Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday, March 25, said that as the country undergoes strict quarantine measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), he will ensure that the government cash aid provided under Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” reaches the poorest Filipinos and those who are most in need of such assistance.
Go also assured that poor families who are not under the government’s conditional cash transfer program may still receive cash aid as long as local government units identify them as indigent families. “Ang ating 4Ps beneficiary sa ngayon ay about 4 million families.
Ang target po nito ay about 18 million families. So kasama na po rito lahat ng mga taxi drivers, tricycle, trisikad, habal-habal, lahat po, mga vendors, lahat po ng nangangailangan ng tulong, lalung-lalo na po ‘yung mga ‘isang kahig, isang tuka’ na inaasahan lang po ang kanilang sahod or kita sa araw-araw,” he said.
The law provides that in the grant of the P5,000 to P8,000 cash subsidy, the current Conditional Cash Transfer program and rice subsidy of the government shall be taken into account. So, if a CCT beneficiary presently receives P1,500 from the program, the emergency subsidy will provide P6,500 to reach the P8,000 maximum amount.
According to the 2020 projections based on the Family Income and Expenditure Survey, there are 18 million low-income households in the Philippines now. The law also authorizes the President to expand and enhance the existing Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program of the government.
Go also detailed how the process of providing the government cash aid will proceed, saying, “Ang target po nito ay ito pong talagang nangangailangan ng tulong. Unang-una, target families should be profiled through the social amelioration program and should be included in the list of families that will be certified by the LGU.”
“Pagkatapos, the LGU shall prepare the list of target beneficiaries and then ang DSWD naman po shall review the said list and documents and determine the amount necessary for transfer,” he added. Go also mentioned that “the assistance will be given directly to the target beneficiary” as will be provided for by the Implementing Rules and Regulations which is currently in the works.
As for apartment renters and tenants who may need additional time to pay for their rent falling due during the quarantine period, Go said that the recently enacted law will also allow them a 30-day grace period without incurring interests, penalties, fees or other charges.
“Sabi ko nga, ‘wag natin pahirapan ang lahat, trabahante pati negosyante. Kailangan po maging flexible po tayo,” he said. President Rodrigo Duterte signed the landmark law on Tuesday, March 24, which grants him additional powers to implement measures to fight the coronavirus spread.