Duterte ‘agrees’ with Remulla’s appeal to include middle class in emergency aid
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said he agreed with Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla’s claim that middle-class families would also need the government’s emergency subsidy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to Duterte, Remulla described the pandemic as “ a time of crisis for everyone” and “not just the poorest of the poor, but also those who have built much but not enough.”
“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 said.
In his public address, Duterte called Remulla’s appeal “valid,” but he noted that the government’s P270-billion budget for COVID-19 response was not enough.
“I agree. I know the political-economic horizon of the country,” Duterte said.
The President called on Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez to source out more funds.
But Duterte finished his speech, delivered partly in Filipino, with this assurance: “In the meantime, we would work double-time for the middle class that you mention,].”
The government has set aside a P200-billion cash aid to be distributed to about 18 million low-income households 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 public transportation. Luzon 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.
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