Albay Rep. Joey Salceda warned that handing out cash support to 18 million poor families forced to stay at home during the virus lockdown will be a logistical nightmare.
While the House Committee of the Whole on Monday approved the measure granting President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers during a national emergency to contain COVID-19, Salceda said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has the unenviable task of who were eligible for the subsidy and how the money would get to them during the lockdown.
Salceda said that the government has the database for recipients of 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT), Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens (SPISC), farmers registered under the registry system for basic sector in agriculture (RSBSA) plus the four million minimum wage earners (their respective firms would apply for them) who could get their P8,000 monthly subsidies through banks and their ATMs.
“The problem here is that a lot of beneficiaries have multiple points of entitlement. But the main goal is to make sure that every family’s subsidies are topped off at P8,000 each per month,” Salceda said.
He said a major issue was the lack of data on 16 million self-employed Filipinos – such a tricycle and bus drivers, and beauty parlor hairdressers – and how to give them the monthly subsidies.
Salceda said the most practical way for the Department of Social Welfare and Development to give the subsidies was through direct handouts. “There are four to five members in each family, so we’d probably give P2,000 to each indigent Filipino. Sana unitize na lang na P8,000, top up whatever they’re getting from 4PS or UCT. Mahirap din ibigay through banks or ATMs kasi hahaba nag pila lalo na doon sa hindi nakalista,” said Salceda.
If all else fails, Salceda made this suggestion: “Mag-helicopter drop na lang, ‘wag ka na lang magtapon ng pera sa villages.”
Salceda said the P8,000 subsidy to 18 million would wipe out the P150 billion from government owned or controlled corporations in just one month.