Senators urge Duterte to clarify issues on cash aid to 18M families

SENATORS are hoping that President Rodrigo Duterte's second weekly report to Congress regarding government's coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response will clarify the details regarding the distribution of the emergency cash aid to around 18 million low-income families.

Senate President Vicente 'Tito' Sotto III said he already raised the concern to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

"Perhaps we will have an answer later or it might be contained in the report they will send later," Sotto said.

For his part, Senator Panfilo Lacson, a member of the Congressional Joint Oversight Committee for the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, is expecting that the issues will be resolved in the report.

"Among others, the wide gap in the DOF/DSWD list and the locally generated data on the recipients of the P200-B social amelioration fund is one of the issues that we expect to be resolved," he said.

Lacson further said that the estimate of 18 million target families include the poorest of the poor nationwide and those working in the informal economy who lost their income because of the enhanced community quarantine.

Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva also want to see in the weekly report a concrete plan on how to assist MSMEs, both entrepreneurs and workers alike, and a decision on whether to extend the quarantine or not.

"We hope that our IATF has begun to arrive at a definitive recommendation to the President on extending the quarantine. We join the consensus on extending it for a few more weeks, given that the data and the analysis shared by experts. Should the quarantine be extended, we hope that our efforts to beef up the capacity of our healthcare system continues to be expedited as we are doing now," Villanueva said.