Aquino questions P40,000 financial relief sought by ‘Yolanda’ victims | Inquirer News

Aquino questions P40,000 financial relief sought by ‘Yolanda’ victims

/ 02:21 PM February 19, 2014

President Benigno Aquino III. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The P40,000 in financial assistance requested by Super Typhoon “Yolanda” survivors is too costly for a short-term solution, President Benigno Aquino III said Wednesday.

“Ano ba ang magiging pangmatagalan na solusyon ng P40,000 na iyan? So iyon hindi ko nakita,” Aquino said during an ambush interview in Manila.

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(How will the P40,000 be utilized for the long-term? That I do not see.)

“Gaano katagal kaya nila maipapantustos iyon sa kanilang pamilya? Maitatayo kaya nila yung pamamahay nila?” he added.

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(How long will that amount last to support their families? Will it be enough to reconstruct their house?)

Aquino was responding to the statement from People Surge, a group of typhoon survivors. The group is asking the government for P40,000 in immediate financial relief per family, among other demands.

“Kung tinataya 1.4 million ang affected families at (bibigyan ng) P40,000 each, lalabas po iyan P56 billion,” the President pointed out.

(So we have 1.4 million affected families to be given P40,000 each, that will total P56 billion.)

He said such as amount was already around 10 percent of the government’s expenditure budget, not counting funds allocated for personnel services, maintenance, and operations.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman also said she is not amenable to the request.

“Unawaan natin hindi naman po limitless ang pondo ng gobyerno,” she said.

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(Let us understand that the fund of the government is not limitless.)

Soliman said it would also be difficult to justify such as amount, in terms of accounting.

“Alam po ninyo kung bibigyan ng outright cash na P40,000, isipin nyo po ang mga mamamamayan dito na nagmi-minimum wage. Baka isipin nila, ‘Bakit sila may P40,000? Kami kumakayod, hindi kami nakakakuha nyan,’” she added.

(If we give P40,000 outright, how about the residents here who are receiving minimum wage? They might think, ‘Why were they given P40,000? We work hard but we are not given the same assistance.’)

Nevertheless, the Secretary said the proposal is being studied. In the meantime, the Department of Social Welfare and Development continue to implement the conditional cash transfer program, especially in areas hit by the typhoon.

Last week, People Surge clarified that the amount was to support a family of six for two months. They said it was for relief and in no way a substitute to reconstruction efforts.

Both Aquino and Soliman, as well as Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, were at the Claro M. Recto High School on Monday morning to inspect the new mid-rise buildings for the urban poor.

Aquino will visit next week the provinces badly hit by calamities, coinciding with the 28th Edsa People Power celebrations.

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