No more SAP cash aid in 2021 budget — DBM
MANILA, Philippines — The government will no longer provide cash subsidy next year to more Filipinos pushed to poverty because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
At the hearing of the Senate committee on finance on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked about the government’s plan for poor Filipinos, estimated to increase by more than 5 million as a result of the pandemic.
In particular, the senator inquired if the proposed P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021 contains the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) for the poor.
“From our records your honor, there is no such item for that program,” Department of Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado said.
What the government has in the national budget, Avisado said, are the regular programs for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“I know that Mr. Secretary,” Drilon said, “I guess my question is what is the policy thrust when you totally eliminate the SAP when the poverty level will be going up because of the pandemic?”
“We’re looking at the improvement in the economy and the opportunity for people to be able to work already. And we still have the regular programs, the 4Ps your honor, that will be continued,” Avisado said.
4Ps is the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), a cash subsidy given by the government to poor families.
Avisado also explained that the government only distributed the cash subsidy to Filipinos hit hard by the pandemic when the enhanced community quarantine was imposed in the National Capital Region and some parts of the country.
“But for next year, we’re hoping that we can go back to the regular programs of the DSWD. That’s the reason why there’s no provision for SAP next year,” he further explained.
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