Aquino seeks inquiry on cash aid for 10M poor Filipino families amid TRAIN law
Senator Bam Aquino wants to scrutinize the implementation of the government’s cash transfer program for 10 million Filipino families amid the implementation of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Act.
In filing Senate Resolution No. 597 on Tuesday, Aquino urged the appropriate Senate committee to ensure that the cash assistance for the 10 million poor Filipino families is sufficient to cover the increase in the prices of goods and other services due to the tax reform law.
“Siguraduhin natin na makakarating nga ang financial assistance sa mga pamilyang nangangailangan. Bantayan natin ang proseso at suriin natin kung sapat na ang 200 pesos kada buwan,” Aquino said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The government must prioritize the poor and ensure that its policies benefit them rather than impose even more financial burdens,” he added.
According to Aquino, Republic Act No. 10963 provides financial assistance to 10 million poor Filipino families to counter the expected increase in prices of goods brought by Train law’s higher excise tax on fuel products, among others.
Recipients of the cash assistance will get P200 per month in 2018, and P300 per month in 2019 and 2020.
However, Aquino said that the government cannot implement the cash transfer program together with the tax reform program and expected price increases due to lack of proper infrastructure.
The government intends to use the system for the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to distribute funds to the existing 1.8 million beneficiaries with cash cards by January 31, 2018. But the remaining 2.6 million recipients without cards would have to wait.
Aquino also said that the cash transfer for the additional 5.6 million households is “still in limbo with no actual date of release set.”
“The failure of the government to implement an effective financial assistance program in time for the projected price increases will burden Filipino families,” Aquino said.
During the Train law’s period of amendments in the Senate, Aquino pushed for the immediate implementation of the financial assistance program to help poor Filipinos absorb the expected increase in the prices of goods and services.
But he said his proposal was not accepted, prompting him to vote against its ratification.
“Without a cash transfer program in place, poor Filipinos will bear the brunt of the increase in prices of goods and services due to the fuel taxes and sweetened beverage tax. Without the necessary safeguards for the poor, I cannot support this measure,” he said. /kga
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