Saying that the 19th Congress will focus primarily on alleviating poverty among millions of Filipinos, Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co lauded the allocation for social benefits included in the 2023 national budget.
He said in a recent media interview that helping and uplifting the poor is the priority of the 19th Congress under the leadership of House Speaker Martin Romualdez.
As chairman of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, the lawmaker led the passing of the 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“Pagbukas pa lang ng 19th Congress (When the 19th Congress opened) last July, sinabi na sa akin ni Speaker Romualdez na tutukan ang pag-ahon ng mga mahihirap na kababayan dahil ito nga din ang gusto ng (Speaker Romualdez told me to focus on alleviating the lives of our poor countrymen because this is what the) Marcos administration (wants),” Co said.
“For this reason, ilang bilyon ang ipinalaan ni Speaker Romualdez sa (Speaker Romualdez allocated billions in the) 2023 national budget para sa (for the) social services ng (of the) Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), at (and) Department of Health (DOH),” the lawmaker added.
The solon did not provide details on how much was allocated for the DSWD’s Assistance for Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), DOLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged Workers (TUPAD), and DOH’s Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients (MAIP), but it is said to be in billions of pesos and could provide substantial aid to help needy families.
Co explained that the lawmakers are aware of the hardships that Filipinos are going through because of what happened during the pandemic.
“Kung walang trabaho, nariyan ang (If there are no jobs, there is the) TUPAD ng (of) DOLE. Kung kailangan ng makakain o gamot o pamasahe ng tao, pwede silang lumapit sa (If the people need food or medicines or money for transportation, there’s the) DSWD,” he said.
He also took pride that through the MAIP, Filipinos can reach out to the DOH for hospitalization.
“Speaker Romualdez wants this Congress to focus on the needs of our poor. Yung bang may malalapitan sila sa oras ng kanilang pangangailangan at mabibigyan talaga sila ng sapat na tulong ng gobyerno (They can reach out to someone when they need help and they will be given enough aid by the government),” Co stressed.