Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go yesterday called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other agencies to expedite the release of assistance through its Social Amelioration Program to low-income families, members of the vulnerable sector and informal workers.
Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and is a member of the Joint Oversight Committee that oversees the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, reminded the DSWD that they must act quickly to fulfill their mandate.
“We need to give government aid to Filipinos especially to informal economy workers and the vulnerable sector because the longer it takes, it would add to our problems even more,” Go said.
The senator emphasized that the law has already given the government the necessary authority to act swiftly and accordingly as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to threaten the livelihood of many individuals and the economy of the country.
“It is difficult to be poor especially in this time when jobs are nil because of the enhanced community quarantine, so we need to take action to give the necessary aid, especially to the poor,” Go said.
“We need to give government aid especially to our countrymen who earn by the day, or those who work on a ‘no work, no pay’ system, because daily wage earners have to stop working to be safe from the spread of this virus,” he added.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Republic Act 11469, over 18 million Filipino family beneficiaries will receive assistance for two months. According to the DSWD, this assistance will be in the form of cash and in kind.
The emergency subsidy for Filipinos range from P5,000 to P8,000, depending on the minimum regional wage rates.
Go further emphasized that there should be no politics involved in the distribution of aid and that the funds must be allocated fairly and distributed equitably, especially among who need government assistance most.
“Politicians should not meddle. Let us not muddle this effort with politics because the process will take longer. Let us not add to the hardships of the people, let us just extend the help them fast,” Go said.
Meanwhile, the DSWD has also stated that aside from the financial assistance, it will also distribute food packs and non-food items.
Over P200 billion will be spent for the largest and widest social protection program in the country to make up for the loss of many sectors amid the COVID-19 crisis.