Lawmaker seeks one-time P2,000 'ayuda' for all Filipinos

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2022 05:15 PM

Residents in Barangay Payatas  ABS-CBN News
Residents in Barangay Payatas in Quezon City receive their cash aid under the social amelioration program on Aug. 31, 2021, the last day of distribution after Metro Manila mayors appealed for an extension in distributing the aid to their citizens. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — A bill seeking to give all Filipinos a one-time cash aid of P2,000 has been filed at the House of Representatives.

Kalinga party-list Rep. Irene Gay Saulog filed House Bill 2022, also known as the "Universal Ayuda Act", last July 18.

"In order to provide relief from the heavy burden brought about by the ongoing pandemic and the rapid rise of goods and services, a one-time cash aid of P2,000 will be provided to all Filipinos," a portion of the bill read. 

"This ayuda for all Filipinos will be an equitable means of providing assistance especially to those who were neglected in the previous programs of the government." 

If the bill is signed into law, the cash aid will be provided to all Filipinos living in the Philippines during the program's implementation, it added. 

The bill is allocating a budget of about P218 billion for the cash aid. 

In her explanatory note, Saulog noted that cash assistance came in various forms like the emergency subsidy program implemented in 2020 and the social amelioration program in 2021. 

"While these programs had the noblest of intentions, the implementation was far from ideal. Many were left out. In fact, millions of families were included in the second tranche of ayuda in 2020 after their appeal," Saulog said.

She also lamented issues that hounded the previous cash aid programs during the pandemic, including problems in priority lists and alleged irregularities among barangay officials in the distribution of aid.

"The bill also seeks to implement what the Bayanihan 3 bill in the past Congress intended to do. Bayanihan 3, which unfortunately did not become a law, intended to provide a basic universal income to Filipinos," Saulog said. 

"With the continuing surge in oil prices and basic commodities, the ayuda will offer a reprieve from the rising cost of living for the ordinary Filipino." continued the lawmaker. 

She also argued that the law would be "beneficial to the economy."

"The money that will be disbursed to the people will flow back and pump prime the economy. The purchase of goods and services and the accompanying taxes paid will help stimulate the economy," Saulog said.

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