Bayan Muna rep says ‘full-blown execution’ of national ID system is ‘untimely’
MANILA, Philippines — A party list lawmaker on Wednesday thumbed down the suggestion of Senate President Vicente Sotto III to have a “full-blown execution” of the national ID system to address issues in the distribution of cash subsidy for low-income families amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said that doing so would be “untimely, impractical, and burdensome for the poor.”
“Instead of hastening delivery of aid, this would slow it down further and unnecessarily burden our poor kababayans (countrymen) who would have to secure requirements for the ID. This might even deprive more rather than provide and expand access to government aid,” Gaite said in a statement.
“What would hasten the delivery of aid is the identification of those who are exempted from receiving. These are the richest 10% of the population or, based on a population of 108 million or approximately 20 million families, just around 2 million families,” the lawmaker added.
Gaite said that since the government already has the list of the “poorest of the poor” in the 4Ps beneficiary database, the government should start there since “they are probably in the most dire situation right now.”
“The government must also forego of its plan to deduct the total cost of food packs and the 4Ps assistance/CCT they already received. Huwag na nilang tipirin ang mga higit na nangangailangan,” the lawmaker said.
Sotto earlier said the national ID system will fix any discrepancies between local government units and the database of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Section 4 (c) of Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which tackles the provision of an emergency subsidy for around 18 million low-income households in the country who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The subsidy ranges from P5,000 to P8,000 a month for two months and is computed based on the “prevailing regional minimum wage rates.”
Likewise, Gaite called on the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide calamity assistance packages to their members as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to threaten the country.
Gaite said the amount could be smaller or around the same amount as the government’s social amelioration program.
“With a clear list of membership, these agencies could hasten the delivery of aid to our people. In this time of great need, the government, and its agencies must do everything to extend help to our people. SSS and GSIS has earlier implemented an early release of pension, maybe they could still do more,” Gaite said.
Further, the lawmaker said that SSS can offer their members cash assistance instead of offering them loans.
“Aside from additional benefits, the agencies must also relax the requirements in acquiring the other existing loans. OWWA, for its part could assist the families of OFWs,” he said.
Government running out of money?
Gaite also belied President Rodrigo Duterte’s claims that the government is running out of money.
The lawmaker said that “there are billions in the budget that are yet untapped which were actually contained in the President’s report.”
“The report admitted that there are billions in ‘unreleased appropriations’ as they are still ‘crafting guidelines’ for its release. We are already in the 4th week of the lockdown, and they have already extended it, and yet guidelines are still unfinished,” Gaite said.
“The Duterte administration is indeed lacking urgency in its response,” he added.
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