Recently, VP Leni Robredo called on the government to provide financial assistance to daily wage earners and poor communities.
Recently, Luzon was put under enhanced Community quarantine, as part of the effort to prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, many daily wage-earners lost their chance to work and earn for their families.
However on, Monday, March 23, the bicameral Congress proposed to enact a law providing cash assistance of 5k-8k pesos a month to about 18.5 million poor households.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in a radio interview, that giving out cash to poor families who have lost their ability to make a living is much easier than buying food and other items, packaging and delivering them.
“Ang mga local government unit, hirap na sa pondo… Imbis na mag-prepare ka, ibabalot mo, idi-distribute mo, pera na ang ibigay natin sa tao—doon sa mga 18 million families na isang kahig, isang tuka,” said Sotto.
Sotto said the funds that would be used to support the displaced families will come from government-owned and managed companies, not from the approved 4.1 trillion pesos budget for 2020.
He also said both chambers are looking at approving a financial aid worth up to P8,000 per low-income family for two months. As the legislature started deliberating on a proposed law granting the president powers to re-align the budget for a period of two months to address the public health crisis.
The ECQ could be prolonged for another month or even longer, depending on the proposed legislation. Before the government eliminated the coronavirus that emerged from China in December 2019, he added.
Sotto said the lawmakers should leave the procedures and instructions for the allocation of funds through local government units to related agencies. Such as administration, budget, and interior departments.
Daily minimum wage earners and individuals under “no work, no pay” contracts would be prioritized as they bore the brunt of the suspension of work, schools and public transport.
Lawmakers also explained that there was nothing in the new law that would allow the government to take over all companies. Including public utilities such as electricity, water, and communication.
Only hospitals, hotels, and other critical services will be taken over in the fight against the virus.