Lawmakers boost crisis aid funds

MEMBERS of the House of Representatives continued to donate their salaries to raise funds for pandemic-affected families and military frontliners.

Led by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, cash donations from House members have so far helped some 16,000 families and 1,882 military frontliners.

The cash donations were used to purchase food supplies like vegetables, chicken, and fish and distributed to poor barangays in Manila and Quezon City.

“Through the donated salaries of each member of the House of Representatives, Congress has raised sufficient amount of funds to implement projects in support of government’s relief and recovery efforts,” Cayetano said.

The House has committed to raise at least P50 million to P100 million from donations and salaries of the members for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response.

In a span of two months, the House has served beneficiaries that include 4,500 families in selected Muslim communities in Manila, 1,882 military frontliners from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Task Force National Capital Region (NCR), 8,882 tricycle drivers in the 2nd District of Quezon City who had lost their livelihood during the quarantine and 2,598 families affected by the "Special Concern Lockdown" in the 6th District of Quezon City.

With the inclusion of fresh vegetables and fish in their donation packs, the lawmakers make sure that the beneficiaries especially the vulnerable sectors and frontliners can be healthy amid the pandemic.

While Congress provides healthy food supplies to various communities, they are also helping the vegetables farmers in Benguet to keep their livelihood.

Cayetano thanked the generous support of his colleagues to augment the relief goods and other assistance provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the different local governments.

Speaker Cayetano highlighted the need for the national and local government officials to work together to fight the deadly coronavirus and help the workers whose livelihood have been severely affected during the lockdown.

“Tama na magsama-sama, tama na magtulungan, tama na magbigkis-bigkis, mali ang makipag-away lalo sa panahon ng COVID-19,” Cayetano said.

He also urged everyone to keep helping those who lost not only their lives, but also their livelihoods.

The members of Congress have also coordinated with Deputy Implementer for National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Secretary Vince Dizon to determine other areas outside of Metro Manila which need assistance in improving their COVID-testing laboratory capacity and other health facilities.  

Speaker Cayetano said that the "House of the People" wants to sustain the bayanihan spirit between the private and public sectors because he believes that Filipinos can overcome the coronavirus crisis when the entire nation works together.