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Government allots P106 billion for 4.3 million poor families in 2021

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Government allots P106 billion for 4.3 million poor families in 2021
Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero said the financial support for the impoverished sectors of society comprises the bulk of the proposed P169.3-billion 2021 budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which is 4Ps’ implementing agency.
Miguel De Guzman, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration has earmarked P106 billion in the P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 for the estimated 4.3 million poorest of the poor families who are recipients of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero said the financial support for the impoverished sectors of society comprises the bulk of the proposed P169.3-billion 2021 budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which is 4Ps’ implementing agency.

“The increase means that more poor families will receive financial assistance from the government,” the 1Pacman congressman said, adding the program funding for 2021 represents an increase of P5 billion over this year’s P101 billion.

Romero said the program grants a monthly subsidy of up to P1,500 to qualified families, provided they comply with certain conditions, including keeping children in school and attending family development sessions.

The House leader, who heads the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. in the chamber, pointed out that the total appropriation for 4Ps for 2021 actually amounts to P113.8 billion, including P7.8 billion for administrative cost and other expenses.

Meantime, House Deputy Majority Leader Bernadette Herrera has filed a bill providing broader protection for independent couriers who deliver for e-commerce companies like Lazada and Shopee.

House Bill 7559 (Magna Carta of E-Commerce Delivery Personnel) seeks to ensure the safety and welfare of e-commerce delivery contractors by promoting cashless payment for home deliveries and penalizing cancellation of cash-on delivery transactions.

Herrera, a congresswoman from Bagong Henerasyon party-list, said it is “only right and just” to provide wider protection to delivery riders, who have become “inadvertent frontliners” in the fight against COVID-19.

“In order to increase efficiency and protect the welfare of delivery riders whose lives put at stake to keep us safe within our homes, this bill seeks to provide more secure measures to these service providers and penalize those who unreasonably and inconveniently cancel their orders upon delivery,” she pointed out.

Herrera said cashless transaction not only prevents virus transmission through currency notes, but also protects delivery workers from unscrupulous customers.

“Customers are more responsible for their purchases when they opt to pay online and in advance, while delivery riders simply transport the items to the customers’ homes without having to bear the costs,” Herrera explained.

Herrera cited a growing number of cases in which customers cancel their orders upon delivery even if the e-commerce courier has already paid and prepared the items in advance.

“As a result, the delivery rider loses precious time and money, while they are stuck with the customer’s cancelled order,” Herrera said, noting that a typical delivery driver earns a meager monthly salary of P15,000 to P20,000 to support himself and his family.

“Cancellations for cash deliveries create a triple burden for the delivery riders as they waste time, shoulder expenses, and expose themselves to the dangers of being infected,” she added.

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