President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking Congress’ help to look for funds to give 23 million low-income families in the lockdown areas financial aid from the second tranche of the government’s cash subsidy, Malacañang said Friday.
“This is on top of the 18 million low-income families that will be given P5,000 to 8,000 in financial assistance for two months under a P200-billion budget in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a television interview.
He said the President also ordered the Budget department to look into funds that could be realigned to cover all poor households in the emergency subsidy.
Roque said the government needed an additional P50 billion in cash aid for the millions of families that were left out of the social amelioration program amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He said Duterte was considering selling government assets to help finance the financial assistance program.
Duterte also ordered Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado to look for more funds to increase the beneficiaries of the second tranche of the government’s emergency subsidies.
He gave the order to ensure that all 23 million poor families would be included in the list of eligible beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program, Roque said.
Around 23 million SAP beneficiaries are expected to get the first tranche of the emergency cash subsidies from the national government.
The original number of SAP recipients was 18 million.
Duterte, however, wants five million more poor families to also receive cash assistance to help them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roque said Duterte’s latest order was to realign funds to make sure that all 23 million beneficiaries would benefit from the second phase of the SAP.
He said Duterte might ask Congress to grant his administration an additional P50-billion budget for the SAP implementation in case the Budget department failed to reallocate funds for the distribution of emergency subsidies.