Rep. Garin asks Senate not to 'malign' AKAP cash aid

Rep. Garin asks Senate not to ‘malign’ AKAP cash aid

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 08:39 PM February 15, 2024

MANILA, Philippines —  House leaders on Thursday told the Senate not to “malign” the Ayuda sa Kapos sa Kita Program (AKAP), making it clear that it was a program meant to help poor and low-income Filipinos.

This was after Senator Imee Marcos raised questions on the said program, stating that it was unknown to senators and that it could have been used in the people’s initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution.

READ: Sen. Imee Marcos eyes separate probe for DSWD cash aid


In a press conference, House Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Janette Garin described AKAP as a legitimate and noble initiative aimed at assisting poor workers.


“We respect the wisdom of the Senate, but we also have to stand up because we cannot continue maligning good projects,” Garin said in a press conference.

“Ang pag-malign na ito ay posibleng magkaroon ng taint at magkaroon ng maling pag-intindi ‘yung ating mga kababayan. So, uulitin natin ‘yung AKAP  ay hindi siya hao-siao. Ang AKAP ay tulong sa mga taong kinakapos ang kita. Ang AKAP ay tulong para ‘yung mga empleyadong nahihirapan sa pagtaas ng mga presyo ng mga bilihin ay hindi natin ipapasa lang ng buo ang burden sa kanilang mga employer,” she added.

(This maligning could potentially have a negative impact and lead to a misunderstanding among our fellow citizens. So, let’s reiterate that AKAP is not a trivial matter. AKAP is assistance for people facing financial difficulties. AKAP is an aid for employees struggling with the rising prices of goods, ensuring that we do not pass the entire burden on to their employers.)

According to Garin, AKAP was born of the need for avenues to establish programs aimed at providing temporary financial assistance or supplemental income for minimum wage earners.

At the same time, Garin denounced allegations suggesting the misuse of funds related to AKAP, asserting that such claims hold no basis and only serve to undermine the program’s credibility.

“So it’s talagang medyo… walang .0001% of probability ng truth (There’s a very minimal, like 0.0001%, probability of truth),” Garin said.


The lawmaker cited the continued challenges faced by the public after the COVID-19 pandemic, not just in public health but also in the economy.

“We are not yet done with the effects of the pandemic. The initial effect of a pandemic will be health, immediate health problems. After that will be secondary health problems and economic challenges, ‘yan po talaga ang nangyayari (that is really what is happening),” Garin explained.

The lawmaker then appealed for an end to the ongoing bickering between the Senate and the House, emphasizing that such conflicts not only waste taxpayers’ money but also set a negative example for the public.

She expressed her dismay over the unnecessary discord, highlighting the need for constructive dialogue to address pressing issues.

“Kaya dapat talagang ihinto ‘yung pag-aaway na ito kase it’s not only a waste of taxpayers’ money, it’s also a bad example that we are showing to our people,” Garin said.

(That’s why this quarrel should be stopped because it’s not only a waste of taxpayers’ money, but it also sets a bad example for our people.)

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Deputy Speaker David “Jay-jay” Suarez slammed Senators Marcos, Ronald dela Rosa, and Risa Hontiveros for claiming that they did not know about the AKAP program when they themselves signed the 2024 General Appropriations Bill.

“Pumirma sila sa Bicam report. Nandun ang lagda nila, hindi lang sa special provision on AKAP kundi sa buong Bicam report. Inaprubahan din ng buong Senado ang Bicam report bago nila ipinasa ang 2024 General Appropriations Bill para pirmahan ni Pangulong Marcos,” said Suarez.

(They signed the Bicam report. Their signatures are there not only on the special provision for AKAP but on the entire Bicam report. The entire Senate also approved the Bicam report before they passed the 2024 General Appropriations Bill for President Marcos to sign.)

“Ugali ba talaga nilang pumirma kahit hindi nababasa ang dokumentong pinirmahan nila? Paano na ang ibang batas na ipinasa nila sa Senado? Hindi rin kaya nila binasa bago sila pumirma?” he added.

(Is it their habit to sign documents without reading them? What about other laws they passed in the Senate? Did they also not read them before signing?)

Suarez then accused the senators of “demonizing” the project meant to help the poor, questioning what would be so wrong with a program providing one-time assistance of P5,000 to Grab drivers, service crew, factory workers, and other laborers.

“Basta kami sa Kongreso, tatayuan namin ang batas na ito na tutulong sa ating mga kababayan. Tungkulin natin ‘yan sa bayan. At sa mga senador na kumukwestyon sa AKAP, kayo na lang ang magpaliwanag sa 12-milyong pamilyang Pilipino na umaasang matatanggap nila ang ayudang ito,” said Suarez.

(In Congress, we will stand by this law that will help our fellow citizens. It is our duty to the nation. And to the senators questioning AKAP, you’ll be the ones to explain to the 12 million Filipino families hoping to receive this aid.)

Sen. Marcos, who advocated for the 2024 budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) during deliberations, speculated that the AKAP funds may have been utilized to entice individuals to support the people’s initiative push for amending the 1987 Constitution — a move suspected by senators to be orchestrated by the House.

The said initiative widened a rift between the Senate and the House as the upper chamber perceived it as a move to diminish its power as the 24 senators could be easily outvoted by the more than 300 House members.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian himself could not explain the “mysterious” insertion of P26.7 billion for the program, confirming that the budget for AKAP was not included in the department’s initial line item and was only included after the bicameral conference committee approved the provisions for the General Appropriations Act (GAA) in December of last year.

READ: ‘Pleasant surprise’: DSWD chief baffled but happy with AKAP budget

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However, several House officials have already called out Sen. Marcos for her claims, with Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co saying that the senator is tarnishing the pure intentions of AKAP.

TAGS: AKAP, House, Senate

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