Sotto joins call for middle-income families to get aid during coronavirus crisis
MANILA, Philippines — “Even the middle-income needs help.”
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said this as he joined calls for middle-class families to receive assistance from the government during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
In a statement on Wednesday, he urged the government to expand its relief assistance to cover formal and middle-income workers whose income has also been affected as the entire Luzon remains under lockdown.
“Government assistance should cover ALL those who are affected by the lockdown. (The) Government should strive to help everyone whose sources of income and livelihood have been crippled by the pandemic,” Sotto said.
“Even the middle-income needs help. Nawalan din naman sila ng pagkakitaan, nabawasan din ang kanilang source of income,” he added. (They too have no livelihood now, no source of income)
He noted that salary adjustments have been adopted by medium and small-medium enterprise (MSMEs) to stretch their financial resources amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine enforced to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“I totally agree that we should help the poor deal with the current situation. But we should also provide assistance to the other sectors of our society,” the senator said.
“They, too, are also experiencing difficulties because of the work stoppage in all industries. (The) Government should also extend a helping hand to them,” he added.
Sotto said the government could have a wider assistance coverage if it is provided with proper information on the total number of households and families in the country, sources of income, vulnerabilities and other pertinent data.
He suggested that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and local government units (LGUs) could coordinate and pool together their databases.
Sotto also urged government leaders to coordinate with private businesses which have been donating food and other essential assistance amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
This as he raised concerns over a possible duplication of the distribution of cash aid and food packs given by the government and private donors, noting that all assistances are given to the less advantaged.
He said this would leave the middle-income and formal sector workers looking at empty boxes.
“All workers and families who are experiencing difficulties because of the lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic are equally entitled to public and private assistance,” Sotto said.
“There should be no social discrimination at this time because everyone, each Filipino, need help,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continued to increase. The quarantine became effective on March 17 and was initially set to be lifted on April 13.
To date, Philippine health officials have confirmed 3,764 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.
Of the number, 177 patients have died while 84 have already recovered from the disease.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.