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'A pittance': Senators criticize P200 monthly ayuda for poor families 

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
'A pittance': Senators criticize P200 monthly ayuda for poor families 
In a televised meeting aired on state-run channels today, DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III suggested to roll out a P200 monthly cash assistance which will cover 12 million poor families for an entire year, a program that can cost the State P33.1 billion. 
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Two senators on Wednesday criticized the Department of Finance's (DOF's) proposal to dole out P200 in cash assistance to poor families every month for a year, saying that the amount is not enough to help Filipinos cope with the sustained fuel price hikes. 

In a televised meeting aired on state-run channels on Wednesday, DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III proposed to roll out a P200 monthly subsidy which will cover 12 million poor families for an entire year, a program that can cost the State P33.1 billion. 

READ: Ignoring calls to suspend fuel taxes, gov't to expand cash aid program

This is already on top of the government's P5 billion fuel subsidy program for public utility vehicle drivers.

"Coming in after 11 weeks of successive oil price increases, the government's P200 per month cash assistance to poor families is a pittance," Sen. Grace Poe said in a statement on Wednesday. 

"At P6.66 per day, it can't even get one a jeepney ride to the minimum distance," she added. 

The lawmaker said that the government should not scrimp on financial assistance if they want to help Filipinos and encourage economic activity. 

She said the government should look at increasing the P200-per-month cash aid or seriously consider suspending fuel excise taxes, which other senators have also been calling for. 

Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, the excise tax for gasoline is now at P10 per liter, P6 per liter for diesel, and P5 per liter for kerosene.

Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said that the proposed subsidy will not help the affected households, adding that the daily amount is not enough to answer for a bus ride or buy a piece of egg. 

Citing DOF statistics, he said the government was able to collect P143.9 billion in petroleum excise taxes in 2021 and an excess of P3 billion in value-added tax in the two months of this year.

"How can the government stomach profiting so much while they are squeezing the poor dry?" Pangilinan, who is running for vice president in this year's elections, said in Filipino in a separate statement. 

Local pump prices registered the largest increases to date this week. Starting yesterday, gasoline rose P7.1 per liter; diesel jumped P13.15 per liter and kerosene increased by P10.5 per liter, based on advisories from several oil firms. 

AYUDA

FINANCIAL AID

GRACE POE

KIKO PANGILINAN

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