Del Mar files 3 bills to help poor families
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - October 23, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City North District Representative Raul del Mar has filed three bills seeking to help the poor, save families in severe hunger, and prevent the stunting of children.

Del Mar said the need to help the poor was never more acutely felt than during the COVID-19 crisis.

But poverty, with hunger and its other harrowing results such as stunted children, persists and continues to afflict many poor Filipinos even without a plague or disaster, he said.

SAP Measure

The first measure is House Bill No. 7899, which seeks to institutionalize the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and ensure allocations in at least four equal quarterly tranches in a year.

When funds are available, it may be increased to 12 equal monthly tranches.

The SAP subsidy was one of the most effective forms of assistance by the government to 17.6 million low-income families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cash Subsidy

The second measure is House Bill No. 7900, which aims to save families in severe hunger.

Del Mar’s bill proposes a monthly cash subsidy to the families in severe hunger, defined for the purpose as families suffering from severe hunger often or always. These are families having no steady income.

The monthly cash subsidy will be in the amount of P6,588 per family, which is the average amount of monthly help received from the government.

Del Mar said the ultimate goal is to include the 5.5 million families/households that are classified under moderate hunger. However, that will need an additional P434.80 million, which at present is not feasible because of limited finances.

A provision in the measure will include them in the future when funds are available.

Stunting Prevention

The third measure, House Bill No. 7901, seeks to prevent the stunting of children and make every Filipino child healthier, brighter, and taller.

Stunting is a crisis that does not only affect physical growth of children but also an individual’s intellectual development and the country’s economic growth. Recent studies suggest that childhood under-nutrition in the Philippines costs the country a loss of 1.5% to 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) per year.

The Dietary Supplement Program proposed in Del Mar’s bill seeks to provide cash assistance to pregnant women and parents of children aged 0 to 23 months who are not covered by current dietary aid programs by the government. The cash aid will provide them access to sufficient and quality supplementary food.

The three bills were filed with the House of Representatives last October 16. — GAN (FREEMAN)

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