MANILA – The chairman of the House ways and means committee on Tuesday said the immediate rollout of the emergency subsidy program (ESP) will act as an incentive for families to comply with social distancing measures amid the coronavirus crisis.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda made the remark following President Rodrigo Duterte’s message to the public that the government will “make up for the loss of economic opportunities” caused by the Luzon-wide quarantine by launching “the largest and widest social protection program in our country’s history”.
Around PHP200 billion is expected to be used for the emergency subsidy plan for the 18 million low-income households.
“The quick rollout of the ESP will help us keep families at home. Kapag wala na kasing pera, lalabas talaga yan para makapag-hanapbuhay (If there is really no money, they would really go out to make a living). Or in the worst conditions, be forced to violate the law. We’re definitely not yet in recovery stage but we want to keep society from reaching a stage of desperation for now, while we’re still in survival mode,” Salceda said.
“I would like to thank President Duterte for considering the proposal to expand the coverage to include basic sectors such as tricycle drivers and lactating and pregnant women,” Salceda added.
The Bayanihan to Heal as One law (Republic Act 11469) provides emergency subsidies between PHP5,000 and PHP8,000 to some 18 million low-income families in a span of two months.
In Duterte’s first weekly report submitted to Congress, the social amelioration programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Agriculture (DA), and local government units (LGUs) will be streamlined to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of Covid-19.
The Department of Finance will also provide technical assistance to the DSWD in forming a consolidated database that will host Covid-19 social amelioration programs.
The database will be derived from existing beneficiary lists submitted by government agencies and LGUs and will be used to determine the subsidy amounts for households.
The DOF would also help in crafting the budget augmentation requests to the Department of Budget and Management, mapping of household beneficiaries based on the consolidated database, and finalization of the operational guidelines for the ESP implementation to be rolled out on April 1. (PNA)