By Billy Begas
Assistant Minority Leader and Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said funding for non-essential infrastructure projects and the President’s intelligence fund should be realigned and given to the poor families gravely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contrary to Malacañang’s claim that a supplemental budget is needed, Brosas said there are enough funds in the 2021 national budget that the government can use to alleviate the burden of poor families.
Brosas said the financial aid can be sourced from President Rodrigo Duterte’s P8.5 billion in intelligence fund and P13 billion contingency fund and the P19 billion allocated under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
She said Congress should also review the list of infrastructure projects worth P1.1 trillion that can be scrapped for now.
“Why not realign these to finance sufficient emergency cash subsidy instead? Wala silbi ang mga kalsada at imprastraktura kung walang taong dadaan at kung dumarami ang mga namamatay nating kababayan. President Duterte must get his priorities straight and focus on providing immediate relief,” said Brosas.
Brosas explained that the funding can be reallocated with the passage of Bayanihan to Arise As One (Bayanihan 3).
She also reiterated that the government’s one-time P1,000 cash aid is gravely insufficient amid rising number of jobless Filipinos and rising prices.
“Hindi sapat ang P1,000 kada tao lalo’t patuloy ang pagsirit ng presyo ng mga bilihin at maraming nawalan ng trabaho at kabuhayan. Kaya ang inihain namin na batas sa Kongreso ay at least P10,000 emergency cash assistance para sa 18 million low-income families na matinding tinamaan ng krisis at kalamidad,” she added.