P5K monthly cash aid to poorest Filipinos? ‘Not feasible,’ Palace says
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is not warming up to the proposal of Vice President Leni Robredo to give each of the 10 million poorest Filipino families a monthly cash aid worth P5,000 for four months to help tide them over the coronavirus pandemic.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised Palace press briefing Thursday that this is not feasible due to the government supposed dwindling funds.
“Hindi po sapat (ang pera). Alam niyo naman ho in public finance, hindi ka pupwedeng gumastos na wala kang source of possible expenditure,” Roque said.
This wouldn’t have been a problem if the government has enough funds, Roque said, adding that every poor Filipino would be given assistance in such case.
However, he noted that the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or the Bayanihan 2, only allotted P165.5-billion stimulus plan, way smaller from the Bayanihan 1 which was able to set aside P200 billion for its emergency subsidy program (ESP), targeting 18 million low-income households for a two-month cash subsidies.
“Kung pupwede po bibigyan lahat pero wala nga po tayong sapat na pondo para diyan,” Roque said.
“Pati ‘yung ating Bayanihan 2 limited to P165 (billion). Meron din pong probisyon na ayuda doon pero kakaunti lang din po ‘yun kumpara sa unang binigay natin noong una sa Bayanihan 1. ‘Yung Bayanihan 1 po was a historic funding program, it was the biggest funding program we have ever implemented as a Republic,” he added.
The P5,000 monthly subsidy for poor Filipinos was among the Robredo’s recommendations to the government as it scrambles to save the economy from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The Vice President said her proposal would cost the government another P200 billion.
“Maliit na halaga ito para mailigtas sila mula sa gutom,” she said.
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