Tulfo: AKAP is for neglected middle-class workers, not for bribery

Rep. Tulfo: AKAP is for neglected middle-class workers, not for bribery

/ 12:34 AM February 15, 2024

Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo has admitted that it was him who thought of the Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP), a one-time cash assistance for middle-class workers earning P23,000 or less.

Erwin Tulfo in a file photo during a Commission on Appointments hearing. Senate PRIB file photo

MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo has admitted that it was he who thought of the Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP), a one-time cash assistance for middle-class workers earning P23,000 or less.

According to Tulfo, he thought of AKAP when he was still secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as he had observed that middle-class workers are often neglected or left behind in most government aid programs.


Tulfo said the government has been implementing measures to help the poor, but the middle class — who also struggle due to the high cost of commodities and services — are not given any relief.


“To tell you straight up, I was the one who coined that idea since I was with the DSWD before.  Because I observed when I was the secretary of DSWD, almost all the social aid of the DSWD is intended for the indigent communities, for the poorest of the poor such as 4Ps, AICS, and even the medical assistance of the Department of Health it’s for indigents, even the TUPAD,” he said.

4Ps refers to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the government’s conditional cash transfer program, AICS is the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation, and TUPAD is the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers.  MAIP, meanwhile, is the health department’s Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients — all programs targeting the poor.

“It seems the government has forgotten that we have a class of people in between, that they are not indigent, but they are also not rich.  The government forgot people working in fast food companies, waiters, security guards, people living with salaries worth P23,000 or less or P25,000 or less,” Tulfo noted.

According to the lawmaker, he pitched this to the executive branch when he was DSWD secretary — the first DSWD head appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. — and then to Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez when he found his way into Congress.

“During my time at the DSWD, I pitched this to the executive department that’s why when I went to Congress, I also pitched it to Speaker Romualdez, I said, sir — especially last year during the budget deliberations — since we are saying that half a trillion of our budget will go to social aid, but I saw that we are so centered on the indigent.

“Nothing was left to our fellow Filipinos with work, the riders for transport network services who earn P23,000 or less, security guards, waiters, dishwashers, who do not get social aid.  That’s the primary purpose of AKAP […] it is not to bribe them (to sign the People’s Initiative),” he added.


Questions about AKAP were raised by Senator Imee Marcos, who said in a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the said program was unknown to senators — especially her since she sponsored the 2024 budget of the DSWD when it was still being deliberated.

Marcos also speculated that the AKAP funds were used to entice people into signing in favor of the People’s Initiative (PI) campaign to amend the Constitution, which some senators believe was being orchestrated by House leaders.

Several House officials have already called out Senator Marcos for her claims, with Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co saying that the Senator is dirtying the pure intentions of AKAP.

It was Co who announced the new program last December after the bicameral conference committee approved the final version of the budget.

READ: Workers earning no more than P23,000 monthly to get P5,000 aid – House 

Earlier, Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. also said that Senator Marcos signed the exact page in the then-proposed 2024 national budget that contained provisions for the P26.7-billion AKAP.

Gonzales also said that the 2024 budget was approved by the Senate on November 28, 2023, obtaining 21 affirmative votes.

READ: Magic project? Gonzales says Senate approved funding for AKAP 

The House and the Senate have been at odds recently due to discussions about amending the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions. Last December, Speaker Romualdez and Gonzales brought up the possibility of hearing charter change proposals again to open restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution.

However, Gonzales said they may entertain Charter change through a people’s initiative (PI) as the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 was not acted upon by the Senate.

READ: House leaders say there’s no plan to abolish Senate, now pushing RBH 6 

But after the PI gained traction, the Senate accused the House of being behind the campaign, even claiming that the PI intends to abolish the Senate by introducing joint voting in deciding on the proposed constitutional amendments.

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Romualdez and other House leaders have denied being behind the PI, saying several times that they do not intend to abolish the Senate.

TAGS: AKAP, Erwin Tulfo, Tulfo

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