Robredo urges gov’t to reinstate 4Ps amid COVID-19 crisis
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has asked the government to reinstate the cash transfer programs and other financial assistance projects for poor Filipino families after her office learned that the government has stopped such services.
According to Robredo’s statement on Monday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) decided just this morning to stop the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, as the country faces a COVID-19 outbreak.
“Napagalamanan natin ang desisyon ng DSWD ngayong umaga na pansamantalang itigil ang pagbabahagi ng Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, Unconditional Cash Transfer, at Conditional Cash Transfer sa ilalalim ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program,” Robredo claimed.
(We just learned of the DSWD’s decision this morning to temporarily stop providing the social pension for indigent senior citizens, unconditional cash transfer, and conditional cash transfer under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program).
The Vice President said that the 4Ps and other programs would deter the public, especially the poor, from venturing outside their homes to earn money, while the whole Metro Manila is on a community quarantine.
“Nananawagan kami na bawiin ang kanilang desisyon at ituloy ang mga nasabing programa. Kung wala nito, marami ang mapipilitan pang lumabas ng bahay para pumasok— dahil kapag hindi sila pumasok, hindi sila kakain,” she explained.
(We are calling on authorities to rescind the decision and continue the said program. Without this, a lot of people will be forced to leave their homes to work, because if they would not work, they would not eat.)
“Kailangang limitahan ang mga tao sa lansangan. Ito ang isa sa pinakamabisang paraan para maampat ang pagkalat ng COVID-19. Kung ititigil ng DSWD ang pamimigay ng ayuda, mapipilitan ang marami na lumabas para kumita ng pambili ng pagkain, gamot, at iba pa nilang pangangailangan,” she added.
(We should limit people on the streets. This is one of the most effective ways to fight the spread of COVID-19. If DSWD would stop giving grants, then many would be forced to work, to support their needs like food, medication, and other necessities.)
The 4Ps and the other projects serve as a shield for the poorest Filipino families, indigents, and senior citizens against the rising prices of expenses. Observers warned that with President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a one-month quarantine for Metro Manila, some families may have no source of income.
Robredo said that what DSWD should do is to provide even more safety nets with the growing number of cases. As of Monday, there are 140 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the Philippines, 12 of which have died. At least two have recovered while six others were allowed to go on a home quarantine status.
“Ang panawagan din namin: Sa halip na itigil ang tulong pinansyal, dapat ding i-release ng DSWD ang buong halaga ng mga social safety nets na ito para sa mga buwan na sakop ng community quarantine masisigurong walang magugutom,” she said.
(Our call is instead of stopping financial assistance, DSWD should release the whole package of safety nets for the months affected by the community quarantine, to ensure that no one would go hungry.)
“Kung mas maagang matatanggap ng ating mga kababayan ang tulong, mas mababawasan natin ang mga taong lumalabas at, sa ganitong paraan, mababawasan din natin ang paglaganap ng COVID-19,” she noted.
(If people would receive the help earlier, then we would reduce the number of people outside, and in this manner, prevent the spread of COVID-19.)
The COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses, whose surfaces have a crown-like appearance. The viruses are named for the spikes on their surfaces.
Worldwide, over 168,000 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, with at least 6,506 dead.
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