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Poor families to get up to P8,000 cash subsidy from COVID-19 bill

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 08:25 PM March 23, 2020

MANILA,  Philippines —Eighteen  (18) million poor Filipino families would receive P5,000 to P8,000  financial assistance for two months if the bill called “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”  is enacted into law.

Senator Pia Cayetano disclosed this when she presented for plenary approval on Monday Senate  Bill 1413  that she and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III filed to address the coronavirus  19  (COVID-19)  outbreak.

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Of the 24. 6  million Filipino families in the Philippines,  Cayetano pointed out that only about 6.6 million households belong to the formal sector and could avail of their savings and other benefits from their places of work to survive.

“The remaining 18 million families work in the informal economy, or are poor or near-poor. If they do not work, they have no income. “No work, no pay”, “isang kahig isang tuka,” ika nga,”  she said in her sponsorship speech.

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“These are excruciatingly difficult times, especially for them, and we must do what we can to help. Hindi natin pababayaan ang ating mga kababayan (No one would be left behind),” she added.

“The bill that I sponsor today proposes to raise enough money to support families for two months, so that each of these 18 million household gets between 5,000 to 8,000 pesos per month from various national government and local government programs, whether in cash or kind, but mostly food,”  the senator said.

Cayetano said the exact amount would be based on the minimum wage per region.

Of the 18 million poor families, Cayetano said 4.4 million households are current beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps) or conditional cash transfer or CCT program and have already been receiving P2,150 per month.

“So we will just top-up their subsidies to reach the proposed P5,000 to P8,000, depending on their region, so that they can avail of basic food, medicine, and toiletries,”  she pointed out.

The additional subsidy for these CCT  beneficiaries would amount to a total of  P15.5 billion a month.

The remaining  13.5 million  poor families that are non-CCT beneficiaries, meanwhile,  would get P5,000 to P8,000 in total from various national and local government programs.

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The cash subsidy for this 13.5 million  families would cost the government P82 billion per month.

“The total Emergency Subsidy Program will require a total of P97.4 billion per month, or around P200 billion for two months for all households working in the informal sector, plus 5.1 billion of administrative cost,”  Cayetano said.

The senator assured the government has  available funds to support  the cash subsidy.

“To get this done, we in the Senate and our counterparts in the House of Representatives must immediately enact a special law to allow the President to move and reallocate funds to where they are most urgently needed and create new budget items for new programs so that we can deliver emergency aid to our people without delay,”  she added.

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