SENATOR Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go shared that President Rodrigo Duterte has asked government finance managers and concerned agencies to study the proposed provision of additional financial assistance to poor Filipinos through an expanded Social Amelioration Program.
This came after the National Economic Development Authority reported that 3.2 million or 23% of Metro Manila’s population are experiencing hunger. The pandemic has also adversely affected employment and livelihood of most sectors in the country.
“Opo, nagbigay na po siya ng instruction kay Secretary (Carlos) Domiguez III at Secretary (Wendel) Avisado na hanapan po, at ngayon pinag-aaralan na po nila nang mabuti kung saan po nila makuha ‘yung pondo,” Go shared during a radio interview.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed this during a virtual presser, saying that Malacañang supports Go’s proposal to provide more assistance to poor Filipinos amid the spike in COVID-19 cases. “Sumasang-ayon po kami kay Senator Bong Go,” he said.
Go emphasized that addressing hunger, unemployment and poverty among Filipinos is a priority concern for the government.
“Ang importante naman po dito ay wala pong magutom. Ang akin po rito ay ‘yung walang magutom, may makain sila, at may pantawid po sila dito sa krisis na ating kinakaharap,” he said.
During President Duterte’s Talk to the People address on Wednesday, NEDA reported that 3.2 million people or 23% of National Capital Region residents experience hunger due to the economic impact of the pandemic on their lives and livelihoods.
NEDA also revealed that there are 506,000 individuals presently jobless in the NCR. The economic restrictions are also reported to cost people in the NCR and adjacent provinces a loss totaling to PhP700 million in wages per day.
In the interview, Go enjoined concerned officials to work together to find the funds needed to further help Filipinos, especially those whose lives and livelihoods are adversely affected by tighter restrictions which were re-imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Actually, last week pa po na nakausap ko si Secretary Dominguez. Sabi ko, alam n’yo po na naghihirap ‘yung mga kababayan natin at talagang marami po ang nagugutom base po sa study ng NEDA,” shared Go.
“At ngayon pa nagkaroon ng (more restrictions), itong mga pagsasara… nagkaroon ng bubble itong sa Metro Manila tsaka sa kalapit probinsya. Sabi ko, pwede bang pag-aralan ninyo kung pwede pang mahanapan ninyo ng paraan, na kahit makabigay man lang ng konting ayuda sa ating mga kababayan,” he added.
He emphasized the need for cooperation among government agencies in aiding Filipino families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic not just in Metro Manila, but throughout the country.
“Sabi ko nga, ‘wag lang limitahan rito sa Metro Manila kung hindi sa buong bansa. Dahil talagang tumataas po talaga ‘yung mga bilang ng mga nawalan ng trabaho,” he said.
“Ito pong mga nawalan ng trabaho, may mga pamilya po ito. Mayro’n po itong mga binubuhay, may mga anak rin po itong pinapakain,” Go added.