As the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ends its cash aid distribution, partylist organization Bayan Muna has called on President Rodrigo Duterte to use his “presidential pork barrel” to augment the cash aid to the poor.
“For the nth time, and with the hope that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte finally listens, we reiterate our demand to immediately use the President’s Confidential and Intelligence funds (CIFs) for cash aid and other relief measures. Pres. Duterte should be ashamed that while the Labor Department has maxed out its funds in helping workers, he stubbornly refuses to let go of his multi-billion peso pork barrel funds,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Thursday that it would halt taking applications for and distibution of cash aid under the department’s COVID19 Adjustment Measure Program (CAMP) as it already lacks funding. Around 1 million workers have pending applications for the assistance.
“The government is pleading for patience, they keep asking our people to wait longer for aid, but there are available funds. The President has funds at his disposal that he just chooses to withhold. Even the Department of Budget Management has expressed that these funds are readily available upon the orders of the President, bakit ayaw niya ito pakawalan? Hindi namin maintindihan kung bakit ipinagdadamot niya ito sa mamamayan,” said the progressive solon.
Gaite said the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) estimated the number of workers affected by the lockdown to be at around 1.8 million.
DOLE could only extend help to around 435,000, with cash aid amounting to around P2-billion.
The President’s P4.5-billion CIFs is enough to cover the deficit, CIFs of other agencies under him also total to around that same amount, he said.
All in all a total of P9-billion CIFs could be realigned and used for aid, he said.
“Gamitin na ito para sa ayuda, mas kailangan ito ng mamamayan kesa sa kung anong confidential purposes na pinaglalaanan dito,” Gaite ended./Stacy Ang