Duterte increases ayuda for poor households from P200 to P500

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Duterte increases ayuda for poor households from P200 to P500
An attendant fills up a tricycle with gasoline at a petrol station in Manila on March 15, 2022.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte ordered that the monthly financial aid for poor households must be increased to P500 from P200 in a bid to help them cope with the sustained fuel price hikes. 

During the ceremonial signing of three laws on Monday, he told the finance department to look for more funds to augment the P200 monthly ayuda which the State will distribute to poor families for an entire year. 

"I was talking to Sonny [Dominguez] about feedback on the ground about the ayuda of 200 [pesos]. I told him, it's too small. Too small for one month. I said he should look for more funds," Duterte said in Filipino, referring to his talk with the Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. 

"I told Sonny, it will be an uphill battle for the next generation if we make it 500 [pesos]. I told him, the next President will be in charge of looking for it. As long as we give P500," he added.

Duterte said he hopes this will go a long way in helping poor households affected by the fuel prices which rose for 11 consecutive weeks since the beginning of the year and only saw a rollback this week. 

"Just don't use it for e-sabong," he said, referring to the online wagering of bets during live cockfights. 

Senators earlier criticized Duterte's approval of the Department of Finance's (DOF's) proposal to roll out a monthly subsidy of P200 which will cover 12 million poor families for an entire year, a program that can cost the State P33.1 billion. 

Sen. Grace Poe said that the cash assistance, which translates to P6.66 per day for families, can't even get one a jeepney ride. In a statement last week, she described the P200 monthly subsidy as a "pittance."

Meanwhile, Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan questioned how the government was able to collect billions in petroleum revenues last year and value-added taxes in the past two months, but are not able to provide cash aid which can help beneficiaries avail of a bus ride or buy a piece of egg in a day.  


Lacson: Better than P200

In a press con in Nueva Ecija, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson said Duterte's decision to hike the cash aid for eligible families to P500 is better than the previously reported amount. 

"Definitely P500 is better than P200. We believe that P200 [per month] is pathetically too small, too little. It's not enough if the goal is to help people through the ayuda. P200 monthly [translates] only to what? P2,400 a year. It's good that the President made it P500," the presidential aspirant said in Filipino on Tuesday.

At present, the State has already doubled its fuel subsidies for two programs — the Pantawid Pasada program for the transport sector and the fuel discount program for fisherfolk and farmers —  to P6.1 billion from the previous P3 billon.

This week, consumers will be paying less for a liter of gas, diesel and kerosene as domestic oil companies announced pump price rollbacks — the first this year after successive hikes in oil prices due to tight global supply. Starting today, local oil firms reduced gas prices by P5.45 per liter, diesel by P11.45 per liter and kerosene by P8.55 per liter.

READ: DOE: Pump price rollbacks this week as global oil prices go down

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