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Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Sunday (September 27) not to be tight-fisted in giving financial aid to low income families affected by the COVID-19 crisis under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

In a radio interview, Drilon said he was saddened by DSWD’s statement in a recent Senate hearing that it saved P10 billion because only 14 million out of the 18 billion target beneficiaries of the SAP’s second tranche received dole outs.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said the decline in SAP beneficiaries was a result of double compensation.

“Ang sinasabing rason nadoble raw yung iba. Assuming na totoo iyan, magkano ba iyan? Sabihin natin na nadoble yung 4 million beneficiaries, anim na buwan silang walang kinikita? Dapat naging lenient na kahit papaano,” Drilon said.

The opposition lawmaker said a bigger cash aid for the poor wouldn’t hurt considering that several of them became jobless since a lockdown was first imposed in March.

“Ang sabi nga ni Sec. [Carlos] Dominguez, itong panahon ngayon, kailangan gumastos tayo dahilan sa ‘yung ekonomiya natin bumabagsak. Bakit bumabagsak? Walang pera ang taumbayan para mamili ng pagkain, maraming nawalan ng trabaho. Kaya kailangan gumastos tayo ngayon para ma-stimulate ang ekonomiya natin,” he said.

Drilon frowned on DSWD’s plan to use the savings for livelihood programs, saying it will take a while before its impacts are felt.

“‘Yung livelihood projects, may ibang sangay din ng pamahalaan na may livelihood project. Ngunit ang tungkulin ng DSWD ay ayuda, immediate relief para sa ating kababayan na mahirap at bagong mahirap,” he said.

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