Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista on Wednesday appealed for calm and advised critics to stop blaming government for its supposed failure to immediately act in containing the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country.
In a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, the former army commander said blaming the government amid the health crisis would not do any good.
He said it is more important to focus on the efforts currently being undertaken by the Duterte administration to protect the people against Covid-19.
“Ang akin lang pong advice sa ating lahat (My advice to everyone is) this is not the time for blame game. We should help one another in any form we can,” he said in a speech aired on state-run PTV-4.
“This is an opportunity for us to show to our people that we are worth a public servant and only looking after the welfare of our brothers and sisters,” he added.
Bautista made the statement amid rising complaint from indigent Filipinos about not receiving the food and cash subsidies between P5,000 and P8,000 or that these would barely cover their needs during the lockdown which has been extended to April 30.
An enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) has been imposed on the entire island of Luzon until April 30 to stop the further transmission of Covid-19, which already infected 3,870 individuals.
An initial P275 billion has been earmarked to address the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
Instead of complaining, Bautista said the public should help monitor the distribution of food and cash subsidies.
“Alam naman po natin na may mga pagkakataon na may mawawalang pera o hindi mabibilang ang pera kaya kailangan po na mayroong taong mananagot, taong sasagot kung sakaling hanapin ang mga pagkukulang na pera,” said Bautista.
“Pero ito ang ine-encourage ko sa ating mga kapatid na dapat we should be a vanguard in the distribution of the social amelioration program. Dapat lumakas ang ating boses dahil alam naman natin na ang social amelioration program ay people’s money, coming from the people’s tax at hindi dapat po ito masayang o magamit lamang ng mga taong iniisip ang kanilang sariling interes,” he added.
The national government has implemented the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), which mandates the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) led by Bautista to grant emergency subsidies to 18 million poor households affected by the health crisis.
“Ang DSWD po ay gagawin ang lahat na tulungan ang ating mga LGU (local government units) para masigurado natin na mapadali, mapabilis ang pagbibigay ayuda under the Social Amelioration Program,” he said.