute the budget to these families. [Hannah L. Torregoza] #