Salceda proposes P1,000 emergency aid to include middle-income earners
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is proposing that P1,000 in emergency assistance be given to “all Filipinos except those in the top 10 percent” of the population amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, who chairs the House committee on ways and means, said the provision of the assistance falls under the Universal Basic Income (UBI) approach which does not only cover low-income households but middle-income earners as well.
Salceda said the UBI was a part of his recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on March 19 and was also included in his letter to President Rodrigo Duterte on March 25.
“I asked the President to consider a basic income approach to distributing the emergency subsidy. Essentially, you distribute 1,000 to 2,000 pesos per head. Bale ang eligibility lang po, basta Pilipino ka at hindi ka mayaman, makakatanggap ka ng tulong (The eligibility is as long as you are a Filipino and you are not rich, you can receive help),” Salceda said in a statement.
“Ang tingin ko po kasi, batay na rin sa mga pag-aaral natin ng welfare systems ng ibang bansa, at batay sa model halimbawa ng COVID subsidy sa America, pinaka-straightforward at simple ang basic income. Walang duplications at walang confusion sa eligibility,” the lawmaker added.
(Based on our studies on welfare systems in other countries and based on the COVID subsidy model in the United States, the most straightforward at simplest approach is the basic income. No duplications and confusion on the eligibility.)
In his letter to Duterte, Salceda said that adopting such an approach would be advantageous “for ease of administration, ease of accountability, and to avoid arbitrariness in selecting eligible beneficiaries and sectors.”
“The costs of basic income approximate the P200 billion is projected for the emergency subsidy program. In fact, it may be cheaper. To cover 90 percent of the population would require P198.2 billion. To cover 80 percent would require P176.2 billion,” Salceda said.
Salceda explained that the approach would also entail less administrative costs “as it would not require the kind of data mining required of identifying beneficiaries from existing but disjointed lists.”
Currently, the government is using Section 4 (c) of Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which tackles the provision of an emergency subsidy to around 18 million low-income households in the country affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The subsidy amounts from P5,000 to P8,000 a month for two months and is computed based on the “prevailing regional minimum wage rates.”
“Essentially, ang advantage ng basic income, ang approach is human-centered. Kapag maraming maghahati-hati sa isang household, maliit ang 5,000. Kaya maganda ang basic income per person approach. Because food intake is per person,” Salceda said.
(Essentially, the advantage of basic income approach is it’s human-centered. If there are a lot of individuals sharing the subsidy in one household, P5,000 is a small amount. That’s why a basic income per person approach is better because food intake is per person.)
Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla has also called on Duterte to include the middle class in the government’s social amelioration program.
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.”
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