Protect P206.5-B people's 'ayuda' next year from govt crooks | Inquirer Opinion
Sharp Edges

Protect P206.5-B people’s ‘ayuda’ next year from govt crooks

/ 09:12 AM November 15, 2022

Christmas may be coming quickly but to many Filipinos, this would be one of the bleakest, and difficult periods for their families. After almost three years of COVID -19 pandemic, rising inflation, joblessness, shuttered businesses and depressed incomes, millions of Filipinos are really struggling today. While government cannot increase wages, this is really the best time to help the “vulnerable” families.

During the 2008 global financial crisis and soaring oil prices, then Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo allocated the P4.5-B windfall VAT revenues to various social projects for the most affected namely, kuryente package, social pension, pantawid pasada, fertilizer and small fisherfolk subsidy. Her decisive action triggered a positive response on our then overall economy.

ADVERTISEMENT

By end of December this year, the excess VAT collections on oil products are projected at a low of P68.8B to a high of P75.2-B. Literally, the government is now the biggest oil company in the country, cashing in on the meteoric rise in diesel, gasoline, and kerosene while the public are suffering. And for the past six months, Malacanang refused to suspend VAT despite the dire economic situation.

But alas, Malacañang and the Dept of Budget and Management (DBM) announced their plan to triple this excess VAT collection and transform into an enormous “ayuda” totaling P206.5-B in the 2023 national budget. This “big money” will come in the form of cash and subsidy programs for the affected and qualified families from various national government agencies.

FEATURED STORIES

There is also that big possibility of lowered electricity bills next year, after the President ordered Ways and Means committee chairman Rep. Joey Salceda for a possible removal of the VAT component of public utilities especially “electricity”. This is like the 2008 Pantawid Kuryente program but only provided discounts to lifeline rate consumers. But BBM’s novel idea of VAT removal, if approved, would mean a 12 percent immediate reduction in all our power bills. A truly great help to millions of suffering families and small businesses, even if temporary.

On the other hand, The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be provided with P165.40-B for the implementation of their several social assistance programs to. Specifics are as follows, P115.6 billion for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program for 4.4 million families, P25.3 billion Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, P19.9 billion for Protective Services for Individuals and Families in Difficult Circumstances, and P4.4 billion for Sustainable Livelihood Program.

The Department of Labor and Employment’s TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced workers program) will continue its direct assistance to hundreds of thousands of our jobless population with an ayuda budget P14.9B next year.

Another ayuda is for the Department of Health to provide financial support to 1.6 million indigent and financially incapacitated patients who are unable to afford and access quality medical care. Philhealth coverage will be given to 12.75M indigent families, 99,800 financially incapable point of service patients and 143,424 unemployed persons with disability.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will provide next year P2.5 billion for fuel subsidies to our public transport drivers amid the increasing fuel prices. This will benefit more than 377,000 PUV drivers and operators from buses, jeepneys, minibuses express taxis and tricycles.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will be provided with P1.00 billion for the provision of fuel assistance to corn farmers (rice farmers are already helped by the Rice Tariffication law). Of this amount, P510.4 million will be for 150,000 corn farmers, while P489.6 million will be given to around 2 million fisherfolk.

In the field of free education, the 2023 proposed national budget provides education assistance and subsidies amounting to P54.9 billion. This will cover P39.3 billion for the Senior High School (SHS) Voucher Program, P12.5 billion for the Education Service Contracting (ESC) for Junior High School, P1.5 billion for the Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs), P1.4 billion for the Joint Delivery Voucher for SHS TVL Specialization, and P200 million for the Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA).

ADVERTISEMENT

The country’s healthcare workers will also be given ayuda in the P1.0 billion COVID-19 compensation package that will cover an estimated 65,293 healthcare workers. Another P19.0 billion will be given for public health emergency benefits and allowances of 526,727 healthcare workers.

These are all very laudable and necessary. This will not only stimulate vigorous economic activity but will instill upon the citizenry’s minds that their government really cares for them. But again, our big caveat, that hopefully, all these money will be received by the truthful beneficiaries and not fall into the hands of government crooks or politicians.

I support the calls for the total digitalization of the “ayuda processes” on all implementing agencies, whether they are DSWD, DOTR, DOH, DOLE, DEPED, and the DA. We should hold accountable all the honorable Cabinet secretaries of these line agencies for them to ensure that not a single centavo will be misspent or stolen by scheming villains still in government.

([email protected])

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: ayuda
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our opinion columns

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2023 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.