MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said the P200 monthly subsidy given to poor households should be increased to P500.
The P200 amount is too small for a month's expenses for a family of four to five, according to a feedback he got from the ground, Duterte said during the ceremonial signing of the Public Service Act.
"Inipit ko na si Carlos Dominguez III. Sabi ko na, 'Iyong P200 medyo kulang ‘yun. So how much can you stretch? Sabi ko, P500 kaya?'" he said, referring to the Finance Secretary.
(I told Carlos Dominguez III that P200 is not enough and asked him if he can stretch it to P500.)
"Sabi ko, 'Maghanap ka ng pera kung saan,'" he added.
(I told him to look for funds.)
Duterte said that Dominguez warned him of problems in funding six months down the line.
The next administration will have to solve how to keep up giving P500 monthly to those most affected by the pandemic, he added.
"Sabi ko sa kaniya kanina, 'Buang, wala na tayo diyan, bahala na sila'," said Duterte.
(I told Dominguez, 'Stupid, we won't be around anymore by that time. Let them solve where it will come from.')
"The next president will just have to borrow."
Duterte approved last week the P200 monthly subsidy for poor Filipino families as an alternative to suspending fuel excise taxes amid skyrocketing oil prices.
This, after the Department of Finance recommended a P33.1 billion subsidy for the "bottom 50 percent of all Filipino households," instead of suspending fuel taxes, which it said would "benefit more the people who have cars and the other richer people."
Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes said the P200 monthly subsidy would not be enough for basic commodities.
Sen. Grace Poe also described the cash aid as a "pittance," saying the daily P6.66 it amounted to would not be enough for jeepney fare.
Meanwhile, Duterte said the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act should be used in preparation for other health-related crises.
"'Yung nandiyan na, huwag na lang galawin kasi kung may — madisgrasya tayo ulit, there’s another contamination that could be widespread," he said.
(What has been put in place should stay for possible crisis, like there's another contamination that could be widespread.)