On the government’s Social Amelioration Program for the poor

Anakpawis Party-list Former Representative Ka Ayik Casilao at a relief mission for farmers affected by lockdown in Bulacan. Photo by Sagip Kanayunan.

On the government’s Social Amelioration Program for the poor

Manila, Philippines – Former Anakpawis Party-list Former Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao today said that the guidelines for the distribution of Social Amelioration Program should not be too strict to beneficiaries. He said the responsible agencies should consider that poor and marginalized people will likely have a hard time producing pertinent documents set by the authorities to avail the financial aid, thus, utmost consideration must be observed.

He added that urban poor, farmers, fisherfolks and workers should be on top of the priority list for distribution as they are the vulnerable sectors severely affected by the month-long Luzon-wide quarantine. “One day without work means hunger to them, what more if they don’t have work and income for a month?

The recent incident in Barangay Pag-asa in Quezon City wherein urban poor residents who converged and waited for relief goods were dispersed by the police is the effect of slow delivery of goods and financial aid.

Casilao also reminded the national government agencies tasked to lead the distribution of fund to make sure that it will not be used for political patronage while depriving beneficiaries.

The former representative also said the government should be transparent in the distribution of the multi-billion peso Social Amelioration Program fund. “It should be a part of the Presidents’ weekly report. He must update the public on the spending of the fund.

Aside from the P275B Bayanihan We Heal As One fund approved by Congress, available budget from various departments and agencies tapped for the Covid 19 response include the following;

  • P200B from GOCCs for social amelioration
  • P100 -180B Savings from the 2019 budget
  • P300B BSP government securities

This totaled to P955 Billion or almost one-trillion pesos at the President’s disposal.

‘This gargantuan fund under the discretion of the President came from the hard-earned money and taxes of the people. It is only just to call on to the government for transparency. May karapatan pumuna ang tao kung nakikita nila na hindi tama ang pinag gagamitan ng pondo o mabagal pa din ang distribusyon ng ayuda sa gitna na mayroon nang pondo. Mauulit at mauulit ang pagkilos ng mga mahihirap kung sa gitna ng naka-antabay na pondo ay wala o mabagal ang pag ayuda sa mahihirap. Nananawagan ang Anakpawis sa publiko na dapat maging mapag bantay at huwag matakot na ihayag ang kanilang karanasan lalo na sa panahon ng kwarantin”, Casilao ended ###

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