Cavite governor to Duterte: Include ‘overlooked’ middle class in emergency aid
MANILA, Philippines — Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla has called on President Rodrigo Duterte to include the middle class in the government’s social amelioration program in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
In a message addressed to Duterte, Remulla said the ongoing health crisis “is a time of crisis for everyone” and “not just the poorest of the poor, but also those who have built much but not enough.”
“As governor, I am respectfully asking that you consider them to be part of the social amelioration program. They may not get as much as the poorest of the poor but please consider their welfare,” Remulla said.
“They are often overlooked. They pay the most taxes. They keep our economy alive. They are mostly law-abiding citizens. They need a break,” he added.
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The government has set aside P200 billion cash aid to about 18 million poor families affected by the month-long enhanced community quarantine of Luzon, which was imposed to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. This strict measure also effectively suspended work for the majority of the region’s people as it likewise halted the operations of public transport. Luzon region is home to about half of the country’s population.
The beneficiaries are to receive subsidies of P5,000 to P8,000 per household monthly for two months, but the specific amount will be dependent on the prevailing minimum wage of a region.
The Cavite governor said about 300,000 of his constituents work in Metro Manila while some 400,000 are directly and indirectly from Cavite’s economic zones.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit my province hard. Despite that, I am not asking for anything to be given to the local government. We can fend for ourselves, but not everybody can,” he said.
Remulla also said most of his people “have depleted their savings” since the Luzon-wide lockdown.
“Families of 8 stay in housing units 24 to 40 square meters small. Cramped as they are, they are generally optimistic people. Despite all that, they are hurting.”
Provincial and town executives from other parts of the country have also rolled out similar financial assistance measures in their respective jurisdictions.
To date, the virus, which was first detected in Hubei, China late last year, has infected 3,246 people in the Philippines and killed 152 as of Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, 64 patients were able to recover.
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