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One-time P2,000 ayuda bill for all Filipinos filed before House

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
One-time P2,000 ayuda bill for all Filipinos filed before House
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it released P4.13 billion under the Targeted Cash Transfer (TCT) program, which is being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Miguel De Guzman, file

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has filed a bill pushing for the distribution of a one-time P2,000 cash aid for all Filipinos in the country as form of economic ayuda and relief amid the coronavirus pandemic and skyrocketing prices of goods and services

In filing House Bill No. 2022, Rep. Irene Gay Saulog (Kalinga Party-list) pointed to the many woes that hounded the implementation of cash aid to the poorest Filipinos affected by the community quarantines over the coronavirus pandemic.

"While these programs had the noblest of intentions, the implementation was far from ideal. Many were left out. In fact, millions of families were included in the second tranche of ayuda in 2020 after their appeal," she wrote. 

"It only proves that the priority list prepared was not fully responsive and up-to-date. It did not include all those in dire need of assistance during the height of the pandemic. It is safe to estimate that there are millions who fell through the cracks. Many who lost jobs during the pandemic simply did not get a chance to be included in the priority list."

With reports of inefficiencies and logistical lapses bogging down the delayed tranches of aid distribution, the country’s most vulnerable strata have continued to lag behind without support throughout the pandemic thus far.

To recall, at least 89 barangay officials were suspended in 2020 over irregularities in the distribution of aid, which Saulog said "serves as a confirmation of observations by barangay residents that palakasan or the use of political connections affected the inclusion in the list of recipients in their area."

READ: 89 barangay captains suspended over SAP

Under the bill, all Filipinos residing in the Philippines during the implementation of the program are provided a one-time cash aid of P2,000 per person. The measure also appropriates an amount of P218 billion "or so much thereof as may be necessary" for the program's implementation. 

The Philippine Statistics Authority, Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Information and Communications Technology will be tasked with promulgating the implementing rules and regulations of the act should it pass. 

Earlier in mid-July, the Department of Social Welfare and Development removed around 1.3 million people from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program whom it said are no longer considered "poor" and no longer qualified to receive conditional cash transfers.

"It is 2022 and the pandemic still hovers like a dark cloud in the country. Its ill effects continue to linger and haunt Filipinos... by giving ayuda to all Filipinos, we will ensure that all those who suffered and continue to suffer will receive cash aid," Saulog also said. 

"With the continuing surge in oil prices and basic commodities, the ayuda will offer a reprieve from the rising cost of living for the ordinary Filipino... the money that will be disbursed to the people will flow back and pump prime the economy. The purchase of goods and services and the accompanying taxes paid will help stimulate the economy."

with a report from Xave Gregorio

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