Senators file bills seeking ayuda for Filipino families

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2022 05:59 PM | Updated as of Aug 18 2022 06:22 PM

A local resident of a depressed community ABS-CBN News
A local resident of a depressed community in Bgy. Paligsahan, Quezon City is all smiles after receiving relief goods being distributed by the barangay officers on March 19, 2020. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Several senators have filed bills seeking to give one-time aid to Filipino families or individuals severely hit by the pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva filed Senate Bill 574 or “Bangon Pamilyang Pilipino (BPP) Assistance Program of 2022." Once enacted into law, a one-time cash assistance of P10,000 will be given to a family, or P1,500 per family member, whichever is higher, as long as they qualify for the program.

“Although Filipinos are known for their grit and resilience, assistance to our countrymen is still needed to help them survive and get back on their feet amidst the current pandemic and other national emergencies,” Villanueva said in his bill’s explanatory note.

The BPP Cash Assistance will cover the following. 

  • Poor Filipinos whose per capita income is insufficient to meet basic food and non-food items
  • Senior citizens
  • Indigenous persons
  • Solo parents whose monthly income is below twice the amount of the monthly income of minimum wage earners
  • Displaced, retrenched or separated workers, or otherwise severely affected or have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic or during other declarations of state of emergency
  • Medical frontliners including Barangay Health Workers
  • Families of Overseas Filipino Workers, who were displaced and or suffered job losses or salary deduction
  • Those not covered by Social Amelioration Programs
  • Filipino citizens holding a Philippine national ID
  • Other members of vulnerable sectors 

The budget for this program will be sourced from unprogrammed funds and savings from the General Appropriations Act, the senator said.

Villanueva’s BPP bill is almost similar to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s proposed “Sampung Libong Pag-asa Law.”

“The DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) shall determine which other families that require assistance will be beneficiaries of the cash assistance program established under this Act,” Cayetano’s bill stated.

Target beneficiaries meantime are “encouraged” to enroll in the Philippine Identification System (PIS) for faster delivery of their aid.

Meanwhile, Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ Senate Bill 592 or the “Disability Support Allowance for Persons with Disabilities Act” seeks to provide a regular allowance to PWDs, with an initial amount of P2,000 per month.

The proposed beneficiaries include children with disabilities, adults with significant disabilities, and persons with disabilities who are covered by other programs but are not limited to 4Ps and social pension for indigent senior citizens. 

Those covered must be supported by Disability Identification Cards, as stated in Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities.

Hontiveros' proposed program will have 3 phases, totaling to 12 years. Its funds will be sourced from the yearly national budget. 

The state statistics bureau this week said at least 19.99 million Filipinos were considered poor in 2021 as the poverty incidence rose to 18.1 percent. 

“The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, including income and employment losses caused the poverty incidence to rise,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said. 

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