MANILA -- Monthly cash aid of P200 for poor families is but a small portion of government assistance, and the amount is aimed specifically at offsetting projected price increases from the first package of tax reforms, officials said Wednesday.
The unconditional cash transfers for 10 million poor families are not meant to finance all their needs, said Social Welfare Acting Secretary Virginia Orogo.
"Ito ay una pa lang na hakbang. May mga programa pang tatakbo para siguraduhin na ang lahat ng mamamayan ay gumanda ang buhay," Orogo told reporters in Malacanang.
(This is just the first of many measures. There are other programs to make sure that our countrymen's lives will be better.)
Officials earlier promised fuel subsidies for public utility drivers. Tariffs will also be imposed on rice imports to help bring down the price of the staple.
The recent spike in consumer prices is due mainly to higher oil prices in the world market, Orogo said.
Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino said the P200 cash grant was "designed" to mitigate the projected 0.7-percentage point increase in consumer prices due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN.
Lambino said TRAIN so far spiked prices by 0.4 point.
Taxes on fuel, sugar sweetened drinks and cars were increased from Jan. 1 to help offset a reduction in personal income tax rates and help fund the government's P8-trillion infrastructure program.
The government has started distributing the P200 cash grant in a one-year lump sums of P2,400. The cash aid will increase to P300 in 2019 and 2020.