Government can only give P500 subsidy to poor families for 3 months, says DBM

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2022 03:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2022 03:47 PM

Members of urban poor group ABS-CBN News
Members of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) hold a “price hike protest” at the San Roque Public Market in Quezon City on March 4, 2022. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— The government may only be able to give the proposed P500 monthly subsidy to poor Filipino families for 3 months since there is only a few source of funding, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Wednesday.

In a televised briefing, acting Budget Secretary Tina Canda affirmed Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III's sentiments that there could be budget problems in 6 months should the distribution of P500 monthly unconditional cash aid pushes through.

"Totoo naman 'yan, kasi si Secretary Dominguez ang in-charge sa pagpapakalat ng pananalapi para dito sa ating programa, Kaya sa P500 na yan, ang kaya pa lang at this point is probably mga 3 buwan, siguro sa excess revenues na makokolekta ng DOF," Canda explained. 

(What Sec. Dominguez said was true because he is in-charge of allocating funds in our programs. The government will only be able to give P500 for 3 months at this point using excess revenues collected by DOF.)

Around 13 million beneficiaries are expected to receive the cash aid, she said. In an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo earlier in the day, the budget chief said they plan to start releasing it by next month

The DBM, she said, may allot some P20 billion for those 3 months. 

She noted there were no other source of funding for the program for now. 

"Wala naman tayong option na panggagalingan ng excess revenue kundi ito lang at this point... Excess revenues lang ang inaasahan natin dito. Kasi yung mga regular nating mga collection ay para sa ongoing na proyekto, mga existing programa ng gobyerno," she said. 

(We do not have any option except for our excess revenues. Our regular collection is meant for the government's existing programs.)

President Rodrigo Duterte this week suggested to the finance department to increase the P200 monthly subsidy to P500, saying that the former would not be enough for poor Filipinos. 

Malacañang on Tuesday said the government is looking for ways to fulfill Duterte's proposal. 

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